Living Sacrifice: Half-Way There

As 2010 came to a close and I looked forward to a new year, God began impressing on me the idea of sacrifice. Struggling to balance pinched finances, stretched responsibilities and whirlwind days, one thought kept surfacing: simplify.

Things that I felt were necessary in my life became the things that God was asking me to let go of. Honestly, I was a little afraid that He was preparing me for a major loss (like the death of a loved one, or something catastrophic). Hesitantly I acknowledged God’s nudges towards open-handed living, starting with selling my iPhone.

I’ve written about it before, I’m sick of hearing myself talk about it {do you ever get tired of your own voice?}. Suffice to say, it was hard. Ok, I actually need to admit that it’s still hard for me. In fact, I went online today to check on our upgrade eligibility {although I ALREADY knew it wasn’t until October}.

The thing that I’ve learned through this season of sacrifice {and there’s been more things than just my phone} is that I feel entitled to what I want, I have a hard time saying no to myself, and I have some unhealthy coping mechanisms.

The other thing that I’ve learned is that sacrifice is not enough. That’s why God gave me a second word for 2011: abide.

Sacrifice without abiding is a weary trudge…

You can’t just empty yourself, deny your desires and rest on your spiritual laurels.

God never tells us to give up things just for the sake of giving them up, but He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, namely, life with Himself. It is a matter of loosening the bands that hold back our lives. {Oswald Chambers}

Previously I had viewed that word “abide” as a call to action. A white-knuckled clinging in the midst of gale-force winds. My sheer determination to remain in Him would be what got me through. Instead, it is an invitation to rest:

Be held by me. Survive in me. Wait in me. Live in me. And I in you.

Living out sacrifice over these past six months has meant that I let go of my expectations, assumptions and control so that I can rest more fully in the presence of God and the knowledge that it has nothing to do with me.

Did you choose One Word for 2011?

How has your word taken shape, and how has it shaped you?

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14 thoughts on “Living Sacrifice: Half-Way There

  1. so true they need to go hand in hand otherwise it ends up in a bad place. I love the journeys these one word’s take us on and how they often lead us places we aren’t expecting. My word for the year is trust…which has expanded to include themes of hope and rest. The biggest way it has shaped me is that it’s forced me to look at the areas where my mistrust stem from and to actually own those parts of the story in order to see them for what they really are rather than avoid them. Definitely still have a lot to learn in the next six months!

    1. When I first heard about One Word I was really skeptical. I didn’t necessarily agree with the idea of focusing on one word for the whole year. I love how it has expanded in people’s lives to deepen and mature. I, too, am excited to see how God continues to use our intentionality over the next six months! :)

  2. We have been in two years of a time of sacrificial living… never once thought that it could be God streamlining some things… hmmmm.

    My word is “Wonder” and what God has taught me is that before I can get to “wonder” I have to see “faithfulness” – now… how the two of them go together? I have no idea, but that is how my year is forming itself out

    1. Wow, Jenny! I never would have thought of those two things, but think about how Peter and John got to see the wonder of the transfiguration because of their faithfulness to Jesus. How many times have I asked God for the wonder-full things without first remaining faithful to Him? Love that, Jenny!!

  3. Well, it’s certainly been interesting reading along and seeing the ways that God has been bringing your words to life in your life. The change is very evident especially in your writing. There’s a real anointing there that has really taken your words to a new level. It’s encouraging to see God honoring you when you abide in Him.

    1. Have you seen Jeff Goins “Writer’s Manifesto” ebook? He says, “As we care less about our audience’s affections, more people will be affected by our writing.” I feel like I’ve gained some confidence in myself in the last few months, and that I’m less worried about what people think about my writing. It could be because I’m exhausted. Haha!

  4. Melissa, this was great to read. I haven’t written my half-way-there post yet, but reading yours has inspired me! :-) I love that God gave you a second word, and that it is “abide.” I’ve just recently been chewing on that word and what Jesus said about it in John 15. And I think I might steal that Oswald Chambers quote. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Anna! It was great to take a peek back on the past six months, because it really made me recognize how God has worked in my life. It’s so easy to think that not much has changed, but in this short time I can already see a difference in how I think and live. When you write yours, share a link here in the comments!

  5. “Abide is a call to action” wow! I needed to read this today! ABIDE was my OneWord and 2011 has been quite the difficult year! Thankful for this post! Now onto my “mid year” post about Abiding! Bless you!

    1. How exciting that you had the same word! Link up here when you post your mid year update, because I would love to hear what God is teaching you about it. :)

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