The Things We Do For Love (Part II)
The Things We Do For Love (Part II)
Or more aptly titled, the things no one wants to say regarding sacrifice and goals.
As I’ve slowly matured in my faith, God has opened my eyes to judgments harboring in my heart, many of them legalisms that I’ve carried with me my whole life. I used to be totally turned off when people put “goals” and “Jesus” in the same sentence. It felt like they should be separated into two different dimensions, because goals are so earthly and Jesus is so, not.
A quick study on the concept of “goals” in scripture turns up a lot of compelling passages. Take a minute to read and ponder them, or even journal through a few.
II Chronicles 15:7-But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
Proverbs 16:3-Put God in charge of your work, then what you have planned will take place.
Proverbs 21:15-Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run;hurry and scurry puts you further behind.
Isaiah 32:8-But those who are noble make noble plans, and stand for what is noble.
Romans 12:1-2-So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Philippians 3:13-14-I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
Last week I shared a few of my new habits for 2018, formed out of practical obedience to the Father as a way to bring clarity and put legs to the vision he’s given me for my life. Guess what? I’ve already failed miserably. Let’s do a quick check-in.
Wake up fifteen minutes before the kids. Yeah, nope. Like maybe twice this whole month. I’m just.so.tired.
Start the year with a Whole30. I’ve done well with this one. And the changes have been thankfully, predictable. Brain fog is lessening by the day, and when it comes to feeding my people three times a day, I have a plan. Shockingly, the absence of sugar water running through my veins aids me immensely in concentration and the ability to stay on task.
Choose books over Netflix. Kind of. I’d say about 50% of the time we’ve said no to a show. I can definitely say that I am thankful each and every time I choose reading. I fall asleep easily and wake up with more intelligence!
Use cash to pay for groceries. After losing my debit card for several weeks (couldn’t get to the ATM to get cash out--womp womp), I am back on track with the Benjamins, er, Hamiltons. I even dug out my Dave Ramsey wallet! Even though I didn’t always have cash, I stuck with my budget and that is a good thing.
I am grateful for the small changes I’ve made because alas, almost a month of those choices are already behind me! It’s easy to get frustrated though, since the one thing He’s been calling me to for YEARS, is still the thing I cannot seem to conquer. I cannot (will not) manage to get my buns out of bed any earlier than I have to in the morning.
Here’s the thing: sacrifice is hard. I know what my specific goals are, (a.k.a. the desires the Lord has put in my heart; Psalm 20:4 + Psalm 37:4), and I know what I need to do to see those accomplished in God’s own way (a.k.a. listening and watching for guidance through the Spirit; Proverbs 3:5-6 + Romans 12:1-2 + Proverbs 16:3 + Proverbs 16:9), but it still takes work on my part. The rise and grind, if you will. It goes against all of my fleshly desires to put aside my will, for His, which is good and perfect.
A friend shared a passage from Pathways to the King by Rob Reimer, which promptly popped every one of my “I’m so tired” balloons.
“Sometimes I sacrifice because I love God. God sacrificed for me, and God honors sacrifice...in my pursuit of God in the last couple of years I have begun to sacrifice sleep by getting together with some people to do a prayer watch. We give up a night of sleep on a Thursday or Friday just because we want to draw near to God. It is a sacrificial spiritual activity that I engage in because I want more of God. I want to draw closer to the lover of my soul.”
I have to be willing to lay down what’s easy for what’s lasting. Pursuing Jesus will never come without a cost, but it’s a worthy price because I love Him. Read what Reimer shares about his sacrificial rhythms:
“I spend a couple of weeks at the monastery every year, because I want more of God’s presence in my life; I want to get closer to him. It’s a sacrifice. It costs me time and money. It’s a sacrifice to be away from my family. But it has resulted in an increase in my relationship with God. I’m on the pursuit. If you want more of God, it is going to cost you. But it is worth the price. God rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).”
This really caught my attention because of my involvement with Draw Near, the creative worship retreat that we host each year. I know that a retreat can seem frivolous, “so basic”, and maybe even attainable to every other woman but you, but I have seen with my own eyes the rewards that came to the ones who chose to sacrifice, making space to seek Him. I can speak for the Well Crafted staff when I say this: God has called us to nurse babies on conference calls, work three jobs, and labor late into the night because there is a great need for women in our generation to step away from the noise and fall in love with their Creator again. And hear this: we are so abundantly honored and thrilled to sacrifice on our end to meet you at the end of yours. I just want to grab the hands of every gal I know, and ensure her that SHE NEEDS THIS! Here’s the reality, if you’ve got the money you probably don’t have the time, and if you’ve got the time, you probably don’t have the money, am I right?!
What headway would God make in my life if I were brave enough to make the choice? God called on Abraham to forfeit his son, and he said yes. What am I going to say? The things we do for love always require sacrifices, otherwise they wouldn’t cost us anything. That’s what makes them valuable. Our Father sees our struggles, but he wants to stretch and grow our faith, making more of Himself. What has he been asking of you?