I am the richest person in the world.
Pretty bold statement, I know.
Oh, I’m not talking about money. From a monetary standpoint (in the U.S.) I live fairly humbly. After all, I’m a singer/songwriter and a teacher. One might even call me a, “starving artist,” but I assure you…I am very rich.
Our society categorizes wealth by net worth, accumulation of assets, home equity, and investments. Though I was raised to understand, respect, and be a good steward of the dollar, more so than that I was taught the value of time, of making memories, and of investing in others. I am so thankful for these lessons, because I can now say that I am wealthier than I’ve ever been.
If you are reading this and follow me on any other social media platform, then you know that I am in the last week of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for my next 3 albums. Anyone who has been involved in any sort of capital campaign can attest that during this process, you pretty much have money on the brain 24/7. It’s just the nature of the beast. For me and others I know who have taken on this type of venture, it is a time of testing your faith in God and others, a time of humbling yourself, as you are put in the vulnerable position to ask others for…don don don…money, and it is also a time where you get to see, in a very tangible way, the sum total of people in your circle that make you wealthy.
Having a melancholy temperament since birth it’s a natural inclination of mine to see the negative before I see the positive, to focus on the rejection before the support. So this is me, (or rather God working in me) choosing to completely ignore any of the negative outcomes that have come out of this process, and simply open up my wallet and count each blessing God has placed there.
A little over week ago I was feeling discouraged and doubtful about the outcome of the Kickstarter campaign. And then something crazy happened. A dear friend of mine that I’ve known since college and her husband pledged a lot of money. They were supporters of my last Kickstarter campaign and had pledged a lot then, so I didn’t expect them to pledge at all this time around since they had already done so much for me then. And yet…they doubled their giving. I immediately called her and began crying over the phone. The thing that stuck out to me the most were the words she softly said, “Kayla, we believe in you.”
Those words are the most powerful words someone can ever speak into your life.
It’s no wonder those are the very words God wants us to speak to Him.
So it got me thinking about how blessed I am to have both she and her husband in my life. Not because of the amount they pledged, but rather because their belief in me, and the impact I’m trying to make on the world is so strong they were and are so willing to invest in me as a friend, a singer, a writer, a speaker…and a human.
Which led me to count ALL of my blessings, the sum of the things that make me rich.
I am rich because I was born into an incredible family. Not only is my immediate family one that most would covet, with loving, supportive, godly parents, a wonderful older brother, awesome sister-in-law, and the cutest niece and nephew that are an absolute blast to be around, my extended family fatten my wallet of blessings quite a bit as well. I have cousins who are more like siblings, Aunts and Uncles who have become dear friends, and grand parents who are the glue that hold us all together and continue to amaze me with their love, support, and example of Christ in all of our lives.
I am rich in friendships. As someone who has moved around a lot over the course of their life, I’ve learned the value in working hard to maintain quality friendships, but I can’t take credit for the ones I have, because God just simply poured out abundance there. When I moved back to Chicago from Nashville I made friendships a matter of prayer. I prayed and fasted for the right friends, and now I have so many incredible people in my life that I’m privileged to call best friends. They are the kind of people to drop everything to help when I’m in need, to pray at any hour of the day, and even to bring over Starbucks and just sit with me and cry when I’m upset. You can’t buy friendships like this, but my loving Father has freely given me these people and words cannot describe my gratitude.
I am rich because of my community. This includes the Church community, Chicago area community, the music community, and even my online community. At all times I am surrounded by this massive group of individuals who support me, challenge me, inspire me, and at the end of the day, also believe in me.
I am rich because of where God has allowed me to live. No, not the Chicago area; America, a place where I’m free to worship THE God of Abraham, a place where I can work hard and own my own business, be an entrepreneur, create, make mistakes, and try new things. A place where I, a woman, can have an opinion, speak my mind, and have a voice. God left this inheritance for me before I was even born, and I’m afraid to say I often take this free gift for granted.
Most of all I am rich because I know Christ.
I have a close, personal relationship with the best friend I’ll ever know; a friend “who sticks closer than a brother.[i]” I can’t count the ways that knowing God has blessed me. For starters, I give Him total credit for all of the blessings I’ve already listed. But when I have been lacking, whether in community, financially, or friendships, He’s been there and He’s been enough. I’ll never comprehend why He loves me enough to bless me the way He has, but I do know I want to be better at recognizing those blessings, however great or small, and thanking Him for them more than I do.
This process has made me see that, yes, the financial giving is an incredible gift and it's been so amazing to see how God has worked and is continuing to work in the hearts of everyone who has given financially, but, more than anything, the love and support of every individual person God has intentionally placed in my life is the greatest blessing of all, and I am truly grateful.
[i] Proverbs 18:24, New International Version. Bible Hub. Web. 25 Feb. 2016.