I Traded It All For "Stew"

I have been overwhelmed (in a good way) listening to the sessions for Passion.
I know I already said it, but go watch them at http://live.passion2011.com/.
Seriously, if you were going to spend 30 minutes today reading blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Just stop and go watch a session. They are only up for 24 hours. It will be so worth it.

Well this morning I watched Andy Stanley's message on Appetites (session 4).

Such an interesting twist on a familiar story. He brought Genesis 25 to life for us. It's the story of when Esau sold Jacob his birthright all for a bowl of stew. The saddest part of the story is v33-34, "he ate and drank and left. And he despised his birthright." Like that, what he had traded his whole birthright for was gone.

Andy talked on how WE HAVE NO IDEA what we are trading for stew.

Here are some quotes... and then I will share some thoughts/personal story:

"Your response to your appetite will determine whether you fulfill God's will for you."

"You have no idea how God might use you if you don't trade your birthright (his plan for you) for a bowl of stew (a momentary desire). You have no idea what hangs in the balance of your choice to eat stew or follow God's will for your life."

"The solution is REFRAME (in light of what God might do in me, is it worth it?) and REFRAIN."

So it got me thinking. A lot.
What am I trading for stew now?
What have I traded for stew in the past? And what did I miss because of it?

I knew exactly the moment I traded my "birthright" for "stew." It's been the biggest regret of my life. I don't really have regrets either. I am a big believer in, "God can use anything," "Things happen for a reason," etc.

But there was a season from the middle of my freshmen year in college through my sophomore year where I traded what I knew God had for me for "stew." I traded it in for my calling. For my relationship with Jesus. For my relationships with others (true community). For my personality (my identity). For my education. For my leadership roles... It goes on and on.

So many times I traded it (don't let your imagination run with what "it" was, it really doesn't matter. We all have an "it" in our past-- a person, an addiction, etc.). Each time I chose I felt like Esau in v33-34-- I ate and drank and left and despised it all. But yet I kept going back to it.

By the end of my junior year I had the choice: be brave and stay and face it all head on and fight through or run.

I so convinced myself that God was calling me to go.
But now I know I ran. Today was the first day I really admitted it and repented for it.

I ran because of shame. I ran because of guilt. I ran because I wanted to clean up my life on my own. I ran because the reality of what my life I had become because I "traded in my birthright for stew" had changed my life to be unrecognizable to who I knew God had called and created me to be. I ran because... I don't know why completely, but I ran.

I left Texas A&M and all God had set up for me there. All God had opened up for me. All God had planned for me.
And I packed up and moved to Dallas/Fort Worth.
And, guess what? It was the hardest year and half of my life.
And today I realized why-- I wasn't supposed to be there.

I fully believe in Romans 8:28-- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I believe He has used that time of "having stew" and that time of running from reality for His glory. I believe He still used me while I was there. That He used others. And I especially believe that I am right in the middle of His plan for my life now.

But I wondered today, what could God have done if I would've kept my "birthright" and said no to "the stew?" And what would He have done if I had stayed?

I've always been ashamed that even though I went to Texas A&M the first 3 years of college, I don't have the degree and I'm 9 hours shy of the Aggie ring. But today I realized it's not the ring or diploma, it's the reason why I don't have those. Every time I see someone else's ring it's a constant reminder to me that I don't have that because of "stew" and because I chose to run.

And I beg God that He would still use me for His glory in ways that I could never imagine. I'm so thankful for His grace. I'm so thankful that He sees us with eyes of love, with eyes of a Father.

This has given me such conviction and passion to have EYES WIDE OPEN to what is stew. I don't want to miss being used by God because for a moment I had an appetite for "stew." I want to learn how to REFRAME the moment that the appetite comes.

And it's not too late.

I so hope you are encouraged by this.