On Giving Up

The cat ran away.

I woke up early one Saturday morning to help my sister fix breakfast for our mom’s birthday. I was stumbling down the stairs, rubbingOnGivingUpImage my eyes (allergy season), when I got the text:

Oliver is missing.

How sad is that? My mom’s cat went missing on her birthday. That is the most bizarre timing.

So while Abby flipped pancakes and I fried some bacon, Mom canvassed the house for the cat. No sign of poor Oliver.

After breakfast, Abby and I hopped in the car to search the neighborhood.

We cruised along at about 2.5 MPH, then Abby suddenly stopped the car.

“Look! I see white feet!” We jumped out and kneeled down by a neighbor’s car in their driveway. Abby got really close and stuck her face under the car.

“Careful! There might be something feral under there!” I said, thinking of the cats that always roam the neighborhood.

FullSizeRender (18)Thankfully, it was Oliver. A total birthday miracle. He was just chilling there, looking slightly freaked out. We coaxed him out with catnip and lots of, “Come here, buddy, come here. We’re gonna take you home. Let’s go see Mama,” in our best sing-songy morning voices.

I’m sure that was a treat for the neighbors.

I’m also sure they’re wondering why there was a random trail of catnip on the driveway. Thinking back on the situation, that probably looked a little shady. But we brought Oliver home and showered him with catnip and chicken meat (his favorites) and lots of cuddles (not his favorite).

So why did Oliver run away? We have a theory. See, we have this dog we affectionately call Mad Millie. She’s sweet, but she takes a lotFullSizeRender (17) of attention. Millie and Oliver don’t have the best relationship. Clearly, in Oliver’s mind, he was saying, “I’ll run away. Then they’ll appreciate me.”

But he ended up stuck outside in the chilly rain. In a neighborhood with dogs and random cats and kids flying around on golf carts. Scary stuff for a little fluffy guy.

He thought he knew what was best for himself, but his plans didn’t really fix anything. He just got more problems.

Have you ever been there? I mean, not like under a car in your neighbor’s driveway (not judging if you have…). But in a situation where you fight for something you want, even though you know it’s not what you need?

Maybe you’re friends with a group who pulls you away from what you know is right, but when you’re with them you feel like you actually belong somewhere.

Or maybe there’s a guy. People have warned you about him, but you’re convinced you can change him.

Or maybe deep down you know God is calling you to obey Him and go on a mission trip, but you’ve never left home.

Or maybe you keep hearing people talk about Jesus, but you’re afraid of what it’ll cost you if you put your trust in Him.

I could go on, but I’ll zip it so we can listen to the voice of Truth for a minute. Proverbs 3:5-6 says this:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

What does that tell us? It says not to rely on what we think is best for us. Instead, we’ve got to trust that God knows what we need. How do we know what’s best? Spend time with Him. Talk with Him. Read His words in the Bible.

If you’re doing that – if you’re following Jesus with everything you’ve got – you can be confident He will show you the way to go.

But first you have to give up your own plans. Giving up sounds like failure, I know. But giving up our plans and our desires for God’s is always worth it. Always. He truly does know what’s best for us.

Even if you’re afraid you’ll lose your friends if you do what God asks you to do. Even if you feel like you’ll never be loved again if you leave that guy. Even if becoming a child of God will flip your world upside down.

Don’t be like Oliver and do your own thing when you’re frustrated with life. Be where you belong: In the arms of your Heavenly Father. Run to Jesus and believe He’s showing you which way to go. It probably won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. He won’t let go of you.

Just give up.

Let’s talk: Have you ever had something you wanted, but you gave it up because you knew God had a better plan? What happened?
Or: What’s keeping you from letting go and trusting God?

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