Losers for the win

Have you ever watched the show “Hoarders” on TLC?

I’ve literally sat and watched episodes cheering the men and women on as they became determined to de-clutter their homes to find freedom in letting go of years worth of junk. However, it all came to an end after watching the episode where they found a flattened cat underneath a horde of boxes. Eek! That was it for me, I was done.

I recently made a big move from Toronto, Canada to Seattle, Washington. In order to prep for this move, I had to go to the basement, which meant I had to face boxes upon boxes of stuff. Don’t worry- no flattened cats were found! But there was just so much stuff! 

My husband and I were fortunate to have the assistance of a Professional Organizer and Oh. My. Goodness. Who would have thought that using Rubbermaid bins would transform my life in a massive way! Our Professional Organizer worked wonders. Well, my husband and I did the work while he stood there and told us to get rid of school projects from 1995! I didn’t notice how much stuff I had accumulated over the years until I saw the van load of carpenter garbage bags leaving our home!!! It was a sight.

The process of moving carried a special significance for me.

As we were emptying old boxes and throwing junk out to make room for new memories, I experienced the strangest feeling. I felt like I was being stripped of everything that I was. It wasn’t just about ridding our home of old items, or leaving our family and friends. It was leaving everything that I had known.

As I resigned from various responsibilities, I started to feel sad. It was so weird. It wasn’t just the usual sadness associated with leaving your family and friends. It was the thought that perhaps who I thought I was, was actually disappearing.

Everything that was familiar, routine, predictable was being shaken. I started to feel lonely, miserable and without purpose asking myself “What now?”.
— Crystal Neil-Patterson

As children, we are taught that losing is bad. Our parents never said, “Be the best loser that you can be!” (at least I hope not).

In my day, we did not receive medals and trophies for losing. Winners got the trophies and losers…..well you just lost.

That’s it. Winning is good. Losing is bad.

The Bible, however, sees loss in an entirely different light.

Matthew 16:25-26 says:

“For whoever wants to save their life a will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me

will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their

soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?“

In life we can become so attached to the idea of ourselves.

By this I mean, we begin to associate what we do for who we truly are. And when we can no longer do those things, we begin to think that we have no place or become threatened when others are doing what we used to do.

Christ is challenging us to have a loose grip on our titles/roles.

When Jesus called the disciples, He simply invited them to “Follow me”.
— Crystal Neil-Patterson

He didn’t choose them based on their roles. He simply desired willing hearts that would partner with Him to change the world.

I think one of the reasons why I felt like this move was a loss, was because I felt secure in the role of worship director/leader, speech therapist, etc. I was familiar with the expectations and requirements.

It was all very safe, and I was starting to misinterpret what I did for who I was.

The Holy Spirit showed me that tying my identity to roles was actually inhibiting me from truly experiencing Christ in an abundant way. Christ’s desire for us is to look to Him for our identity, for “attention to God leads us into the open, spacious, free life (Romans 8:5 MSG)".

God doesn’t play safe so why should I?

I had to start to see this season as a gain and not a loss. I was being given the opportunity to go with Jesus on an adventure into the wild unknown. It was okay if I didn’t know what to expect. I was gaining a true understanding of who I am in Christ. I was being offered the privilege to embrace Christ and to be embraced by Him (Philippians 3:8 MSG). So as I see it now, losing was good for me. Loss meant seeing life more clearly with less distractions. Loss meant finding my security in Christ alone and not in roles or titles. Loss meant facing each day with wonder and anticipating the joys that lay ahead. Loss meant being like a child all over again and seeing the world as a giant playground with limitless possibilities.

I think Paul said it best in Romans 8:15-16:

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s

adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s

Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and

we know who we are: Father and children.”

So friends, loss can be a good thing.

Losers for the win!!