May is such a wonderful month here in Colorado. The snow has finally (hopefully) made its last pass and everything is coming into bloom. The trees are budding and the tulips have sprouted from the ground providing a wonderful reminder of the rebirth each of us get every time we have the joy of opening our eyes to another day.
Today, however, as I was reading a section from the devotional entitled Fresh Bread and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment written by Joyce Rupp, I was reminded that rebirth does not come without a cost. An apple tree cannot grow unless its fruit first grows then dies to expose a seed. The acorn cannot produce the oak tree if its outer shell is not cracked to expose the tender seed inside. Similarly, we as people of faith must be willing to “break open our shell”, so to speak, in order to find the seed that God has planted within us – the seed of who we are and who we are called to be.
Unfortunately, getting to that seed within each of us is not easy. We, like the acorn, have to be willing to make changes that are often very painful and difficult to make. Very often we have to be willing to look beyond the things that our society tells us are the things to strive for and instead, trust that what God is calling us to is far greater.
There was recently a very publicized story about a baseball player, Adam La Roche, who walked away from his job with the Chicago White Sox rather than sacrifice time with his son in the clubhouse. He walked away from a 13-million dollar to serve a greater purpose – putting his family first.
Certainly this is a very rare instance. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to make 13-million let alone be faced with the choice to walk away or stay, but as you would suspect, many people were flabbergasted by the thought of choosing family over money. This is certainly not the American way.
But it is God’s way.
God calls us to be good stewards of those things He has given to us. We often view this as merely a financial task, but being a good steward means so much more than that.
God entrusts us with many things during our time here on earth and we are to be good stewards of all of them.
We are entrusted with one body and we are called to be good stewards of that body – nourishing it, keeping it strong, and treating it with respect.
We are entrusted with family members both human and non and are called to be good stewards of them as well; to treat them all with respect, love, and kindness.
And we are entrusted with gifts and talents that we are be wise stewards of by utilizing these talents and gifts in ways that honor and glorify God.
This last one, the one about gifts and talents, is a hard one for many of me. I struggle to feel that seeking ways to put things like music and writing at the forefront of my life is wise.I have many writer and actor friends who often hear statements such as, “It’s so nice that you act/write/sing, but what do you do for a living?” Living a life where your main focus is something in the arts is seen as irresponsible and distasteful. Making this choice is certainly breaking open that hard acorn shell.
I am at a place in my life where I feel I am being called to break open that shell in a new and different way. I am having to make extremely difficult choices about my job, my health and my future that for most people do not seem logical or practical, but every day I don’t take that step, I feel as if I am not only losing a piece of myself, but turning my back on the skills and talents that God has entrusted to me.
The practical side of me says I must stay where I am – at least until I can be solidly on my feet somewhere else. After all, I am nearly 50, I am not independently wealthy, do not have a “sugar daddy” providing for me, and have not been handed a winning lottery ticket. How in the world can I, a single female who is solely responsible for ensuring I have the basic necessities in life, even think of taking such a risk?
I don’t know. All I know is that I have to do it.
Much like Peter in the book of Matthew, I feel as though I am being told to step out of the boat and trust that God has and will provide the way for me.
Is this thought terrifying? Absolutely.
Do I wish Jesus were there holding His hand out for me to grab so I would know this is the right thing? You bet.
Do I fear I will fail? Most definitely.
But as I wrote in a post not long ago, fear should not define us and I am now choosing not to let fear define me any longer. Fear is that one thing that will keep me from becoming all that I were designed to be and do not wish to look back on my life and know that I chose fear rather than risk the change.
As I start down this new bend in my crooked road of faith, I do hope that you will come along with me, pray for me, and celebrate with me as I find my way. I suspect it’s going to be an interesting journey.
Here’s to cracking open an acorn!