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Give YOURSELF Away? Be Careful by Shaun Saunders

December 21, 2010

“Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

 

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

 

Many of my friends have low self-esteem. Everyone in my family will freely give up their dreams to help others’ dreams come true. Come to think of it, everyone I know has a struggle with healthy giving. We either spend too much, or don’t know how to accept gifts, or we demand what we don’t deserve. I’m concerned, then, about this new hot worship song “I give myself away,” and the way people like me, with low self-confidence and self-worth, interpret it. I want to caution you to make sure you understand what you’re singing before you give yourself to another thing that has NEVER given itself to you.

When you give yourself to God, you’re ALWAYS replenished. When you give yourself to people, you’re most times diminished. People will borrow until you’re broke, they’ll ask until you feel bad for saying no, they’ll guilt you into doing things that you don’t want to do. And at the end of the day, the problem is not with the people who ask, it’s with the person who says “yes” hoping to keep friends (for fear that their “no” will accrue enemies).

Every time you settle or lower your standards, you give yourself away. Every time you succumb to the expectations of the crowd, you reduce a part of yourself for people who really could care less. Each time you compromise, you delete another letter from the word “abundance.” Some of us, all we have left is “a – dance.” Life is nothing but “a dance.” We’ve had so many “partners” and we’ve shared ourselves with so many people that we’ve lost our sense of purpose On this unending race to be liked, we hate ourselves. Why? Because we’ve given our greatest selves to the most undeserving of people. Others of us have turned our lives into “ a bun.” No dance, no joy, no excitement. We’d rather be alone than to be vulnerable. We curl into our corner, hoping that no one will zoom in on our unhappiness. We “blend in” but don’t “buy in.”

Every time you settle, you give yourself away. I know as Christians we are called to serve and to sacrifice, but sacrifice never meant to lower your standards. Sacrifice means the divine process of chiseling away things that reduce the real YOU so that God can maximize His light through the best version you can offer the world.

Last week I had to confront people who were asking me to do things that would put me in a major bind. Because I am a recovering approval addict, I tend to bend over backwards to make the impossible happen. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of the week before, and the month before, and the year before, when I have made some crazy sacrifices for people who are still in the hole they were in before I dug them out. They never improved. They are either just as unmotivated today or just as ungrateful. The lesson I learned was this: giving yourself to people always means you’ll end up bankrupt spiritually, mentally, and sometimes financially. Giving yourself away to God means that He will place “appreciators” in your life who will value your gifts, enhance your vision, and not abuse your niceness. They will say “thank you” and you sense their genuine appreciation.

It’s funny, the people we love the most hear it the least. The places that give us the most life, we run from in order to tend to things that ultimately bring us sadness and deep pain. There are relationships that we know are destined for failure, yet we cling to them; and then there are life-giving relationships, of which we can so easily let go.

We’re imbalanced. We are often led by our emotions, and not God’s instructions. When you sing, “I give myself away” this week, don’t think about what you’re going to do for the church. Too many of us are hiding our issues behind the church. Don’t even think about what you’re going to do for your pastor. Too many of us are creating substitute Messiah’s by giving TOO much to our pastors. Instead, examine if what you’re giving away is really yours to give in the first place. If you’re charging it, don’t buy it. It’s not yours to give. If you love someone who barely likes you, put your emotional investments on pause. If you’re constantly listening to friends who never ask how you’re doing, hang up the phone. The worst investment is the one you think is an asset, but is, in reality, a liability!

Give and it shall be given unto you. If what you get back is more of a burden than it is a gift, then you’re begging. You’re not giving in the first place. You’re begging for attention, you’re begging for affection, you’re looking in the lost & found for an item that was never there to begin with. What you lost was stolen  the moment you placed your heart in the palm of unworthy hands.

Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Prayer: Help us, God, to give ourselves to YOU;  for when we give to you, there is always an abundance of life attached. I pray for those struggling with low self-esteem; with those who feel the need to prove their commitment by doing things they cant afford to do. Help us to be more balanced;  to know when we need to ask for help; to recognize when people are taking advantage of us and not pouring into us.

Give us the courage to walk alone if we need to. In Jesus’ Name…Amen

This Christmas, give yourself to God, and let God decipher whom deserves what and how much from you.

Shaun Saunders is president of Godzchild Publications, the pastor of worship at Cornerstone Community Church in Durham, NC, and a dear brother of Pastor Rhodes.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Saundra permalink
    April 25, 2011 3:40 pm

    This is really a blessing, I plan on changing this about myself today. Thanks so much for allowing God to use you in this word.

  2. June 21, 2012 1:46 am

    Hello Im a visitor to this site and wow! this entry here hits home on so many levels. If you dont mind im gonna post this on my facebook page, with your name and this site listed for the proper credit. Thank you for this!

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