Sometimes I have a hard time knowing how to start a post. I have a core thought but I’m not sure how to introduce it. Like that awkward moment in a conversation when you want to throw something out there but an opening just hasn’t presented itself.
Or, and this is more like real life, I have this on going conversation in my head and putting it out there can seem a bit like blurting out randomness. I do it all the time to Rob. I have half the conversation in my head before I say something out loud and he gets this play of emotions across his face…confusion, a look that clearly shows him mentally groping for a thread to grab hold of, and a kind of eye shrug that declares “I got nothing” before he says, “Huh?” or sometimes “Woman, what are you talking about?”
So, I apologize up front if you have a woman-what-are-you-talking-about moment while reading this post. Just know that I have been thinking about being content, prayer, doing whatever you do to the glory of God and not being idle and just go with it.
Specifically this morning I was contemplating the idea of giving ourselves as a living sacrifice and what that means. Unless you are new to this blog, and me really, then you know this is not a new topic. Romans twelve is and has been a big part of my thoughts. I’ve blogged often about how that can look, the dying to self, in our lives as wives and mothers.
But this morning, because of the above mentioned topics, I zeroed in on the quantitative meaning. And it seems to me that I can be pretty good at sacrificing bits and pieces here and there but giving my whole self over, holding nothing back is something more than what I am used to.
I’m not sure I know what it means to continually empty myself out on behalf of the people around me. Instead of pouring myself out as a drink offering as Christ did I might be tossing a thimbleful out in places. Or maybe a whole cupful or even a bucketful if I feel a sense of urgency or weightiness to a need.
But to continually pour myself out completely? To utterly empty myself out into the world? I’m not sure I know what that even means much less how to do it
I think it can be easy to end up here. Lots of little demands and the busy-ness of being busy can do that. It wears you down and exhausts you and makes you feel like you are constantly being poured out, but how often have you really given completely over until there is nothing left?
This year is our youngest daughter’s first time on the school volleyball team. On the way to her first practice we were talking about playing hard and giving it all she has. I want her to see that she can play hard but still be holding back. And what her team needs (not just from her but from every player) is to leave it all on the court. To be completely focused and pulling from deep inside and putting everything she has into it.
We aren’t called to sacrifice a toe this day and maybe an arm some other day. Rather we are told to present our body as a living sacrifice. To give it all, everything, every day.
I wonder if we don’t live this way because we live such chopped up lives with so much going on? Or because we have believe we can’t be everything to everyone, we can’t do it all, and the biggie of big lies, you have to love and take care of yourself in order to love and take care of others? (Yes, I know there are times in Scripture where Jesus went off by himself to pray and be alone. But I really don’t think we can equate what He did with our version of mani-pedis and treat yo-self attitude. There is nothing wrong with finding alone time. Read a book, go get that mani-pedi or massage. But we should be careful not to over spiritualize it by thinking it is the same as quieting all of the day to day ruckus so that our heart and mind can find rest in God.)
We can’t be everything to everyone and we can’t do it all but the good news is that we aren’t called to be everything to everyone and to do it all. We look at our life and qualify it as everyone and everything and it simply is not so. We have the life and work that God has put us in and given to us and we are called to give ourselves completely and wholly to that. Do we over extend ourselves sometimes? Sure, but there are seasons and times of that and it will pass but we like to hold on to the feeling of it because in some way we get a sense of importance and self worth from it. If I feel like I am doing it all, or at least feel like I am expected to be doing it all, then I must be somebody; I must have meaning. But who is that making much of, me or God?
Maybe the reason we don’t really live emptied out like that is because we don’t understand what it really means. We have made it about actions and we can look around and declare with a certain amount of assurance, I just cannot physically do more.
It’s not just the physical work though, is it? I mean the action is part of it but it’s the whole faith without works thing…we can’t be poured out without, well, being poured out. It is the right combination of the physical with the right heart motivation and right focus that pulls it in line and turns what we are doing day to day into a life being spent in the name of Christ and for the glory of God.
As I finished my first draft of this post my husband sent out the Old Testament reading for our worship service this week. How kind is God to just tell us what it looks like to live poured out as an offering?
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?”
We over complicate the thing by over thinking it, maybe? Or we want to control it so that we can maintain a certain level of comfort that we have become accustomed to and we reduce it down to something we feel like we can manage?
But He lays it out so simply. Fear me and walk in my ways, love me, serve me with everything you’ve got, and be obedient. And get this, it’s all for our good. The following two verses from that passage in Deuteronomy should give us great courage to live life this way.
He goes on to say that the heavens of heaven itself and the entire earth belong to Him and He has set His heart in love upon our fathers and their offspring. We’re the offspring! Everything belongs to Him and He loves us.
Now we are to go and live like it.
Sharing with Fresh Market Friday.