FOUND! A New Source of Strength:
What I’ve Learned about Self Sufficiency
by Barbara Brabec
This faith-building story will inspire you to think twice about trying to meet all your challenges with your strength alone. It includes the surprising reader response Barbara received to the first version of this article published in 2004 on her former website. One reader wrote, “Your articles are an inspiration! I have been depending more on my own resources than His for several years and finding your website was a revelation for me.”
WHEN MY MOTHER—my greatest motivator—died in mid-1992, I felt as though a part of me had died too. The following summer, I learned I had breast cancer. Caught early, I took it in stride, but the experience, which I viewed as a wake-up call from God, took a lot out of me. I made some changes to reduce my business stress, but my spirits continued to sag until the fall of 1994 when I finally admitted for the first time in my life that I lacked confidence and a sense of direction. I was tired, restless, insecure, and totally burned out, a woman whose previous ambition and spirit had fled.
What do you do when you realize you’ve used the last ounce of your personal strength resources and don’t know how to replenish them? In discussing this with a good friend, she said, “Have you tried praying? To get help, you must ask for it.”
In thinking about this, I saw that I had always taken great pride in the fact that I could “do it myself.” I’d always been so self-sufficient that I’d never asked anyone for help, even when I needed it. Certainly I’d never thought of asking God for help for He was surely too busy with the important things of the world to be concerned about my little problems.
But one night when I was unable to sleep because of all my cares and worries, I got down on my knees in the bathroom where my husband couldn’t hear me and prayed ardently to God for the first time in thirty years. “Lord,” I said, “I really need some help here!” Then I told Him in detail what was bothering me and asked Him to give me strength, courage, and guidance.
My prayer was answered the next night in a way that to me was both miraculous and glorious. My whole life began to change in exciting ways as soon as I plugged myself into God’s power. It soon became clear that we can go a long way under our own steam and even farther when others are behind us offering motivational support and encouragement. But sooner or later, with or without emotional and motivational support, we’re all going to run out of ourselves someday and reach the end of the proverbial rope. The problem today is that there are so many books, articles, and humanists out there saying, “You can do it! All you have to do is believe in yourself.” As many before me have learned, that’s not enough.
There is a limit to the number of times you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Unless you plug into a source of power greater than yourself, one day you may discover as I did that, without God, you’re as dead and useless as a light bulb without electricity.
So remember to thank God for the special skills, talents, and abilities He has given you, and don’t hesitate to lean on the Lord when you need help or encouragement in either your personal or home-business life. From experience I have learned that if we will simply put our faith in God and give Him an opportunity to work in our lives, He will lead us in surprising new directions and reveal wondrous things we never could have discovered on our own. As the Bible confirms:
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3 NIV).
to this article when first published
“Thank you, thank you . . . for reminding people that the Lord is their partner in their crafts business. I’d gotten totally stuck, hadn’t a clue as to what to do next after everything I’d tried had failed. The simplest of all expedients finally occurred to me—just ask! My life has been transformed. I returned to printmaking, my first love, and am doing a spectacular, if only local, business. We’re setting our sights further afield now, and I can hardly wait to find out what the Lord will bring to me next. It’s such fun! When you open yourself to God moving through you—as an artist, in the marketplace, whatever—literally anything is possible. Thanks for hearing me and thanks for what you’re doing.” –- Chris Noah
Ed. note: With her letter Chris also included a copy of the print shown at right. See this print and more on her Etsy shop.
Other Uplifting Reader Mail
(Names withheld to protect their privacy)
• “This article was just what I needed to hear the day I found it. Your article on stress was also helpful, as I have severe hypertension and try to deal with stress every day. I have recommended your website to several friends as so many of us are dealing with the same problems, and you say it in such a way that makes it a true gift of God.”
• “Your articles are an inspiration! I have been depending more on my own resources than His for several years and finding your website was a revelation for me. I feel as though God wanted me to connect with a Christian business mentor and led me to your pages. I will visit often to learn and become inspired again.”
