For the past two Sundays, the pastor of my church has been leading us in the "Courageous" series, with each Sunday studying a different person from the Bible who had overcome some form of fear by placing their faith entirely upon God.
Yesterday had truly struck a major chord with me.
* Yes, I will mention the word "God", I hope that does not offend you, but I encourage you to read on, because what I am about to say should be considered by everyone... *
This week we studied the story in the book of 1 Samuel (13 & 14)about Jonathan and his father, King Saul. God gave them the same exact promise but both Jonathan and Saul acted in completely different ways in response to the retaliation of the Philistines onto Israel.
Saul ended up taking matters into his own hands out of fear, rather than obey God's instruction while Jonathan did the complete opposite. The message was about responding to different challenges in our lives. We either live our lives in a mindset of scarcity or abundance.
The scarcity mindset is rooted in the fear that "there's never enough". The good things in life are in limited supply and we hold tight onto things that we value (ex. relationships, money, material things, etc.) in life. There is a complete lack of trust that God could offer me anything better. In result, we lack obedience and continuously make mistakes by taking matters into our own hands.
On the other hand, if we live a life out of abundance, we do two things :
1) Pick "risky fights". If God is calling us to it, we can't lose and he will give us everything that we need to conquer our battles. You need to pick fights to better or preserve marriage, relationships, to get out of debt, etc.
2) We live a recklessly-selfless life. Jonathan did not run into battle for himself and gave his life to protect the next king's kingdom (a title that would have been his, but was not in God's plan).
These concepts apply whether you are a Christ follower or not.
During service we were asked the rhetorical question : "What can't I risk letting go of?"
My answer? My family back "home", who live across the country. I love and miss my parents, siblings, and niece so much that it literally hurts. This pain has caused me to lash out in anger or sends me into little bouts of depression. At the same time I feel like I have to carry a huge burden of guilt, because their lives would be so much better and "fall into place" if I could physically be there to offer my support.
I can't stop thinking about how much they love me, miss me, and want nothing but to have me and my family back "home". My thoughts and actions seem to overtake me and I begin to dismiss the needs of my immediate family here. I focus so much on the vague promises to my Idaho family of when I get to see them "soon" to not only give them have a bit of false hope, but perhaps instill some in me. Then I become angry again. Why, why must it be this way?
To add to the frustration, I feel like I constantly have to give, give, give, and give some more. My life is ran by constant demands ("me, me, me, me....want, want, want) and I cannot seem to keep up with daily tasks mentally and physically. I feel like nothing but an empty shell, absent of any thoughts, feelings, dreams, and desires. Of course, I want more than anything to have the house in order 24/7, but when it isn't and my husband is stressed out to them extreme rather than offering a simple "hello" or hug after returning from a few day trip, I become unglued. At that moment, I wish that I can instantly transport myself back to those who would not think twice about wrapping their arms around me. I want to shake off the belief that nothing I do for my kids or husband is never good enough, and that I am worth something to someone in this world.
I have often prayed for my family to give them comfort, and for me. I pray desperately to see them soon. In the back of my mind though, I really want to ask God "will I ever get to move back? When will that be?", but I am truly scared to death of what that answer might be. Maybe it is time to take that bold step and pick that "risky fight", but how?
I yearn to live that life of abundance too...by focusing on the immediate and future needs of my children and husband. At the same time, somehow cast away all of my desires and fears. My immediate family is truly a blessing and I could not imagine my life without them - so why should I abandon them? After all, I want them to experience the love and joy that I miss so much thousands of miles away. I do not want to imagine what it would be like if my child did not experience the love and nurture that my parents gave me. Most importantly, if I believe that my marriage to my husband was the result of sacrificial love (vs. fairytale-esque infatuation), I feel like I am greatly dishonoring him.
For now, my "risky fight" is to attend an awesome ten-week marriage enrichment event class called "Ten Great Dates". Each Friday, a dozen other couples will meet for a 30 minute class and then the couples go off to a place of their choosing to work through the materials, sans children. I believe that by "fighting" for my marriage will in turn help me as a mom too. I will be sure to let all of you know how this turns out.
Well, it's about 30 minutes away from being Tuesday, so I will leave you with this question..."What is the thing that you can't risk to let go, and are you courageous enough to pick that 'risky fight' and lead that self-less life?"
Ok, that was two questions...but I hope all of you had an awesome Monday!
If you would like to hear Sunday's message, click here. Of course, if you live in the Lexington area...be sure to join us! We would love for you to come :-)
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