Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Living Like No One Else

Well, after reading the title of this post my husband has probably fallen on the floor in shock so excuse me while I go check on him...

If you are familiar with Dave Ramsey at all you are well acquainted with one of his favorite quotes, "You have to live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else.". And if you are at all familiar with me you know that I have a love/hate relationship with Dave Ramsey. Well, love is probably a little strong. Make that a like/hate relationship. So, for me to quote Dave at all is a little out of character for me. But I have been thinking about this quote a lot in the past couple of weeks.

You see, in order for us to make this dream of Emma's Gift Ministries a reality we have decided to really simplify our lives. We are going to make a lot of sacrifices now so that later we can see a dream become real. We are going to scale down, cut back, live simply, and remove the clutter and distractions from our lives.

Sometimes when we have a goal, a final destination, we have to make sacrifices to get there. Sometimes we have to choose what we cannot see over the things that are right there in front of us wanting our time, money, and attention. And sometimes we have to keep believing that there is something more out there, something worth the sacrifices, something worth the wait.

I was reminded of this in a Bible Study we are doing about the life of Christ. When Christ sent his disciples out to preach, teach, and heal he told them to take nothing with them. They had to depend totally on God to provide their needs. They had nothing distracting them, wanting their attention, holding them back.

As I pack up our stuff to move into a much smaller home I have been looking at that stuff and really thinking about it. Is this stuff going to take my attention away from my goals? Is it going to weigh me down? Is it keeping me from depending on God for my happiness? Is it really necessary in my life? I can tell you, I really don't need most of the stuff I have been holding on to for so long. The folks at Good Will are probably sick of all my stuff by now!

It feels good to let it go though. The load is lighter. There is freedom. Room to move. And breathe. And take stock of all of the true blessings in my life. God has been good to me and I don't need a bunch of stuff to prove it.

But, still, there is this thing called pride. And it still holds me back. My pride tells me people won't get what we are doing and why we are doing it. People won't see that the things we are giving up are so small in comparison to the vision we have before us. And they'll think we are stupid. And, to the world, we are.

But that's okay. Because I know that I was created for so much more than the accumulation of stuff. I know that God gave me a gift in a little girl named Emma that needs to be shared with the world because it can change lives. It can make the world a better place for people who are overlooked and neglected. People who need us to lay down our pride and our need for stuff to show them God's love in a new way. To be their servants. To be the hands and feet of Christ to them. Because they are worth so much more than all the stuff this world has to offer.

Emma taught me that. Why do I let the messages of this world crowd out the gift she gave me? Emma was a simple little girl who loved the most simple things. Like a hug, a laugh, a silly song, the sound of my voice, or a big, loud smooch on the neck. These things made her happy. Simple things. Simple faith. Simple love. These are the things that she taught me. They are the things worth giving up so much to teach others. To give to others. I would give up everything to share those things with her again and I will give up everything I need to if it will help others like my Emma.

What does all of this have to do with Dave Ramsey? Well, if it weren't for Good ole Dave we wouldn't be able to just live this simple lifestyle. Because of our mound of debt we wouldn't be able to give our dream the time and attention it deserves. So, yeah, thank you Dave. We are living like no one else and we probably will be for a very long time. But that's okay. You couldn't pay me enough to give up on this dream!