Decisive Givenness

Ann Voskamp | June 27, 2018

"Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:2

When I saw the billboard plastered on a wall somewhere in the city, it brought me up short. I stepped back to take it in, stood there in front of it like a fool farm hick.

Blazoned across the three panels like a wake-up call: “Why do you get out of bed in the morning?” And three images: some daredevil plunges off his surfboard—Fear of Failure. An astronaut latches himself in for launch—The Need to Succeed. Some guy holds a curling cat—The Love of Your Life.

So why in the world do you get out of bed in the morning? I’m pretty sure I don’t bother getting out of bed for any purring feline, and no, I don’t have any rocket ship or this hankering to go launching off into the cosmos. And, quite frankly, I’ve never had the guts to take on any looming wave while trying to balance on a death-defying sliver of wobbling fiberglass.

But standing there before the billboard and its haunting question and it comes as a beat under my feet, a rhythm down the street, the question begging an answer. I want to accost the steady stream of blank-faced commuters rushing past me and ask them if they know. I want to ask old men on park benches and kids on park swings and mamas at sinks with young ones slung up on tired hips, and the brave who get out of bed all alone and face their own uphill road: Why—why, you with your broken heart, why do you bother to keep getting out of bed?

Do you find your feet because you’re driven by a relentless fear of failure, or beaten down by the need to succeed? Or do you hit the floor for the love of a ball of fur?

Because this is what I know: Nothing is more necessary than finding God and falling in love and deeper into Him. Love decides. Love decides everything. What you are in love with decides what you live for. What you are in love with decides what you get out of bed for.

Fall in love with His hands that shaped your heart, that cup your face, that trace your scars, that caress you with grace. Fall in love with His face in a thousand faces, in the baby who meets you at the crib rail, and the teenager who doesn’t want to budge, and that man who never fails to put feet to the floor and find his Levi jeans and head out the back door to brave the hardworking world for love.

Fall in love with the One who fills your lungs with this breath and all these people and this sky and all this light, all this glorious light.

You have to fall in love because this will get you up and keep you going every day. Because love decides. And love isn’t about agreeing with someone; it’s about sacrificing for someone. Love is givenness. Love is surrender. Love is living broken and given like bread.

Love decides everything, which is another way of saying, sacrifice is the essence of everything. Fall in love, fall into sacrifice, and you will always rise. Go fall in love with grace and mercy and the only One who has ever loved you to death—and back to the realest, abundant life. Because the world is begging us all to get out of bed and live given, get out of bed and sacrifice for someone hurting, for someone different, for someone forgotten or marginalized, to hold the hand of someone who doesn’t look like us, to lean in and listen to someone angry and grieving and doubting the likes of us, to give a bit of ourselves to those who feel like they aren’t given much real space at the table.

Read the headlines, read your news feed, and then defy the dark and go fall in love with kids raised in different neighborhoods than yours. Fall in love with God in the faces that tell stories different than yours; fall in love with people who think and live and walk in circles far different than yours. Sacrifice for someone—so your sanity, your fulfillment, your abundant joy, isn’t sacrificed.

Sacrifice will always leave you the most satisfied. Fall in love, stay in love, stay sacrificing, and you live the most satisfied. What you are in love with in your life decides everything about your life. Love decides everything.

The sun can rise, and we all could rise, falling around each other, falling all around, healing, rising.


For Reflection

  • How is God now asking you to see your brokenness today?
  • What would abundance look like in your life today?


Excerpt from Ann Voskamp's Devotion, 'The Way of Abundance: A 60 Day Journey into a Deeply Meaningful Life'.

Ann Voskamp is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

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