Friday, July 25, 2014

Sacrificial Living

There I was in the midst of another free time. Campers gearing up for water sports or the pool. “I don’t want to sit at the pool again,” I thought. “It’s too cold to go in the pool,” I thought. As I stood in the sun, watching the CIAs and the campers get ready to walk, I remembered that I wasn’t there for myself. I was there for others. I was there for Jesus' glory and the campers' fun, and the CIAs' encouragement and help. "Where am I needed?" I asked as I changed my tune as I had done countless times before.

During my week at Camp Barnabas on the Lake, I found when I was faced with my own desires I almost instantly found myself redirecting towards others’ needs. Even in my free time I was thinking about what I could do to support the CIAs (Christian In Action, the teens and adults who were one-on-one with the campers), or trying to find enough service to post to our church’s Facebook or Twitter to update the church body and parents about how our trip was going.

Why can’t I do this at home? Why can’t I do this in my church body?

America has a prevalent, “Take care of #1” mentality that comes before all other concerns. I am afraid I am guilty of it. Rather than ask for help or care, I feel like it's best to just take care of myself first. However, I believe I am called to something more. A life lived sacrificially. As I was thrown into a life lived fully for others for a full five days, I discovered something.

Living life sacrificially takes buckets of trust.

You have to trust your needs will be cared for as you put others’ needs ahead of your own. You have to trust that you will be filled as you pour yourself out for those around you. You have to trust you will find rest in the midst of the busy life of looking and serving and caring. You have to trust God's strength to keep you moving. You have to trust God’s greater plan. #thelastshallbefirst But I discovered something else.

Sacrificial living is beautiful.

It's helping a busy mom with her groceries; it's asking the clerk at the store how their day is going and actually hearing their response. It's writing a note of encouragement for your neighbor, or offering to walk someone's dog. It's taking the kids for a friend so she can get some things done. It's engaging in conversation with your seat mate on the bus or train, recognizing the humanity that is around you. Start small. Sacrifice a little comfort and say hello to the stranger in line behind you. Look them in the eye and smile. It's a beautiful thing.

This post is a part of a One Word 365 community, Trusting Tuesdays! Have your own One Word? Link up to your most recent post every third Tuesday of the month!

It is...

When I think of the word "finish," I think of "It is finished." Jesus' final words on the cross. Far less spiritual would be my thoughts regarding my own life and schooling. I never finished high school, not in the traditional sense, but one month early. I still walked. I still had a diploma. I still went to college. I didn't want to finish college. Not really. I quit three and a half years in and went home. I took a semester off and went to a career counselor. It didn't help. I went back to school thinking I was changing gears completely and before the first semester back I went back to the original plan. I'd finish, and fast.

Now I am on the precipice of a new "finish." A friend reminded me that as an Air Force brat there were times in my life when I never had to make a choice about finishing or ending something. It just happened. We moved. Case closed. But now I am settled and married to a nurse and have a two year old daughter and suddenly the choice to finish something in my time vs. God's time is there. But I never thought about it, and so I plugged away, ever faithful, but not really very happy.

I am beyond blessed in my life. I have a supportive family and amazing friends who shove the truth in my face when I need to see it more clearly and pat me on the back and hug me when I need to cry, which is often. All of it. I have had an amazing job for nine years. Through so many changes in life it has been there. My superiors have been there, cheering me on. Despite that there have been some serious soul-searching moments and they have finally resulted in this:

I have to finish well, so I have to finish now.

So after nine years I am saying "goodbye" to the title "Administrative Assistant at Southern Gables Church" and focusing more on "mom," "wife" and "photographer," not to mention "daughter," "friend," "sister," "cheerleader," "faithful follower," "writer"... and some new titles I'm not entirely sure about yet. There are a lot of unknowns, but if I know one thing IT IS: God is in control.

Five Minute Friday
This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday Community. I literally free wrote it in five minutes during my fifteen minute break at work. Click on the image for more Five Minute Friday: Finish posts!