Often times in life we find ourselves in difficult situations. Enduring great grief or stress. Our tendencies are to withdraw. Our tendencies are to isolate ourselves because we just don’t feel like doing the things we’ve done. We just don’t feel like participating in the things we’ve been a part of. We’re hurting. We feel forgotten, abandoned, and cheated.
Matthew 16:24-25 says,
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
The Message translation says it this way,
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”
That is some messed up mathematical equations! Lose your life = saving your life. Self-sacrifice = finding yourself. Giving more = having more. It doesn’t add up but it’s true. When your instinct is to withdraw, dig down deep and give more of yourself. Immerse yourself even more in doing for others and ministering to others. You have needs? Meet the needs of others. Then watch God meet your needs. You have hurt? Help others in their hurt. God will heal your hurt. You feel unloved? Love others. God will love you and bless you with loving relationships.
We just want to be happy but we don’t know how to find happiness. If you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your faith, your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work, and do the very best you can, happiness will find you.
I love this quote from Barbara Johnson author of Laughter from Heaven,
“We should not arrive at death’s door all prim and proper in a pretty and well-preserved body. Instead we ought to arrive breathlessly, skidding broadside through the pearly gates, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”
Speaking of rides! Our family got to go whitewater rafting at last! Whitewater rafting for the whole family on the Watauga River in TN. From 3 year olds on up, this is one great way to create lasting memories for the whole family. The trip included Class 1, 2, and 3 rapids, amazing scenery, as well as a stop to swing on the rope in a creek. So much fun! Check out our trip! If you decide to go, tell Watauga Kayak we sent ya!