Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Give Up To Gain?

I mentioned last week that becoming a Christian was the single best decision I have made for my life.  Now, don't worry.  I'm not going to get all preachy, preachy on you.  I'm not like that.  But, I will tell you what's happened to me over the years once I decided to live how God has asked me to live.

In 1990ish, I became a Christian. Isn't that terrible that I don't even know the exact date?  I knew it was the right decision even though I was 10 years old.  Then those teenage years happened.  And, if you knew me during my teenage years, you're probably thinking, "You were a Christian?"  Technically, yes.  Living like a Christian, no.  Thank goodness for God's grace, because I would have been in real trouble.

The problem during my teenage years was being afraid of losing what I had.  Now here's the sad part.  This is what I had...parties to go to, and boyfriends who didn't have my best interest in mind.  That's it, but I was hanging onto it for dear life.  I didn't want to be the wacked out Christian girl at school, and I sure as heck didn't want to lose my popularity.

Here's the good thing.  God doesn't ask us to be the wacked out Christian.  We aren't to behave like condemers walking around on our high horses shouting, "Thou shall not sin!".  This concept became pretty clear to me when Steven and I started dating.  I had just made the decision to start 'cleaning' my life up a bit, and WHAM!  I meet this hunk of a boy.  Steven was different than any other boy I had dated in high school.  He had a genuine interest in me, and my goals. He listened intently to what I said and talked about his family.  Even though he wasn't perfect, he was the closest thing to perfect I had ever dated.

Here's the kicker.  After entering in a relationship with Steven, I saw how awesome God works.  All he asked me to do was to lay down the party lifestyle and to break off a relationship I had had with another boy.  At the time, it was hard to do.  I thought I loved that lifestyle I was living.  I thought I loved the boyfriend I had.  But I didn't.  I was so clouded by making my own decisions that I couldn't see that God's plan was best for me.  Laying down those areas in my life brought me to Steven.  Which in turn has brought me the most happiness I have ever known.

This was such a life lesson for me.  Sometimes we hang on so tightly to the things that we 'think' we have to have, but in turn those things are hurting us.  All we have to do is trust that God knows what he's doing.  Just think about it, God created animals with special survival skills.  Like the clown fish and sea anemone.  The anemone will sting most, if not all who come near it, but a clown fish it won't.  The anemone offers protections to the clown fish.  Owls have special feathers that allow it to fly silently.  This keeps its prey from hearing it when it swoops down for a bite to eat.  If God gave these creatures special survival abilities, then he surely has a plan for you. 

He even said in Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens:  They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  How much more valuable you are than the birds!

And He promises us directly that there is a plan just for us in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to preosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I can attest to His word being true.  Time after time God has remained faithful to me even in times where I have not been.  All I have to do is to strive to be the person He created me to be, and God will show me how to do the rest.  Like how to become a stay at home mom, and how to get a new home.  I have a list a mile long of all the help God offers me.  I'm sure God has a pretty lengthy list going of all the stuff He's helped me with that I don't even know about, but I do know this.  I know my life has been easier since I've decided to trust God's plans for me.  I still have to take actions, but I quickly know which ones are good ones and which ones are not.

Even when I get asked to give an area of my life up, I get a huge gain in return.  I've figured out that God doesn't ask us to give stuff up so we can suffer.  He asks us to give stuff up so we can live a fuller life.  Sometimes it's easy to surrender, and sometimes I'm stubburn.  In the end, I can honestly say it's easier to surrender in the beginning.  You'd think I'd learn my lesson by now.

Any-hoo...that's my story!

1 comment:

Alice said...

Wow Amanda! What an amazing story. I hope that God continues to bless you and your family. I pray daily that I will become a better Christian and follower.