There's something about human nature that calls us to be selfish. We are born selfish. Anyone who wants to argue that point only needs to spend a few minutes with a two-year-old, who wants what they want when they want it, and will make that clear in any way they can. We are born wanting what we want, and generally those wants include comfort. As an infant, those comforts include the basics: a full belly, warmth, a clean diaper, love and affection, and sleep. As we grow older, our comforts still include those things (hopefully minus the clean diaper!), plus more and more as we grow. Our comforts are different, based on how/where we grew up and what we became accustomed to, what our likes and dislikes are, etc. Some of us find comfort in financial security; some of us are comfortable as long as we feel safe from crime; for some comfort is found in the city, for others, the country. Comfort can be found in the weather, the friends we've made, family, food, television, hobbies. And once we are comfortable, every inch of our being screams, "Don't take this away from me!" We are tricked into thinking that as long as we are comfortable, we will lead a happy and fulfilling life. And that, is the massive lie that the devil wants you and I to believe. Why? Because being comfortable to the point of not being able to let it go is the number one factor in believers saying "No" or a more polite, "No thank you!"to God.
But what if...
What if we let it go? What if these things, these creature comforts that bring us a false sense of security and temporary happiness, are keeping us from His ultimate most wonderful plan for our lives? What would happen then, if we opened our hands and hearts and said, "Here you go, it's yours"? What if we said yes to God every single time He presented us with an opportunity, instead of pondering it and what the ramifications might be to our comfort levels? What if every single morning before we even stepped out of bed, we gave the day to Him, every moment and every opportunity, and said yes before it even began? I'll tell you the answer to the 'what if': We would live the fullest life we could ever imagine. Full of uncomfortable moments, scary and unknown things that would force us to step out in faith, thus growing our faith. But full of so much beauty and life and fullness; full of fruit as we allow Him to use us and make us fruitful. We could be a blessing to so many people if only we would stop being so concerned with our momentary wants.
This is the life I want to live. But I admit, sometimes I'm scared, and sometimes I'm just plain lazy. Other times I'm obedient, and you know what? Not only is someone else blessed by my obedience; I am blessed too! I get so much joy out of doing what might seem uncomfortable and might put a kink in my day when I am able to see that while I made a plan, God ordered my steps. I realize He knows so much better and so much more than I do. I think we get scared that in being obedient and surrendering all to Him, He will take everything that we love away and make us miserable just to teach us a lesson, or something. That's what I think sometimes, if I'm honest. But here's the thing. God is not a mean God; He is a loving Father, and any loving father wants what is the absolute best for his kids. God wants what is best for each of us, and we can absolutely trust that and find peace in it. We don't have to give up everything we love and be miserable for the sake of obeying Him. He's not asking for that. We just have to have open hands. And you know what? Open hands willingly give, but also are open for receiving. Be a blessing to absolutely everyone you can possibly find a way to be a blessing to. And allow God to bless you in whatever way He chooses!
Here's some practical ways I see this playing out in my life currently, just to keep it real and not just out in the spiritual realm. Some things God has laid on my heart several times, that I kept putting off until recently:
- Keeping pretty blank cards around, so I can write encouragement, thank you, or just thinking of you cards to people.
- Baby sitting more often...not my very favorite thing, but such a great practical way to be a blessing to some mamas out there who need a break!
- Instead of just handing a bag of snacks or a hot coffee to a person on the street and saying a quick "God bless!" before hurrying on, taking the time (if traffic permits) to have an actual conversation. To make eye contact, giving that person some dignity. To ask if you can pray for them for anything in particular. I've done this a few times now, and drove away in tears both times.
- Last one I'll mention, is something Brad and I have taken on for an indefinite amount of time. I said 'yes', but my heart hasn't been fully there. I realized that saying yes but going about it half-heartedly is the same as saying no. So, I am throwing my whole heart in to this current endeavor, and praying He uses me in whatever ways, for however long.
I'm starting to see that each and every day is full of opportunities to just say 'yes' to God, and watch Him work. Big things, little things, fun things, awkward things, easy things, hard things...what if we just say "YES!" And watch our lives unfold into more than the mundane, but rather the extraordinary lives we were meant to live.