The other night I battled a bit of insomnia and rather than listen to the clock flip endlessly through the late hours, I picked up Pastor Kyle Idleman’s book “Not a Fan.” I’d already read it through once, right after my June baptism but it is one of those books where bits of wisdom are harvested with each read.
Flipping towards the back of the book, I came to a section where he writes about sending an email out. In it, he asks an intriguing question: “Saying yes to following Jesus meant saying no to…” and then he goes on to recount the variety of answers. The point being, that saying yes to Jesus often means saying no to our own “comfort” and can mean, as he puts it, “sacrifice and risk.”
Taking inventory of myself, I decided to go ahead and answer this question as honestly as I could. So here goes:
Saying yes to Jesus has meant saying no to:
The Friends I Once Had
It is not that some of my friends and acquaintances suddenly became evil nor that I became too holy, but it was a simple matter of recognition. I recognized that, as a new Christian, I am much like a new bird learning to get my wings so to speak. I need to be surrounded by those from whom I can gather wisdom and love of Christ. To be around those who would encourage behaviors of old, who would mock my new faith, who would say “Just once…come on!” would be to put the weight of stones on the fragile feathers of a baby bird.
So I’ve had to distance myself a bit and thats OK. It is lonely right now as I seek to make new connections within my church family and that is to be expected during this transition. Patience is key. Perhaps in the future, I will be able to reconnect with some of these old friends–but only when it’s right and only when my faith is very solid.
The Kind of Dates I go on
I was once open to a variety of personalities, beliefs, and thinking. I thought that being in a relationship or feeling “committed” was all that mattered when it came to the subject of dating and intimacy. I believe all along my heart knew the truth despite the hardness of life’s circumsntances. Now, my dream first date would take me to Sunday service, we would have a simple meal, talk and ***MAYBE*** he would get to hold my hand. If God isn’t in the middle of my meetings and dates from the very beginning, there will never be a foundation to build on. This is the beauty of it all. Through my faith God in His goodness allows me this purity-even at my age, even after what life-and my bad choices- has pulled me through. Amazing.
The Desire to Rule My Life
I used to think that there would be nothing better than to steer my life, independent of any outside help. Yeah,that works. I look back now and know He has always been there, even at my very worst. Every morning I pray and deliberately place myself in His Hands. I do not know where He will take me or what He will have me do-but I open myself up to His Will and say no to ruling myself and yes to Following where He leads.
What People May Think
You may call me overzealous, or a little over the top. But if God says no to it, I’m not going to see that kind of movie or listen to that suggestive music or skip church service. You can call me holier-than-thou and then try to catch me being human-which you will on any given day. But what you think really doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, it’s not you I’m talking to.It’s God.
So this is my really short off-the-top-of-my-head my list of what I’ve had to say no to in order to say yes to Christ. I do not consider it a loss though because what I’ve gained has been so much more. Has there been lonliness in the loss of my friends? Yes. Have there been those who hold me at arms length not quite sure of this change? Yes. With the “yes” comes a certain sacrifice but that sacrifice is tempered by His Peace.