I am in a women's Formation Group (a Bible study of sorts) for the summer. I've been really excited about this -- it's my first opportunity to do something like this sans-kids in over two years.
We have daily homework and the other day a question was posed that I just haven't been able to shake. "What things have you had to give up to follow God?"
I got emotional as I wrote down my answers. Then yesterday in the group, we were asked to share our answers to this specific question with everyone.
I couldn't. I found myself getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. The past several days have been pretty hard, even without having to specifically think about and list these things. I've really been missing some of the things that I've given up and honestly, I've been fighting the urge to throw myself a little pity party. But that added task of listing them and then sharing them with others, and then the encouragement to really try to come up with some specific, tangible things has put me over the edge. I can't stop thinking about it.
I missed my opportunity to share yesterday, but I'm thinking that maybe if I can just get at least some of my list out, I can move on to listing the blessings that I've received as a result of giving these things up and following God. So here it goes:
I've given up my time. I've given up sleep. I've given up who in the world knows how much money. I've given up a job that I loved. I've given up two homes that I loved -- in order to live in two homes that I did not love. I've give up financial security and stability, both for the present and long-term. ("Security" and "stability" really are not very good words -- I've also learned first-hand that there's really no such thing in church work. But for lack of better words, and for the sake of communication, I'm going with those words.) I've given up friends. I've given up geographic nearness to my family -- which as a result was also giving up free and regular babysitters, and the ability to go see them without having to sacrifice and budget to pay for it. (Yes, I have regained some of this recently -- as a result of following God -- but the memory of the time that I didn't have it is still fresh.) In some ways I've literally given up some physical comfort and sense of safety/security. I've given up a dishwasher. I've given up a garage. I've given up an attic. I've given up 600 square feet of home to live in. I've given up a nice fenced-in yard. I've given up the convenience of a paved driveway. I've given up the convenience of Bret having an office.
But I'm going to stop there. I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself and I want it to stop.
Lord, please forgive me. I want to have faith that we are doing what You have called us to do. I want to have the peace that comes from knowing that You are the once who provides us with what we need. I want to rest in the realization that I have so much more than I really need, so much more than so many other people. I want to rest in your promises: "The one in you is greater than the one in the world." (1 John 4:4); "“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1"2-4); “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8). I want to rest.
Lord, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"--Mark 9:24