I always hope to be honest and vulnerable with you in our discussions here, but this morning I felt the nudge to share something that has been weighing on my heart for sometime now that I typically shy away from talking about.
Quite frankly, it's a topic that's usually not at the top of anyone's list to discuss—money. And I could probably leave it at that and those who are in a similar season know all too well the struggle of watching every penny, wondering when our minds will ever rest from the question, will it be enough?
Yet, we will in a world where everyone's abundance seems to be on display—what people are buying, the trips they're going on, the houses they're building, the differences they're making, the business they're running, the clothes they're wearing, the events they're attending—the seemingly care-free-not-a-worry-in-the-world life they're living—it's all plastered in front of our faces ALL the time!!! (Ok mostly if you're on social media, which is why breaks and boundaries are SO healthy!!)
I've spent a majority of the last year, several years even, looking at my feet— fixating on what was right in front of me—and all I could see was the lack. I was out of balance and getting more and more frustrated with every teeter, desperately awaiting that moment of lift.
I kept praying and praying to the Lord (see also: murmuring) that I surely I was doing what He asked, where is the reward? The rest? The worry, lifted?!
Turns out (yes, a realization I had just this morning) I was adding the tasks of discipleship on top of everything else, letting them overwhelm and frustrate me when I didn't see immediate gain. Remember the vending machine analogy? Exactly. Well here's what I was missing…
“Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not just one of many things we do. The Savior is the motivating power behind all that we do. He is not a rest stop in our journey. He is not a scenic byway or even a major landmark. He IS the way…”
“Our common, overall objective is to follow the Way of our Master, Jesus Christ . . . This objective must remain constant and consistent, whoever we are and whatever else is happening in our lives.”
Now, a quick thought on consistency, back to my ah-ha moment this morning. We hear the word, or words similar to, "consistent", quite often when talking about discipleship. And somewhere along the way we think that missing a day, or two or twelve, will be what causes us to slide backwards on the path. 3 days in a row of scripture study—3 steps forward. 1 day missed, 10 steps back. Tell me you've been stuck here!! Thinking, I'll never catch up, it's just too much! But my friends, missing those days of prayer or scripture study or time with the Lord is not what slides us back, it's doubting that any of it makes a difference at all!
“…there will be times when you wish you could do more. Your loving Father in Heaven knows your heart. He knows that you can’t do everything your heart wants you to do.”
It is not about how are efforts are tallying up on some heavenly scorecard, it is how much our efforts are changing us.
Lift up your chin, my friend, look up—look forward. Keep going!! We all have these things that weigh so heavy on our hearts and minds they seem to cloud our very motivation to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Maybe it's time to let go of what we feel like we deserve, or what we feel should be, and let God show us. Maybe it's time we start practicing discipleship not for some fixed result or reward, but for how it is changing us and inviting us to become.
I practice discipleship not as one more thing to do but for the person I am becoming. I let go of what holds me back and let Christ be the motivating power behind all that I do.
Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. At the top of the left column write sacrifice or let go. At the top of the right column write consecrate or let God. Then begin to fill the list with things you can either sacrifice to the Lord or consecrate for the Lord. You might reread these words from Elder Uchtdorf…
“We all have things, large and small, we need to sacrifice in order to follow Jesus Christ more completely.
Our sacrifices show what we truly value. Sacrifices are sacred and honored by the Lord.”
“When we consecrate something, we don’t leave it to be consumed upon the altar. Rather, we put it to use in the Lord’s service. We dedicate it to Him and His holy purposes. Very few of us will ever be asked to sacrifice our lives for the Savior. But we are all invited to consecrate our lives to Him.”