Let me just let you know up front: God isn’t asking you to bleed out. I do not believe that God is asking you to just sit there and take it, whatever it is.
God is not asking you to bleed out slowly as you turn pale and feel the life slowly leaking out of you. That is not God who is asking you to stay there and die. Bad theology might be asking you to do that. Or fear, or shame or something someone told you about expectations and being a good . . . girl, wife, teacher, something. You don’t have to sacrifice your whole being to be good.
I am telling you this as someone who knows. Someone who tried to shape herself into something she was not created to be, simply because I was trying to be good. I tried to be quiet and demure. I tried to be a good Christian girl. I tried to have less opinions. Less was always still too much and I found myself folding in over and over again until even an expert in origami could not fold further. The physics of the folding in on had failed me. I still was just a little too big. The sacrifice of self had done nothing but leave me wrinkled and creased. None of that folding was necessary. That is not the kind of sacrifice that is required of you.
You are already good. God called you so. Maybe you have made some bad choices, maybe you have done some bad things, but you do not have to erase yourself (or let something erase you). Erasing who you were designed to be is not the answer. It is never the answer.
I believe in holy sacrifice. I believe in holy offering. I believe in giving up what God asks of you. I do. I know that every time I have been asked to make the sacrifice, something beautiful emerges from the dust. And it is hard, in the dust when that something beautiful has not yet emerged, but there is something in my gut that lets me know I am supposed to stay. I believe in doing whatever it is God is asking you to do because it will only make you grow further into yourself.
I no longer believe that God will ever ask you to stay in a situation that is causing you to shrivel up and die.I do not believe in the screwed-up teaching that ties our hands behind our backs and asks us to just stop breathing, to shrink, to disappear.
Too many of us have been told that what God wants from us is to stay, to stick it out, to die on whatever hill it is we are currently standing on. When really God is giving us permission to go. To bow out gracefully, or to run like hell.
I am in my last three months of teaching. At first, it was a wonderful fit, and it fit me beautifully. The sacrifices I made with and for my students I did gladly. I showed up in buildings that were old and had a hard time regulating the heat. I spent Saturdays in coffee shops grading papers. I was happy to do it. I felt alive in front of my students. I lived for the moments when they finally GO IT and I loved the ways I could open their minds to consider a world bigger than the one inside our classroom. I held firm on my rules that we would all be kind to each other. I gave kids a lot of chances they probably didn’t deserve. I recognized they did the same for me. We worked it out. I was making sacrifices, I was offering my work to the Lord, but those sacrifices and offerings made me come alive.
Until they didn’t. They no longer made me come alive, walking into my classroom felt like a thousand tiny deaths. Not the dying to the present for something beautiful in the future way, but like in the, I am having trouble breathing in this situation way. The death did not give way to new life, it just made me know that I needed to go. I knew in my gut it was time, probably past time.
What is your gut telling you? Maybe, just maybe, that is the discernment you’ve been seeking.
Hear the good news of the Lord: Christ died for you, and you have nothing left to prove. Did you hear me? You have nothing left to prove. Stay, or go, sacrifice or not, you are beloved and there is nothing you can do to escape that. You. Are. Beloved.