Honoring the Sacrifice of Fellowship

I had someone contact me this week to interpret a dream.  Basically, she had a dream she was in college.  The next thing she heard was Leviticus 3 and 4.  The highlight of these scriptures is “… sacrifice of fellowship offerings …”

What an incredibly interesting God we serve! And He never ceases to amaze me with the way He plays with words, symbolism, and His unexpected sense of humor.

So, for the backstory, this lady (dreamer) is one of the sweetest you’ll ever meet!  She spends every ounce of her energy, time, money, etc. doing for others.  To. A. Fault.  Yet, this little missy wonders why she’s exhausted all of the time and consistently frustrated because she very seldom ever gets back from others what she pours in.  Often, not even a thank you.  For me, it is very difficult to watch.  With that being said, I pray for her often, and hope her heart doesn’t get calloused in regard to people.

Imagine my excitement when I heard her dream!

I began to explain that her dream basically means that God is “schooling” her in regard to the “honor of fellowship.”  She had read over Leviticus and had assumed God was going to ask her to donate a liver or a kidney, which I’m sure she was already trying to adjust her schedule for the time she would need off to make that happen.   I assured her that was not God’s intent.

He wants to spend the next season teaching her how to navigate relationships.  All of her relationships.  Her relationships with Him, her friends, family, acquaintances, and even folks that drain the life out of her with no interest in her best welfare.  Did I mention, she is a “giver” and is always tracked down by the “takers?”

He basically wants to teach her the beauty of navigating fellowship.  What a beautiful description of the art of learning to honor herself.

Today, I had an appointment and met with another young lady about the same age.  I mentioned the dream.  We discussed the “sacrifice of fellowship offerings.”  She was dumbfounded by the thought and excited to hear that she didn’t have to live her entire life exhausted at the cause of others.  She had also been wrestling with how to navigate a busy career, a young one, husband, and a nationwide privilege of attending and teaching at conferences.  Even before our session, she had actually reached out to me to help her navigate through the guilt of leaving her little one at home while she was away for the weekend.

We chatted about the privileges God gives us.  For each of these young ladies, they have incredibly successful careers, wonderful husbands, and littles.  Throw in health, family, friends, and self-care, and it begins to seem unnavigable or overwhelming, at best.  It seems that something has to give, or at least that’s what they both seemed to think.

Christian Inner Healing
Photo by Jonny Swales at Unsplash

My response to both of them is this:  Do you enjoy all of the things that are on your list?  If the answer is yes, it’s not about removing your passions.   It is, however, more about culling out the things that don’t bring you joy.

Don’t get me wrong, just because cleaning your house doesn’t bring you joy, doesn’t mean you can’t stop doing it.  But you can change your perspective about it.  For example, if God has given you the privilege of traveling the USA and teaching your trade, and you enjoy that, then by all means, do it!  Just don’t sacrifice your family, health, and welfare for it.  Don’t aspire to be a worldwide phenomenon at the sacrifice of your home and family.  But do it as you can and as you are able to enjoy.  It’s all about balance.

I can’t imagine either of these young ladies not operating in their gifting and talent regarding their careers but I pray they don’t let their careers lead their lives.  If your career is about chasing fame, power, or money – your relationships will suffer.  You will probably gain those things you’re seeking, but you will gain them at the altar of your children and possibly your marriage.

I do believe that you and your family benefit from following your dreams in a way that is acceptable for everyone. And scripture says that where there is unity, God commands a blessing (Psalm 133:1-3).  So, if your husband supports what you do, then you should go and kill it.  If you pine away the entire time you’re gone, are not able to be fully present and enjoy yourself, then you should refrain.  It’s all about “honoring the fellowship.” The key is to be “fully present” where you are.

I have several friends that I often take trips with.  Some of my friends will only go away for a day, some a couple of days, and one or two that I think would sell their wares and travel the world with me if I were to ask.

My one particular friend is good for about 5 days.  She’s married to a wonderful man who encourages her to travel with me.  One day, a couple of our friends and I loaded our kayaks in my hubby’s truck and went to pick her up to head to a beautiful cabin in the woods.  He was so excited to load her up that I became a little concerned.  He seemed more excited to ship her off than she was to go.  So, of course, I mentioned what I had observed and my concern.

His response was, “I am very excited for her to go on your girls’ trip!  She always comes home a better person!”

I almost cried.  What a gift he gives her in knowing that she enjoys our little jaunts and she comes back refreshed and renewed in her relationship with herself and with him.  It is so true!  After a few days with a couple of old ladies, she’s ready to get home to her man and back to life “better than.”  That is a perfect example of “the sacrifice of honoring fellowship.”

So, for the next little season, God is going to teach my sweet little dreamer the privilege of learning how to honor who she is in relationship to others.  Ideally, she will learn that often the enemy will keep you busy doing good. But if you stop and seek Him, God will only give you what is best.  The enemy will convince you to sacrifice your family for a career.  He will even coax you into believing that working 80 hours a week is good so your kids won’t “lack.”  While you’re traveling on a fun trip, he will make you feel guilty that you aren’t home. But when you are home, he will make you bitter because you can’t travel.

Bottom line is to learn to be present!  Wherever you are – there you are!  And if you abide in the Lord, He will ordain your steps so you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  If you are miserable, then you probably missed Him and you need to “recalibrate” your choices moving forward.  (Unless you are always miserable.  If you are, then you may need to assess whether or not you are just choosing to be a miserable cow.  If you have good friends, they will tell you.)

Bottom line, wherever you are, be fully there!  If you have a bratty little one who’s going through a hard time, it might seem like a relief to wish she were old enough to get her own snack or do her own homework.  Don’t fall for it.  Spending time with her during snack and helping her with her homework is the “honoring of fellowship.”  One day you’ll look back and would give anything to join her in snack and the process of mathematics (never thought I would say that?!) But it’s true, that is the best of life.  That little one is soaking up every little thing you think about her.  Whether you say it out loud or not, she knows if you enjoy her company.

In scripture, the definition of joy means “I am glad to be with you” (Psalm 16:11).  And that is the epitome of the honoring of fellowship. It means I have made the sacrifice of all other things, and I am glad to be with you.

So, here’s the skinny on “the sacrifice of fellowship offerings:”

  1. Honor your time alone.
  2. Honor your time with others. Give because you want to, not because you feel you owe anybody.  God has blessed us to be a blessing, not to be indebted to others.
  3. Honor your company, whether you are alone or with friends.
  4. Choose friends who make you a better person. The world is hell bent on making you a bitter person.  Don’t take the bait.
  5. Practice gratitude.
  6. Don’t be a miserable cow.
  7. Breathe. And Rest.
  8. Honor a Sabbath, with or without others. It refreshes your soul.
  9. Have no worry for tomorrow or thought for yesterday.
  10. Wherever you are, be fully present.

 

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