costly.

i’m incredibly and indescribably and amazingly blessed.  there’s no doubt about that.  i wouldn’t do a thing differently, because these two-and-a-half years of life in birmingham have meant more to me than words could ever express. but i’m also learning a hard lesson, and that is life, and discipleship, and seeking, and following Christ, are costly things.

choosing to go into ministry means dying to myself.  following Christ means dying to myself.  it’s becoming more clear to me that dying to myself is something i have to work out each day, and that it often encompasses much more than i would ever imagine.  yes, obviously i’ve let go of the desires to have millions of houses and make appearances on MTV and own my personal plane and limo.

but you see, those never were my desires. not my personal ones.  it’s much harder desires that i have to chose to let go of, to forget, to flee, to abandon.  the desire to stay in one place, settled, comfortable.  the desire to have a husband, and kids, and a white picket fence, with the minivan and the porch swing.  the desire to grow old and be comfortable and have a 401k. the desire to do whatever i want, and to be happy all of the time, and to find my work forever rewarding and easy and meaningful and enriching.

i hope there are many moments where i feel settled.  but i’m not promised that, because nothing here on earth can satisfy the search for home, because home is heaven. and i hope i meet a man who loves me like Christ loves the church, and i hope we have children together, and that they’re beautiful and that they’ll grow up in a house with a porch swing, just like me, even if it’s in africa.  and i hope my husband and i will grow old together, and be comfortable, not because our surroundings are plush but because we love each other and love serving together.

but these are also not things i’m promised.  i’m not promised assurance, or constant happiness, or even peace on this earth.  but i am promised that Someone Else is in control.  that my dying is not on my own–that he is in charge, that he is ordaining, that he is walking these steps with me, even as he walked to Calvary for me.  that i can only die to myself in his power, and not my own.  that he knows the deepest desires of my heart, the times where i feel so faint, where i want to give all of this away for comfort, for permanence, for my selfish and small dreams.  and he loves me anyways, and has an amazing plan, and somehow, i get to be a part of it all.  in the moments where things seem incredibly costly–i remember that they are.  and that my redemption was the most costly of all.

If we, then, are not our own but the Lord’s, it is clear what error we must flee, and whither we must direct all the acts of our life.  We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds.  We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh.  We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours.  Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him.  We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions.  We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal.       –John Calvin
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