Monday, April 24, 2017

All. Over. Again.~

What started out as
"a little something for the birds"
has now morphed into
a whole lot of something for me.

"I think I'll pick up a little something for the birds,"
 my husband had said one day.
"With the winter months here,
let's be God's way of feeding them."
With a wink and a smile,
he was out the door.

His little something turned out to be bird seed.

And while his choice of seed must have been delicious,
we all know,
besides being a tasty menu item for birds,
seeds are also amazing encapsulations of potential new life.

Spring has proven this to be true,
as now,
smack dab in the center of our yard,
a not-my-kind-of-grass
has started to make its presence known.

Here, there, and even over there,
this unwanted, unwelcome grass is sprouting up.

Not wanting this grass to take over the entire yard,
I found myself wrestling back and forth with myself about what to do.

"Just look at it.  It's everywhere! What good is pulling it out going to do?"

"Yes, that's true. But, are you content to live with this grass,
day in and day out? Is this what you want in your backyard?"

"But, Self - take a good hard look! Do you know how hard it's going to be to pull out each clump of this new grass?  C'mon! It's going to be nearly impossible. And besides, for each one you pull, who knows how many new shoots are just waiting for the opportunity to pop up?"

"I know. I know. It's not going to be easy.  But, honestly, I don't think living with it is an option. I don't want this grass in my yard."

Finally, (and thankfully)
the strong-willed side of me outweighed the lazy side of me,
and the decision was made to remove this grass immediately.

My plan of action -
soak this area of the yard,
and then the following morning,
one clump at a time,
pull these babies up by their roots.

Today was the following morning.

As I sat on the patio,
drinking my morning coffee,
e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y comfortable and content,
I gazed out at the unsightly grass awaiting me.

And, I realized again
what we often fail to remember
and what we often tend to forget:
Sometimes, a decision will need to be made
over and over and over again
if we are to reap the desired results.

In order to get myself up out of my chair
and out into the yard,
I had to decide to tackle this project
all. over. again.

And, because I only made a small dent
in this ever-increasing grass population,
I will need to make this same decision again
tomorrow morning,
and the morning after that,
and many, many mornings after that,
all summer long.

It is this need to re-decide and re-commit each day
that has me pondering anew these words of Jesus:

But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say,  "There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!"

Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?"
~Luke 14:28-31

Before we start,
we have to count the cost.
Before we start
we have to decide if we are willing
to start again tomorrow,
and the day after that,
and the day after that.

Do we have what it takes to finish?

Starting is only profitable if we follow through to finishing.
And, starting isn't just a one time deal.
The kind of starting that leads to the finish line
is a kind of starting that starts again each day.

It's the kind of starting needed not only for
ridding my yard of unwanted grass,
but also for
completing a degree,
paying off a loan,
losing the extra weight,
breaking free from the addiction,
reaching retirement,
raising a child,
making it to "til death do us part".

It's also the kind of starting needed
to be a disciple of Christ.

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 
But don't begin until you count the cost.
~Luke 14:26-28

Every moment,
of every day,
we have to decide
all. over. again.
to follow our Savior.

It's the kind of starting needed
(with the precious, ever-present help of His Spirit)
to walk away from temptation,
to overcome evil with good,
to do unto others as we would have them do unto us,
to be salt and light,
to face persecution,
to take up our cross and follow Him,
to run the race before us, finish, and finish well.

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.
~C. S. Lewis

It's not enough to decide to start.
We have to keep deciding
all. over. again.
until we finish.








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