Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Freedom of Sacrifice

Sacrifice. Boy, I really don't like that word. It typically means me giving something up that I would rather not hand over.

I sat with a friend today and listened as she poured her heart out, sharing with me her struggles. At times, it seemed as though she were telling my story. Our journeys are similar to a degree yet separated by circumstance.

As my friend spoke, my heart reflected on those things the Lord has spoken to me pertaining to these same issues -- one of the hardest being sacrifice and living selflessly. I am not very good at either but I am trying. I am learning it is much better to keep the peace than to be proven right. It is sometimes more gracious to allow someone else to express their point of view than for mine to be heard. And it is always the right thing to forgive a wrong than to allow it to hinder and destroy a relationship.

I hate sacrifice! I want my way. I want to be heard and I want it all to happen immediately. The beauty of this call to selfless living is that in laying down all those unhealthy desires, I gain something of far greater worth. There is a certain peace that comes with not always having to be right. When you don't have to have your own way all the time, the Lord will begin to make a way for you. Did you catch that? When we relinquish our will and stop trying to make things go our way, God steps in and has His own which is far better than anything we could conceive for ourselves.

Letting go of that which we know we need to surrender, no matter how much a part of our makeup it may have become, is freeing in the struggle. It's a tug-of-war in our souls that is won when we simply let go. We can either choose to release our hold and remain standing or get pulled into the muck and mire of our own making. We cannot win by holding on. In a way, it's simply a matter of how we chose to lose. When we begin to experience the peace that comes from allowing the Lord to have control over those things we once held so dear, we can then begin to understand why we were meant to let them go.

Recently, I've started praying some new scriptures over my life. When I began doing so, I had no idea what it would require of me to see these things come to pass. Things I wanted the Lord to do for and in me, required more than just my speaking them forth. He sometimes desires for us to partake in the creation of our own blessings. Often, our unwillingness to die to self is what hinders His hand. He cannot always give us what He wants us to have when our hands are clasped tightly around what it is we want for ourselves.

It seems I am walking through this truth everyday. Some things are easier than others to release and some I continue to struggle with greatly. What I am experiencing is a greater awareness of those things that need to go. While I may not always surrender quickly, that is my heart and my desire for obedience is what pleases the Lord.

If you find yourself wondering where peace can be found in the midst of your situation, ask The Lord this question. "What am I holding onto that I need to release?" There is a blessing He has been longing to give you if you'll just lay that thing down, freeing your heart to receive it.