All or nothing

blogIMG_1816You’re either in or you’re out. You can only straddle the fence for so long before it becomes necessary to choose which side of that boundary marker you’re willing to jump into.

I find this is true in all aspects of life.  Make a decision.  Choose which side you’re on.  We learn that at an early age and you can witness it on any elementary school playground. Line up on this team or that one but you can’t just hang in the middle.

Except that’s where a lot of us cling – to the middle of the road. We don’t want to jump on this or that bandwagon because it might be politically incorrect or we might offend someone, even our family or friends.  So we compromise (not that that’s a terrible thing, it’s good in some instances) to keep the peace or not be different or in the minority or….you can fill in the blank.

Choose your side. It’s evident in the political arena which is so fired up for the upcoming November presidential election that it reminds me of a wild WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) show gone rogue with manic behavior and ‘roid’ rage.  

It saddens me that people can choose to get oh, so riled up over politics or insert your favorite obsession passion here, yet still choose to be apathetic and indifferent to faith in God.

Today, July 26, is All or Nothing Day. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t been contacted by a complete stranger who just so happened to have read a blog post or two of mine.  

A few weeks ago, I opened my email inbox and noticed a message from a stranger. Now I will admit that I’m a sceptic when I get unsolicited emails and usually just hit the delete button.

But every so often, I get an email that my heart tells me to open and read and, believe it or not, I have had some absolutely wonderful email conversations with a few blog readers who were complete strangers to me.  Those rare occurrences have blessed my heart with the stories they’ve shared with me and how reading my written words touched them enough to reach out and contact me.  In the words of an old friend of mine, “It’s a God thing.”

So something in my heart implored me to open this email:

“Happy Wednesday! I wanted to send a note after seeing how you embrace a healthy, mindful home and life on your blog. I wanted to let you know about All or Nothing Day on July 26th, a day dedicated to living life to the fullest. I’m a 10 year survivor of a rare cancer called mesothelioma, given just 15 months to live upon diagnosis, then and there I decided it was all or nothing from that day on.I’m emailing you because I wanted to ask if you would be willing to help spread the word. It would be fantastic if you joined me on your blog in remembering why we’re here and what we’re most passionate and proudest of.”

Okay, I used to work in journalism. I know how to check out facts. Plus at my ripe old age, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.  I wanted to ascertain this was legit. So I did what everyone else in the world does.  I googled the writer of the email.

I discovered she is exactly who she says she is. A cancer survivor.  Someone who chose to fight with all she had and wage a war (and it can be a long war with battle after battle) against the rogue cells in her own body which wanted to snuff out her life.

But more than that, she is an advocate who embraces life with gusto, passion, and much vigor to spread awareness not just about cancer but those affected by the particular one that she had been diagnosed with – mesothelioma. 

This lady is all in.

I emailed her back and asked her to tell me more.  She didn’t ask for a monetary donation to her cause; really she didn’t ask that much of me.  All she hoped I would do is write a little on my blog about what All or Nothing Day might mean to me.

It’s the least I can do.  One cancer survivor to another.

According to Heather Von St. James, this is what All or Nothing Day embraces:

“…it’s all about celebrating those moments where we’ve gone all out and also highlighting what our passions and proudest moments are in life. It captures the spirit of how I’ve tried to embrace each day since my diagnosis over ten years ago. As a cancer survivor I’ve dedicated myself to being an advocate for those affected by mesothelioma, spreading cancer awareness and educating on the continued dangers of asbestos…along with my family it’s what I give my all to every single day! I’d love for you to join by creating a post on your blog with what All or Nothing Day sparks with you, I think the beauty of this day is that it’s so different for everyone and it would be fantastic to see what you share to help inspire your readers!” 

So there you have it. 

A decision to make. You’re either in or you’re out.

I’ve thought, pondered, and asked the Lord what I should write to signify what All or Nothing Day means to me. What inspires me? What sparks the flame of passion within me? What do I most want to share with my readers?

