If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
Think it through
One Lenten day in 2008 I was at the mall with my kids (only two back then!), ready to redeem my coupon for a free Cheryl’s cookie. (The Library Summer Reading Club coupon sheet comes through again!)
Now normally I’d walk into a place like Cheryl’s and make a beeline for the chocolate. I mean, what’s the point of a cookie that doesn’t even include chocolate chips? And let’s see if we can find one that has chocolate batter as well…
But it was Lent, I’d given up chocolate, and I’d resigned myself to not getting a cookie at all. I’d get the free one and let the kids split it between them, case closed.
Then I spied something called a “Scotchie.”
Before I give a description of this thing, let me warn you that they don’t make them anymore, at least not like they used to. This was a big, thick bar cookie, warm and buttery, with butterscotch chips in the middle and a soft browned butter icing on top. I had never even noticed it before, but it looked OK.
My expectations were so low that I took our little Cheryl’s bag out to the car, got the kids buckled into their car seats, and doused them with hand santizer (in our house this is referred to as “Shannatizing”) before I broke the Scotchie up between the three of us. As I started to drive away, I took a small bite of my portion.
My mouth was absolutely flooded with sweetness. Since then I’ve been to that mall more times than I can count, yet I still know exactly where the car was when I fully realized what a tremendous blessing I was enjoying. Thank You, Lord! I thought. Thank You for this goodness! Thank You for this sweetness. And to think I never would have known about this if I hadn’t surrendered chocolate!
This is a very small example of what God may do when we surrender our favorites. I’ve experienced it so many times… having to leave a trusted doctor, only to find a beloved replacement. Loosening my grip on my plans, and finding joy around the corner.
And I’ve got to share this one with you: This January I supported my dear friend as she surrendered her quest to have a biological child and fully opened her heart to adoption. Then I was witness to a miracle: by the clear hand of God, an adoptive baby was placed in her arms for good exactly one month later.
What God will do with our surrender! Sometimes I feel He’s saying, “Just open your heart to my plan, my child! I am ready—the floodgates of my blessing will open wide!”
Live it like you mean it
A Lenten fast means that you’re surrendering a “favorite” in order to enjoy a time of preparation for our Risen Lord, the Lord of all. What does your Lenton surrender make it possible for you to enjoy? New flavors, new freedom from temptation?
Open your heart to the new. Spend time in prayerful journaling today. Ask, what has giving up this favorite brought to my life? What new thing is God working in my heart?
It may be an absolute miracle. It may simply be the joy of a Scotchie. Whatever it is, praise God for it.
Lift it up
Lord, I don’t want to hold so tightly to what I know, love, and desire that I lose sight of Your will for me. I want to give up my normal so I can discover Your special. I want to surrender my chosen delight so I can experience Your delight for me. I trust that what You have for me is so much better than what I could imagine… and I praise You! Amen.
Tell Me About It
Have you ever given something up only to receive a greater, unexpected blessing?
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