Photo credit: Shewanda Riley

By Shewanda Riley

“It’s a chilly 45 degrees outside now but the high later today will be close to 75 degrees.”   As I listened to the morning television meteorologist finish the rest of his forecast recently with these words, I wondered how in the world I would dress for a day like today.   It was not the first time I’d pondered this question.  North Texas weather being what it is always gives the option of having two different seasons in a 24-hour day.    On that day, it looked like we were going to have winter and spring in the same 24 hours.    Even though it is technically Spring, we are still having temperatures that are more like winter.

After thinking about what I was going to wear for a few minutes, I decided to get out of bed and see what I had in my closet. Should I dress for what it would be like when I went to work in the morning or should I dress for what it would be like when I got off work in the afternoon?    It really wasn’t a hard decision but for some reason on days with a nearly 30-degree temperature spread, it always stumped me.    I didn’t want to be overdressed (and burn up) or underdressed (and freeze).    Unless it was really freezing outside, what I usually did was dress in layers so that I’d be able to shed the extra clothes as the day warmed up.   

As I stared blankly at the short and long-sleeved clothes in my closet, I thought how my decision on how to dress was similar to something I’d heard years ago about tithes and offering.   The minister said that you should not pay your tithes based on what you make now but based on what you’d like to make.     The reason was that God would reward your faith and increase your finances.  At first, I thought it that was crazy advice…then I tried it, even though it was a sacrifice.      Just like the minister said, God increased my finances to the level of the new tithes and offering amount.          

Similar to wearing clothes based on the current or future temperature, the question is whether you plan your life for current circumstances or according to future and hoped for circumstances.   Should you pray for where you are or for where you want to be?  Should you worship based on your current situation or what you hope your future situation will be?    In Isaiah 46:10 God says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”    

God is not limited by time, situation, or circumstance.   We should also not be limited by time and our present circumstances, but honestly acknowledge where we are.  At the same time, we can reach forward with our faith with hopeful expectancy toward where we desire to be.     

Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.