What We Give Up

July 24th 2009

Something struck me today while I was doing my study for Sunday school.  We are doing a study that Mike and I did about 10 years ago soon after we were married with several other couples.   My life is quite different now then it was then!  I figured that in doing the study I would see where I have come since then, and get something completely different from it than I did the first time.

One of the statements in today’s study was–Jesus called His disciples to leave what they were doing and to follow Him.  Andrew, Peter, James and John left their fishing businesses and followed Him (Matt. 4:18-22).  Matthew left  his job as a tax collector (Matt 9:9).  Describe something that would be difficult for you to leave behind or do if God asked you to.

What struck me was that I remembered what my answer had been to this question 10 years ago!!  My career.  I had answered that I would have a difficult time leaving behind my career.  Now 10 years later that has been stripped away from me.  I didn’t leave it by choice-it was literally stripped away from me.  I am now disabled, unable to work any job, most especially the career I loved and had poured my heart into.  And that was the problem- I had poured my heart into it.  I knew 10 years ago that if the Lord were to ask me then to give that up it would be difficult because I knew it was wrapped up in my identity, and that I allowed it to control my life too much.

Now I know what it is like to give things up.  Some of them were stripped away, some of them I gave up by choice, but all of them came with a choice.  That choice was to either be thankful for what came next, or to be angry,  bitter, or resentful for what was missing and what I was now without.  Every time we give up something we are always given something else to replace it.  Granted it is not always what we expect!  I certainly did not expect to give up my career for a medical battle that would last 3 years and leave me disabled.  But is that is not what I gave up my career for.

What did I get?  10 years ago I said I would have a hard time giving up my career.  I was forced to give it up.  But in its place I now understand that God is going to fulfill His promises in a real way, not just because they are written, but because He did so in my life.  I experienced His presence, comfort, courage, strength, shelter, provision, and peace.  In trial I have grown closer to my Lord, that is what replaced what I gave up-not the medical trial.  I choose to see what I gained and be thankful for that, not look back at what gave up.

Ask yourself this question-Am I looking for what God is giving me to replace what I gave up, even if it was something taken from me, or am I looking back with anger, bitterness, or resent because of what is missing?  Make the choice to look for and be thankful for what God is giving you now!