K. So what does that mean exactly?
I believe when you feel a sense of God calling you to a "new thing" (see Isaiah 43:19) the first step in preparing yourself for that "new thing" is cutting the strings of anything that might still tie you down to the "old thing."
In a lot of ways God did some of this for me as He called 4 of my close friends away & my sense of a secure community had a seismic shift.
And then, He challenged me to let go of other things that could potentially weigh me down or hold me back, like...
- material possessions
- stability, security, comfort, familiarity...predictability
Instead, I got a loud & clear "sell all of your possessions & give to the poor" (Matthew 19:21) one Sunday morning, as I had the opportunity to sit and listen to Christine Caine preach at Willow Creek.
And again in reading Matthew 4:18-20, "Come & follow me & I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets & followed Him." (Emphasis mine)
They didn't even hesitate. Scripture gives no inclination of an internal struggle to obey & let go of the one thing that guaranteed their livelihood. They knew the nets they held were not their security, but nothing more than mere string tied together, string that could, at any moment, unravel.
This blows my mind.
But God's promptings didn't stop there. The disciples left family (vs. 22), funeral preparations (Matthew 8:22), great jobs & wealth (Matthew 9:9); they literally let go of everything because they knew in losing their lives & letting go of all they had, they'd have so much more to gain in the Kingdom of God (see Mark 8:34-38).
So I've been taking these verses at face value & been lightening my load, selling possessions & donating my belongings to local charities, & honestly, as I look around at the handful of boxes that make up my "life," all stacked up in a garage, I don't want any of it.
When you see all your "stuff" packed up in boxes it becomes just that: stuff. Just fillers. Things we fill our lives up with to make us feel more whole, less empty, more secure, more important, & more valuable.
Now, don't get me wrong, I know we need things. I'm writing this blog on a MacBook. And much like Jacob, in Genesis 32:22-32, I wrestled with God over the things He asked me to surrender like my plans & expectations, my community, my home, the desire I sometimes have for my life to look more like those around me.
And then, while on an evening run in Northwest Arkansas, God spoke to me loud & clear through the lyrics of a Hillsong United Song, & I was finally ready to obey. The lyrics are as follows:
You see, I don't want my things to own me. I don't ever want to be held back from the call of Christ because I'm too tied down & tangled up in a net to escape.
Because, from where I'm currently sitting, on the shores of Lake Michigan, listening to the waves lap onto the rocks, there's something very appealing about leaving it all behind to follow Jesus, trusting that whatever problems arise & whatever I could possibly need, He will provide. After all, this is the God that makes plants grow for our shelter, then sends insects to destroy them (Jonah 4:6-8). This is the God who makes money appear in fish's mouths and turns water into wine (Matthew 17:27 & John 2:1-11). This is the very same God who, when His people were wandering in the desert with nothing to eat, made food rain down from the sky (Exodus 16:4). You may recall I wrote a song about that too :)
So, I'll continue to untie the strings of things that weigh me to the dust of the earth & take more steps of obedience, so that when Jesus approaches on the shore, I'll have no qualms about tossing anything & everything aside for the sake of the Call of Christ, wherever that call may lead.
Here I am Lord.