There are many things I could have done differently. I could have lived elsewhere. I could have pursued a far more pretigious legal career. I could have taken the big-money job. I could have married the first person who asked. I could be far more well-groomed (and therefore ‘beautiful’ by glossy mag standards). I could have travelled more. Seen more. Done more.
But I didn’t. Many of these choices have been shaped by the fact that I am convinced that I am called to be in full-time Christian ministry – spending my life and gifts and time with others, reasoning from the Scriptures why a life following Jesus is the best choice. I have chosen this path, and when I sit and think about it – I am content that this is far better than the lower-glamour, less-travel, smaller-budget, less-sacrifice life.
But I am convicted that I also harbor some “pride” in that sacrifice, and this breeds discontentment. Can I really say that I am fully satisfied with the life I have chosen, if I socially ‘reserve the right’ to complain about it? Even if it’s in a joking “see what I’ve given up” kind of way? I don’t think I can: to sacrifice things for God and retain some pride in what I’ve given up, or reserve the right to complain or criticize, means that the sacrifice isn’t yet complete. I am still learning what it means to “consider everything loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Phil 3:8). He lost His life for me – really, how does my sacrifice even begin to compare? It couldn’t possibly.
So why am I writing this? Not so that people will congratulate me on the sacrifice, but to hold me accountable. Please don’t let me moan about “what could have been”. If I do that I’m still not “considering everything loss”. I’m learning to surrender the right to complain.