one of this year's lessons for me has been learning that the cost of discipleship is not always giving up the things that the christian world often views as "bad." in fact, some of the more costly parts of following christ are actually giving up things that are not inherently bad. but nonetheless, they are things that christ has called us to give up in order to know him, feel his love, experience his provision, follow him and fulfill the purpose he has for us.
one of these things in my life has been learning to not say yes to everything that comes my way. i love people. i love fun. i love food. i love music. i love competition. i love laughing and i love the outdoors. if anyone invites me to anything where there is even the possibility of these things, things then i cannot say no. i would hate to miss out!
enter problem number one: when i say yes to everything, other things suffer. i am tired. i stay up too late. i sleep in. i quit making time for things that are important and even essential to my survival. sometimes i inadvertantly schedule these things right out of my day (i.e. prayer, time in the word, exercise, alone time, etc). though people and fun are a huge fill to me, running at a can't-say-no-pace, will eventually drain me and hinder me from doing the very things the lord has called me to.
enter problem number two: when i say yes to everything, i find that i start spending money on things. fun often costs money, unless you have time to be creative. which i do not because i am too busy saying yes to everything. even if i am not spending a crazy amount, or if i have a crazy amount to spend, some times this inability to say no, hinders my ability to do what the lord asks of me or go where he is leading me, because i do not have the money to. i would love to support this person or give to that or whatever, but i just don't have the money. it is convicting how i will go over on my fun budget in a heartbeat but struggle to give sacrificially.
so for me, i am learning (very slowly) to say no (even to some really good things) so that i can say yes to things my lord has called me to do. to have life and have it abundantly, he is the one i need to follow. otherwise i will live an okay, pretty nice life with a few high points, but still be missing abundant life. the cost of discipleship is more than saying no to the "bad" things, it means saying no to some things so that you can say a full-hearted yes to jesus.