• “I’m touched by your personal reflections on your life and relationship with God. I am going through a time where I have many questions about my beliefs and faith in God. Your thoughts are like a ray of sunshine in my often cloudy perspective on life. Keep up the good work. God is definitely using you in a very unique way.”
• “I am a single Mom . . . your site is great and I like your focus on asking God for help. Many times it has helped in my life. Thanks for sharing your secrets with all of us!”
• “I was just surfing and came across your web page. My husband and I have been missionaries in Panama since 1981. It was nice to see your testimony giving God the glory for your talents. Found it a nice change in that most give themselves the glory for everything done today.”
• “I just found your website and needed to thank you for sharing your personal beliefs in ‘A New Source of Strength.’ Boy did I need to read this stuff. The older I get, the more restless I become. I keep wondering why I have this talent along with tremendous desire and passion. Surely the Lord wouldn’t have given me the desire without a plan in mind? But why am I not getting it? I occasionally ask Him to take the desire and passion from me if it is not in His will for my life. Working outside jobs part-time and full-time over the years has only made me more hungry to work from home. I will continue to seek His will and stumble along. Your story brought tears and new encouragement. Thank you so much for sharing yourself.”
• “. . . really inspirational. What you said is so very true. Thanks for such a beautiful letter and God Bless.”
• “I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your articles. Not many people remember to put a priority on the more important things in life, like remembering where your talent comes from. Thanks for sharing your faith in this manner.”
• “When you shared that God helps you with strength to do what needs to be done, your words were like God speaking to my heart. He wants me to keep things in perspective. I create stress for myself and others just by how I choose to respond to the people around me. I tend to criticize myself a lot, but someday I hope to see myself as God truly sees me so I can stop worrying about what a failure I must be. You have the right idea: Minimize stress by giving your weaknesses to God. He tells us to be joyful … that ‘laughter doith good like a medicine.’ So I will keep striving to find things to be joyful about. You just keep sharing your great truths so others like me can hear what we need to hear when we need to hear it most.”
• “It is so good to hear (or read, in this case) about a public person who is not ashamed or afraid to speak about how God has taken care of them! There are times in all our lives when we get stressed out and forget that Heaven Rules. You have a wonderful website and a wonderful gift from God. My only thought to you is taken from one of your memory boxes— “TO BE CONTINUED.”
Are You Being Tested Now?
PERHAPS GOD IS TESTING you right now. Maybe He has just dropped a major life challenge in your lap that you don’t know how to handle, or maybe it’s a personal or business problem that seems overwhelming, or a desperate financial situation. Perhaps you’re dealing with a serious or life-threatening medical condition or have the heavy burden of caring for a loved one who is ill or dying. Or maybe you’re currently grieving the loss of a loved one, or even the death of a beloved family pet (often as emotionally devastating as losing someone you love).
It’s also possible that you may simply feel lost as I once did, adrift in life without any real direction or sense of purpose, still searching for something to fill that troublesome VOID in your life and wondering what you should do next. Some of you have always known what it took me so long to discover, but perhaps you haven’t been giving God much of your attention lately. Whatever your present situation, I pray that God will use this writing and the resource below for His good purposes and yours.
For the full story of what I learned shortly after giving my heart to the Lord, click below to download my complete Testimony for Christ, now updated for the times in which we are living. (You you may freely share this PDF document with others as an email attachment.)
The article, updated for republication in 2021, is based on a sidebar in Homemade Money: Bringing in the Bucks. Copyright © 2003 by Barbara Brabec.
Documenting Your Christian Journey. The benefits of journaling about your life experiences, with Barbara’s special journaling tips and short examples from her own Christian journals to inspire you to document your own walk with Christ.
How to Stop Worry at the Gate. If we don’t get a grip on worry, it can completely debilitate us from the inside out.
Christian Encouragement T/C