Tag Archives: trust

Sacrifice-Mother Teresa

Sacrifice:

“The act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone” or “An act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god.” (Source: Webster’s Dictionary)

Thankfully, I’ve only experienced one of those two definitions for sacrifice. I’ll let you guess which one J.

The topic of sacrifice has been on my mind a lot these days. Lately I also seem to be having frequent conversations about sacrifice and achievements. I’m both saddened and surprised by the number of people I encounter who don’t seem to understand the concept of making sacrifices in order to do what you have to do in order to get what you want or need.

I’ve had to make many costly sacrifices in order to fulfill what I believe to be my calling in life. I’ve sacrificed my desire to live a lone without the frustration of having roommates. I’ve sacrificed having great paying jobs in order to work for non-profit organizations where I get to do what I love. I’ve sacrificed having nice brand named items in order to keep afloat financially. There was a time when I was filled with anger and regret about many of my choices in life; but thankfully through much reflection and meditation over the years, I’ve learned that sacrifices are never wasted.

People who have goals, a calling, and a mission in life know and accept that sacrifice is part of the journey. Achievements will always require sacrifice; some will be small, others will be major. As I type these words, I want to give you a message of hope by telling you that your sacrifices are never in vain. They are not random, pointless, useless; they are important.

I noticed these key words in Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of sacrifice, “…giving up something that you want to keep…”. Sacrifices are difficult because we are required to give up something that we don’t want to. We are placed in a position of now verses later. The question being asked of us is, “Will you give up this in order to achieve that?”. It’s not an easy decision sometimes, but your willingness and ability to give up something against your own wishes means two things, a) you’re serious about what you need to do; b) you have your priorities in order.

I wish I could say I am great at making sacrifices, but that would be a bold lie. I suck at decision making when my emotions are involved. Giving up my wants for the unknown takes me out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learned that sacrifices are always for the better. We are not sacrificing something in order to make life worse for our self or others.

sacrifice and values

I know from experience how difficult sacrifices can be, so I’ll share with you the most important lesson I’ve learned, “Let it go.”. The harder and longer you hold on to something physically, emotionally, and mentally, the more difficult it is to move forward. If I hadn’t spent so much time grieving, and being bitter about whatever it is that I had to give up, I probably would have had more happiness, joy, and energy for the things I was making sacrifices for.

Being broke for years while I worked full-time and paid my tuition for graduate courses would have been a much easier process had I not spent those years crying about living in cramped, moldy smelling basement suites. Instead of gratitude, I was miserable. I hated my job, I hated where I lived, and I hated not being able to socialize because I had no money to do so or needed to stay home and tend to school work. An attitude of sacrifice would have allowed me to see that I was giving up something I wanted in the present for something that would better my life in the future. In other words, I forgot to enjoy the journey.

Let “it”, whatever “it” is, go. Grieve briefly and move on to what ever it is that will take you closer to where you are meant to be. Trust the process, trust God.

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Follow the Leader – Carefully!

followleader fish

I’m not always good at playing the church edition of “Follow the Leader” and this can be problematic if that leader happens to be God! It’s important to do as we are asked to by those who we are subordinate to, but I don’t believe in doing so blindly and without thought. When being an obedient follower leads to unethical devotion and a major compromise of our values when need to take some time to stop and ask ourselves: why am I following this person and where is this person leading me.

Last week a well-known televangelist made headlines resulting from asking members of his congregation to help fund his goal of purchasing a G650 jet airplane. After his campaign received negative attention in the mainstream media, the pastor’s church pulled the fundraising ads. Over the past several months there has also been media attention about a hot yoga yogini who is being sued by various people for alleged sexual harassment. There were devoted followers who stopped following this leaders yoga practices after the accusations came to light. These two men haven’t fallen from grace just yet, but this was not the case for another famous leader; a bestselling, mega-church pastor from the Seattle area.

follow the leader

Are you a follower of Christ? Is the God of the Hebrew scripture your one and only God? If you can answer yes to both of these questions, this will hopefully help to keep you from following questionable leaders.

When a leader you’ve been following, whether it be in the workplace, the home, the church, in the media, or any other area of your life, is exposed for having done something wrong, your world shouldn’t fall apart. The faults of a leader shouldn’t cause you to lose your faith in God, because ultimately you are following Him and not the person who is in a leadership position.

We are all flawed, this is the reality of the human condition. Paul reminds us of that when he writes, “21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith had passed. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.”(Romans 3:21-26)

I’ve been disappointed, let down, hoodwinked, lied to, and cheated by a number of leaders in my life, but in the end I learned a difficult lesson. What the Holy Spirit has taught me has been a reminder to never place 100% trust in anyone, not because I have doubts about a person, that’s not necessarily the case. What I’m being reminded of is our imperfections, both as leaders and followers. Only God is perfect, and if you remember that, it will help you go a long ways in avoiding the human habit of blindly following another person without internally and sometimes externally questioning their actions.

God is a faithful God. He never lies to us, misleads us, abuses us, or asks for luxury material goods so that he can “better serve us”. All these things I’ve listed are the attributes of a selfish leader, not a godly one.

QUESTION: Are there any leaders in your life that you sometimes blindly follow without stopping to ask yourself if their actions and the demands they place on you are in line with your values?

Do you place more trust in the leadership of others than you do in the leadership of God?

Who are some solid and/or godly leaders in your life?

REFLECTION: During your prayer time ask God to reveal to you any areas in your life where you might be placing too much hope and faith in a leader or subordinate. Ask God to reveal to you any areas in your life where you have not placed your faith in Him. Remember to give thanks for those leaders who are just and faithful to the Lord, who in turn lead you to a closer relationship to the Lord and those who bring out the best in you. Peace.

leadership challenge