The answer became quite clear. It comes right down to a basic part of who I am – my faith.

I’m either a believer in Jesus Christ or I’m not. I either place my complete faith and trust in Him or I don’t. I’m either all for Him or all against Him. I must choose sides even if I want to stay in the comfortable middle.

Because that is what He requires of me. I don’t want to be like the church of Laodicea, a spiritually dead church, written about in the Book of Revelation in the Bible (New Testament). Those believers were lukewarm about their faith in Christ.  They weren’t hot – being on fire or passionate about their faith in God – and they weren’t cold – strongly against the things of the Lord – either.  They were just apathetic, listless, unconcerned, and lethargic.

Jesus rebuked them in Revelation 3: 15-17 (The Message version):  “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit.”

Strong words but truth. Lukewarm believers, like those in that ancient church, claim to know the Lord, they may even attend church, but they are complacent. They straddle the fence. Not all in nor all out. And they can cause more damage than those who completely reject Jesus.

Lukewarm believers claim to be Christians, but their hearts aren’t changed.  They lack the kind of love for the Savior that requires zeal and passion. They aren’t on fire for Him. Only repentance can change such a heart and those who are ‘hot’ for the Lord commit themselves completely to Him.  

All or nothing.

When folks examine me and how I live my faith and what fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) I may exhibit, there’s one thing I hope they see in me.

A soul on fire for Jesus. And nothing less.

Because it’s all or nothing and I’m totally in. All in.

©2016 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Click here: Soul on Fire

 

 

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8 responses

  1. This is a lovely post today and a good response to the interesting topic / writing challenge. I love to hear how God calls people and works in their specific ministries and/or causes.

    Sometimes I wish I could really talk more specifically to the ministry Hubby and I have embraced since 2002, but the nature of it is confidential, so I must abide by that confidence others have entrusted to us. Truly, most of our friends know little to nothing about our own history and our involvement in this ministry, and I’m ok with that because it’s not about us. Hubby has impacted the lives of more people than I have in this regard, but my own involvement to a lesser degree has still impacted the lives of some women in tremendous, life-changing ways. Like the woman you mentioned, our ministry came out of tremendous hardship in our lives, and we now work with people and family members whose lives have been torn apart by alcohol addiction, an often overlooked ministry in so many churches today, including our own church. We direct people to God first and foremost, sometimes for the first time in their lives, and we remain in their lives as needed going forward, helping them to lead healthier lives in several respects. It’s up to them how much we are involved. I got a call from one woman I’ve been working with just yesterday morning and spent almost two hours with her as her life was seemingly falling apart. It is a special blessing when some of them go on to help others, and I give every single victory up to God for his glory because he is the healer. We are just facilitators, imperfect ones, but willing nonetheless. God brings people to us as he desires our involvement, and we do our best to help. Most people today would be truly shocked to know how many of their own family members and friends are suffering or recovering from addiction, but for some of them, it is the event that finally brings them to faith in God when all else in this world has failed them and their life is literally on the line. Our God is a mighty God, and he saves! Oh, the miracles I’ve seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your dear heart that is so burdened for those you minister to (you shared a little with me once before privately). And God does use our trials and difficult circumstances for His glory when we answer His call to help others through the same tough times. Alcohol ruins so many lives just as surely as drug addiction does and yes, it is rampant in our churches but it seems we turn a blind eye to it. Keep ministering on, my friend, it is so vitally needed in this world that so many find hopeless without the Lord. And yes, God is mighty to save! Amen!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Way to represent! Truth! It is not a time or a season to be lukewarm.
    Thanks for sharing and calling into the light a matter that many keep in a shadow of “lukewarmness”. Keep on shining Cindy! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s just too much ‘lukewarmness’ out there and frankly, I’m tired of hearing it, seeing it, and experiencing it. It’s time we believers live out the old hymn, “stand up, stand up for Jesus.” Thanks for reading, my sweet friend, and being one of those who never stands for lukewarmness either. ❤

      Like

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