[CF Devotionals] 2014-06-11 - Don't Hold Back

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To withhold something from another implies that there was a time that there was anything shared. Am I right, here? Let's look a little more closely. Dictionary.com describes giving this way: to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation. It also states: to be warm and open in relationships with other persons. And one other description is: to reveal (a confidence or secret, hidden motives, true feelings, etc.) So to withhold would clearly be the opposite of those same ideas according to the same source: to hold back; refrain, (Synonyms): 1, 2. suppress, repress. Ironically, much less is listed in describing withholding as if they are withholding information from us.

Sorry, my kids would be saying "boo Mom" right about now. When you look at it from the money perspective, for example, you wouldn't notice anything withheld from your paycheck, if you hadn't earned anything, would you? There has to be something given consistently, before something can be taken away. A class my husband and I were in, with a study on the book: The Five Love Languages: by Gary Chapman, talked about this idea, but more specifically toward relationships, of course. Paraphrased, the time we spend with others building relationships is an investment. And if we invest in something, like for example a stock in the stock market, there is a potential for loss. So likewise, if we don't invest much or anything at all, then there is a nil to nothing chance of a loss.

There are certain people in our lives, that make them worth investing. We can pour into them, or they do the same for us, and then we pass it along to others - family, friends, co-workers, or complete strangers in daily living. We have to be willing to take the time, even at inconvenient moments, ones we just feel kind of blah or even bad, as well as those times when we are just ready to roll. I've said it before, and will probably do so again: "Take those grace moments you have, and use them well." What is a grace moment? Well, it's a lot of things to me, in fact. It's a phrase I suppose that I made up. It's a moment you have been given pain, free to share love, when soon you will again feel really bad, due to chronic pain or illness. It's a moment you have been given to hold the door for the person coming behind you, rather than letting it slam shut. It's a day you have, and you are able to do something helpful for another after a bout with the flu - now feeling so good, after feeling so rotten. It's a moment when you can simply look at the name tag on the person of the coffee shop, or wherever you are, and call them by name and thank them for their service. It's a moment you can share by cleaning out a closet or clearing off a bookshelf, and giving something to another who needs it. It's a morning you woke up when someone else didn't; so why waste it?

I didn't really understand grace moments, which is no more really than living "in the moment," until I had migraines. My main concern is always that I will somehow lose a bit of who I am because of how I feel, and will give off the wrong vibe about how blessed I know I am. I used to worry about what people thought, or how I could just fix this ongoing issue and move forward. I am learning that the lesson is more complicated than that though. Now I more clearly understand Paul's words about contentment:

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11 KJV) And in order to be content, for me, also means not being concerned about who feels inclined to withhold from me, rather than invest. I have to look to the example I know comes from truth, and in turn, serves the right purpose. Ultimately, my purpose is to serve the one who created me. He gave it all for me. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16 KJV).

It is quite clear to me that God never said it would be easy to be in this earthly vessel. And we are to be careful about how we spend our time, with whom, and not to get caught up in just doing "stuff," to the point we lose focus of the goal. "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7 NIV). However, we are also not to purposely withhold ourselves from others for reasons that can only be explained as self-serving. We cannot do that and claim to be serving in the spirit of the Lord, anyway. "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves&ngsp;…" (Philippians 2:1-3 NIV)

We need to check our own motives, as to why we are doing or not doing things. We also need to hold each other accountable, and the only feasible way is to communicate continuously with each other along this road we travel. I love a song Amy Grant wrote, called "Somewhere Down the Road". It talks about how we will someday have the answers to all our questions. Until then, we just keep on traveling and doing the best we can - leaning on Him.

Deborah Durrett

[email deborah] cfpraydeb@gmail.com

All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

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