The difficult work of peeling back the layers.
There are many things that I would have denied to you 6 months ago. Statements like, “You value possessions over people” and “Your worth is wrapped up in this game of life.” If you called me on the carpet, I would have shook my head defiantly at you and refused to agree. Claiming you to be the crazy one, and not me.
The last six months (and even the greater part of this past year) has been a slow undoing for me. The Lord has peeled back layer, after layer of my life and forced me to examine each shred. He has uncovered cultural norms that I was clinging to as truth. He was shining a massive spot light on my hesitation to trust Him with everything. There were bits and pieces of my life that I clung tightly to, as I shooed Him away, saying, “I’m good; I’ve got these things God. No help needed here.” In the end, the thriving root in my life was pride. It’s runners ran deep into the hidden places of my heart.
I was a contradiction.
- Yes, Lord, you can have ALL of my life… except…
- Sure Lord, I will trust you with these things, but not this one…
- Of course, you the supreme voice Lord, but these voices are important too…
- Okay God, I am willing, IF….
- You can use me God, if the cost isn’t too high…
- Of course I will share Your message of peace and hope, IF it doesn’t cost me…
When Jesus says, “drop your nets and come with me”, I want my response to be: YES, SIR… Nets dropped, CHECK… Coming with you, CHECK…. but the reality is that immediate obedience is nearly impossible for me. Again, the contradiction; the ever-present tension between spirit and flesh.
But this past move was different, immediate obedience wasn’t asked for, it was required.
It was a “dropping of the nets and going” sort of thing.
I hated every minute of it, but I knew it was the only path we were to walk. I hated moving from my cute house and my amazing tribe. (And,I miss them everyday, btw!) I hated uprooting my family and moving across the country into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment that costs us as much as a mansion would in Oklahoma. To be completely honest with you, what I hated most, was that it was so hard.
Releasing my grip
When we moved I had to get rid of about 60% of our belongings. Each item was hard for me to part with. Every time I put another piece of clothing, a dusty tchotsky of home decor or one of my kid’s used toy into my van to drop off at Goodwill, I would hear Him say, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
As I drove my junk across town, my teeth would grit and my gut would turn inside out, because I hated that this was hard. I hated that my “things” had turned into weights. I totally understood the heart of the woman in Genesis 31 who hid her belongings in the saddle of her camel because she couldn’t part with them. This would have been me.
Sacrifice is hard
Sacrifice requires a living offering, and this is it. The dropping and going… your life is the offering. The act of submissive abandonment of one’s own life is where true sacrifice lies. At some point we have to choose to step into faith or cling to flesh.
If Jesus said, “Help me gather the nets,” or even “I need help washing the deck”. I think the decision for his disciples would be easier. It’s the act of complete abandon that is difficult to swallow. They were in the middle of a task was the linchpin to their life. Fishing was their career, their identity, their culture. The men were wading knee-deep in the muck of their life, when Jesus said, “Let go and come”.
Less is More
I have found it ironic that the more I have given up, the more He has given me. The blessings of sacrifice are 1000-fold. He fills the open gaps with things that are greater than what you are clinging to. If He has made his voice clear, follow, no matter what the cost.
Friends, the anticipation and the anxiety of a calling is much more difficult to live with than the actual dropping of the nets. You can’t simply nod YES while clinging tightly to the ropes in your hand. This is not a sustainable way to live as a believer. Abandon them and run. Run the race.
Do not be afraid to drop your catch. The gaps will be filled with joys unspeakable.
When cultural norms become truths in our life, the dropping of the nets become completely impossible.
I have found that when I begin to value possessions over our ministry, or when I begin to turn inward instead of reaching outward; I must beware, my heart is tuned to the wrong voice. Culture may be the loudest voice, but it’s not the life giving one.
Drop them and Go.