For so long I have seen “abandonment” as something negative, something to be feared, an action that is taken because of a passivity to take the desired action. A passivity in love, a passivity in care, a passivity in devotion. All of these I have seen as leading causes to abandonment.
Abandonment is painful, yes, but recently God has been showing me how necessary it is to our walk with Him. In order to wholeheartedly follow Him, we must evict everything else that takes up space in our heart. God wants to own the real estate of our hearts, but we rent it out to lesser things. God can’t inhabit the places of our hearts that we have allowed to become occupied by worry, fear, doubt, tradition, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, lust, comfort, wanting to go our own way, and more.
In order for God to own all of us, we must abandon everything else. This abandonment is a painfully positive thing. An active choice. This abandonment is trading everything lesser for the One that is GREATER. This abandonment is letting go but is also taking hold.
For me, abandonment has meant counting all else as loss that I might gain Christ. Abandonment has meant abandoning myself and embracing Him. It has meant ending harmful, parasitic relationships, leaving a job and career I had been trying to build for myself, and doing whatever God tells me to do, whenever He tells me to do it.
The effect has been akin to that of going on a zipline over a beautiful landscape instead of trudging through it on foot. The journey (and the view) is so much greater and faster and more overwhelming and incredibly amazing on the zipline than from the little viewpoint you have on the ground. It involves a lot of trust to take that first step off the solid platform, but the ride is so much more exciting as you realize you’re just as secure in the ropes as on the platform. You’re still being held, but you are also moving. You’re not stuck where you are and you realize what a beautiful sensation the wind in your hair is and how weightless you feel. Nothing is holding you down any longer; instead, you are held up.
It’s a beautiful thing. It’s terrifying at first, but it’s a bigger regret to stay on the platform than it is to step out into all God has for you.
It means leaving where you were behind you, but where you’re going is so much better. I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had a life planned out for her, but God came in and changed not only the direction of her life, but the whole world. People thought she was crazy. People thought she was lying. People wanted to kill her. But what do we remember and celebrate? Her humility in abandoning her plans for her life over to God and His plans.
Maybe what God is telling you to abandon in order to follow Him sounds crazy to everyone around you. Let me remind you that God is the One who knows where He wants to take you. God is the One who will catch you and hold you when you take that first step (and all the ones after it). Don’t stay where you are if God is telling you to move. On the flip side, don’t move when God is telling you to stay. Abandon your plans, your heart, and your ways to Him; He will direct your paths.
He’s got this. He’s got you. And He will never fail you.