My heart weighs heavy today as I reflect. I have no specific idea where I am going with this post, so I will just write and see what happens. I guess that at times, we must think inward and pray how we might grow outward. No growth comes without a struggle.
Jesus said that we would only find life if we sacrificed everything. It is hard to think about what that might mean. Do I need to give up my goals? Some people say that I do not have to completely, but I have to be willing to if God asks. Some people say it is to give up the things that you would be good at. I personally believe that is foolish because God has given us talents and it is to our best advantage to use them. One of His early commands to Adam was to be a steward of our resources.
I have sacrificed many things. While some people went from college to great jobs, I went to graduate school and learned how to live on almost nothing. I remember the conversations about struggles with money with some of my mentors. One person said that every college student is going backwards, at least I know it! That was good advice. I had to turn off my home phone number, get rid of internet, and live on pancakes and chili for a long while. I have $1200 every month and I had to make that stretch. In this, I had the temptation of a dysfunctional mother that was trying to give me money. I refused because I had to learn to live on my own, and what better way is there than balancing a budget with no money. I sacrificed a lot to go to graduate school, and in the end I determined that it was worth it. I learned a lot about science (my field of study), but I learned a lot more about life. I learned to persevere, to tough it out, to look to the brighter times ahead.
We, as Christians, are told to persevere. We will endure many difficult things, many challenges and temptations, but if we last, it is like the church in Smyrna, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10b). James echos the same sentiment: Blessed is he who perseveres, for when he has been approved, he will received the crown of life promised by the Lord for those that love Him (James 1:12). We must endure the hard times and make it through. Let us run the race that is before us! Let us persevere in Christ, sacrifice, and have great joy in the promise that the Lord will give us. Peace in Christ.