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I Love You More

This week is starting out pretty rough.  I really want to say, “I didn’t think it would be this hard,” but I’m afraid that if I say it, that means that I was naive when I made the decision to say “yes” to God.  Perhaps we’re all a bit naive when the time comes to make that decision, but that doesn’t make us any less faithful just because we lack the knowledge of what that “yes” will entail.
I’m probably going to take my dog back to the shelter I got him from tomorrow.  It’s a no-kill shelter, so I’m sure that he’ll find a good home, but I’m going through a lot of emotions just thinking about actually doing it.  I wish someone would just do it for me.  I have to give him up because where I am going, I will be far too busy to be able to take care of him like he deserves.  He will be much happier with someone else who can devote more time and energy to him.
Yesterday I rode in the back of the pickup with my little cousin Brie.  As she was cuddled against me, I had to choke back sobs thinking that I was going to have to leave my little girl.
I started training my replacement today.  I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to explain everything that I do until I tried to systematically do it.  Walking around and introducing her to people was fun but at the same time had quite a bit of finality to it.  In everyone’s minds, someone is taking my place.  In a lot of ways I feel like I’m already gone.  It’s weird.
I spent time with my Africa friends tonight.  We had so much fun, and as I was dropping them off, I almost started crying.  I sound so pathetic.  I told my mom earlier tonight, “I wish I could just take off in the middle of the night and leave.  All these goodbyes are seriously draining me.”  How do you say goodbye to five years of your life?
Honestly, I’m scared to death, and the closer I get to leaving, the more afraid I become.  It’s not that I don’t trust that God will come through; I just think the unknown is always a scary thing, especially when you kind of asked for it.  I know that in the coming days, I am going to be committing to something VERY difficult, and I am trusting that God’s “yes” to me means that my heart is at least somewhat prepared for what I will encounter.  It seems that the phrase I keep having to pray to God is this:  I love You more.
“God, in all of this and in all that I am letting go and grabbing a hold of, I love You more.”
“I love You more than my dog.
I love You more than the people that I work with.
I love You more than my comfort and security.
I love You more than my family.
I love You more than whatever reputation I have worked to achieve.
I love You more than life.
I love You more than anything.
I love You MORE.”
I can’t help thinking about the Kingdom of God, because that is the statement that I am really making with my life right now:  that I am willing to give up anything for the Kingdom.  The more I read about it, the more I realize that if we truly understood how precious being a part of the Kingdom of God really is, then there would be no question in our hearts that nothing in life could be more important.  Jesus tells a pretty odd story of a man who found a treasure buried in a field and he sold everything he had to buy that field.  He said that the Kingdom of God is like that treasure.  Francis Chan said something interesting that I have been thinking about:  Jesus could have walked around like a lot of pastors and evangelists today and tried to bribe people to accept His salvation with all the “good things” that they could receive because of it.  However, Jesus does the opposite.  He says that if we follow Him, we may be persecuted, be tortured or lose our lives.  We may have to sell everything that we have.  It is possible that tonight we may not even have a place to sleep.  “Come follow me” costs us EVERYTHING.  However, Jesus knows that in extending that invitation, He is worth the cost.  He does not have to add anything to the gift of Himself.  He is worth every bit of the cost.
I want the Kingdom of God to be the driving force of my life.  At this point, the whole concept looks very different than the things I’ve usually been taught in church.  It’s too bad that the Gospel has to be watered down so that it doesn’t offend Christians, because following Christ is a radically amazing thing.  It will never cease to amaze me how some people can be satisfied living a mediocre and comfortable life, when we were created for so much more.
Please pray for me this week as goodbyes are being said and in the weeks to come as new hellos are being made.  Pray that God would transform and renew my mind so that I will be able to see as He sees, love as He loves, and live as He desires to live in and through me.  Pray for strength when the road becomes rough and for the courage to trust Him when the path is uncertain.  Thank you for your support.
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