If you have read my last blog post [Grace] Under Fire then you know that my life is in transition. This is a big one too. But today, after about a month of feeling like I was trying to walk in quicksand, everything came together. I got caught up on my chores around the house, our home is finally clean, we have something to eat (thanks, Mom), and my oldest is all caught up on distance learning. Having some semblance of normalcy gave me time to think and get off this hamster wheel of perpetually trying to find my feet. I am on solid ground now. I am good.
One of the things I have been pondering today is the fact that this life I currently have cost me a lot just a few short years ago. Today, being able to see my dreams of writing my book to fulfillment still brings me great joy. Having a job that pays me well for my time and effort gives me great joy. Having a marriage that literally fills my love tank to overflowing brings me great joy. Having sisters who would drop everything when I need them is an honor. But these things did not just come over time. I had to “do” something.
Writing my book took hundreds of hours between the years 2018 and 2020. I was taking notes during podcasts, conversations, at work, and then sitting at my computer for hours at a time fleshing out these thoughts. And the effort gave birth to something beautiful. This 400-paged manuscript is a love letter of sacrifice and I will always be honored that it is mine to share with the world.
Before I got my current job, I had to heal from my fear of failure and success. It took six months of conquering my fears, and eleven months of submitting applications to secure this position. I have invested hundreds of hours with my employer to gain their trust and earn my place in the company. It took sacrifice and hard work but I am finally seeing a semblance of career satisfaction. This job literally gives me the financial ability to pursue my dreams.
My marriage is enjoying one of our sweetest seasons ever. But we didn’t just arrive here suddenly. This was not a matter of time. This was a matter of investment. Four years ago, I invested eight months into marriage mentoring through Good Thing 101 by Wives in Waiting. My marriage is STILL reaping the reward of the work, lessons, and in-pouring I encountered in the program, and I keep the lessons on the forefront of my mind in my daily interactions with my husband. I recently took on the Respect Dare through Good Thing (as a leader this time), and even that little tune-up has brought new joy into our marriage and friendship as husband and wife. Four years ago, my joy in marriage was disappearing and mentorship literally turned the whole ship around for us. It took time, investment, intentionality and prayer but we are on solid ground today.
I prayed and cried out to God to prune me and make me a better friend than I had been in the past, and to give me women/sisters who would love me and accept me. God did the pruning and I saw the fruit of it. The friendships and sisterhood I enjoy now were a direct result of God teaching me how to be the type of friend I would desire. It took tears, prayer, listening, learning, forgiving and humbling myself to be ready for the gift of friendship. But the risk was more than worth the return I am enjoying today.
Today, I saw some publication from women and leaders whose work, life and ministries have impacted me for years. These women have been ministering and pouring out publicly for years at no cost. Recently, most of them have launched masterclasses and mentorship programs that require a fee or an investment. And I immediately had a thought. As much as I have benefited from these women and their free content and wisdom for years and decades, there is a reservoir in them that is strictly for those who will INVEST their money and substance to gain the wisdom and gold that these ministers carry. I fully expect that if I pay the fee/make the investment, the level of access I will have to these women’s insight would be deeper, richer and more transformative. It would be foolish of me to expect to grow to the same level from the free content as I would have if I had paid for mentorship or a masterclass. That is the very definition of trying to reap where you did not sow.
Every new level has a cost. Every single one of them. There is a cost for a better marriage, a deeper walk with Christ, more fulfilling personal relationships and even a top-notch career. And when I say cost, I am not talking about dollars. I am talking about sacrifice. We must sacrifice comfort for growth. We must sacrifice the familiar to conquer new territory. That is just the nature of the beast. Comfort zones are overrated. And when we get too comfortable, they transform from places of rest to places of bondage. The new joy in my marriage cost me a great deal of selfishness. I had to lay down my pride and my own will so that I could esteem my husband above my selfish tendencies. The new job costs me time and availability. I cannot just pick up and go as I feel like it (I still feel like I can because I am working from home but “home” does not mean available). I have to sacrifice my schedule and my desire to do whatever I want whenever I want for the sake of being an integral employee and a woman who honors my commitments.
Even my relationship with Christ cost Him his very life. Just because it was free to me does not mean it was cheap. Every good, godly, and worthy thing in this life has a cost. Some have been paid by heaven, others we must work out on earth. You cannot see the depths, heights, breadth and width of what God has for you by refusing to sacrifice.
From one sibling in Christ to another I advice you, pay the cost. You will not regret it. When you sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel, the return on your investment is out of this world.