Let it all burn

Let it all burn

“I’ll throw it all- the best I have to bring- into the fire as the fragrance of my sacrifice ascends unto you.”

Psalm 66:15 TPT

Today my best sacrifice is to not want to lash out on my four year old who is shoveling handfuls of goldfish crackers into his mouth at once and allowing the crushing and crunching to fill the room like a megaphone, the sounds of chewing seemingly bouncing off the walls of his mouth in loud echos crashing through the house.

I have a thing, you see.

To this day, I still know my brother Shawn eats two bowls of cereal every morning. How do I know this? Because I have never forgotten the sound of his chewing mixed with the slurping of the milk sloshing around. I’ll never forget the hope of the one bowl coming to an end only to be completely stomped out as I heard the cereal pouring into the bowl for a second time.

There were times growing up where I had to leave the table while others were eating because it was so bad.

Not letting my annoyance get the best of me feels like a meager gift. It doesn’t feel that great or spectacular. But I think it matters.

Because the Lord looks at the heart, and the heart lives in between those big, visual, hard-to-miss sacrifices. He lives in between my photography sessions, my meetings for church things, my volunteering and speaking at a conference.

He lives in the moments I’m walking down the sidewalk to get our kindergartner off the school bus, the moments I’m trying to quickly clean to ready the house for our next set of visitors, and the moments I’m bathing little ones one after another, brushing endless sets of teeth, and being interrupted by two fighting brothers while I’m lifting a bedtime prayer.

Sacrifices are more than the towering flames.

Those towering flames cannot be towering apart from the smaller kindling.

“…Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.”

Romans 5:3-4 TPT

I think we often discount this scripture to be only for the big things. The moments where we are visibly struggling in huge ways with weighty trials. But troubles come in small waves, too. I’m also troubled when I’m on a time crunch and my editing took longer than expected, I have to leave to get the little one off the bus, and I still have to clean the whole main floor and set up before my next client arrives for a session.

Troubles also come when we have a lot on our plate, or maybe, a lot of plates. And we’re trying to balance and be successful at all twelve roles we’ve been assigned at this moment.

How are we sacrificing in our every day lives? How are we giving Him our best selves in our travels from work, school, church, etc? How are we sacrificing ourselves when we’re trying to get through a day where the kids won’t stop fighting and the annoyance is built up to an all time high?

Somehow, through this, I’m reminded of the scripture where Jesus talks about how it really doesn’t matter when we love others who are easy to love, but how it matters so much more when we are kind in response to the unloving.

Think about that. Think about a time when someone was unkind to you and you chose to keep in step with love. We tend to walk away from the clunky moments and feel a little icky, overthinking how we handled it, having to pray for peace to be tangible once again.

Those moments don’t feel beautiful, but the Lord sees the most pleasing, meaningful sacrifice.

In society today, we often dream out loud of what it might look like if everyone were kind to one another. If we all just could know and understand public etiquette once again, everything would be beautiful and chummy. We just need to happy parties hugging strangers and holding the doors for each other.

But we don’t need two sides, friend. We don’t need to keep waiting and dreaming of the day the peace treaty is signed and all is well in the world. The thing Jesus is calling us to isn’t about waiting. It’s about being the first, and maybe even the only. And even when we are the only one to be kind, it’s about not walking away from the encounter and mumbling under our breath, cursing the unkind who just couldn’t be nice for a moment, and taking our kindness back.

It’s about sacrificing. Letting our best flames burn for Him.

“Things! Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful fire!”

Mary Oliver, “Storage”

Take all of me, Lord, with no regrets and no take backs. All of my kindness, all of me, all I have- it’s yours.

It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.

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