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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

On sacrifice and such things...

I've been thinking a lot about sacrifice recently. Maybe because I read this verse the other day:
"It is dangerous to make a rash promise to God before counting the cost." - Prov. 20:25
I guess making promises to God is a little like making promises to people - don't make them lightly. But what catches me up is the "making promises to God" part. I've become very hesitant to promise anything to God. Am I gun shy?

Well, I guess so. See, there are a whole host of "promises" I made to God, vows you could say, that later when the going got hard and my heart was getting bitter, I began to realized I only promised as an attempt to persuade or bribe God into giving me what I want. Like this: I will sacrifice my time, hobbies, my wants for the great commission but I want a godly spouse. I will be faithful to discipline my kids as long as they change!...and stop disobeying. I will be faithful to give my money generously as long as we don't see financial hardship. None of these thoughts went consciously through my mind at the time. Only later when the spouse wasn't happening, the kids weren't changing, the money wasn't flowing that my heart grew hard and bitter. Well, fine then, I won't [fill in the blank...]

So, now I pray diligently before I make spiritual commitments. Is God leading this or me? Is God leading this or my feelings of inadequacy? Is God leading this or my frustration with life? Is God leading or my desperate attempt to find some concrete rule I can stand on?

Does every decision to sacrifice need to be spiritual? I don't know. I make lots of sacrifices that I can spiritualize but aren't really spiritual at the root [for me]. Like calories. I will sacrifice calories, dessert, or that piece of toast at breakfast to lose a pound [or two :)] I will sacrifice a portion of our budget for a gym membership, cause I value exercise. I am a better mom when I spin my physical wheels hard core for an hour a day. I sacrifice personal time, a second income, and a piece of my sanity to homeschool my kids. And while I engage and dialogue with God on these subjects a lot, they didn't necessarily start there. God never said, "Alyssa, skip the toast this morning." I just committed to it.

But then I guess God did say, "homeschool your kids." And it is a good thing I know that, cause at the end to a very frustrating or difficult day, I can return to solid ground by remembering that this is God's thing, not mine. No amount of legalism, "supposed tos," or other people can get me through the challenging task of parenting my kiddos. Only God, and knowing I am parenting them how He wants me to. Not how He wants so-and-so to parent their kids.

I don't know where this post is going. I am just sad to see so many people burned out and bitter at God because he didn't "hold up his side of the deal." It is indeed dangerous to make a rash promise to God before counting the cost.

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