Each year the students of Chris Blake’s sophomore-level editing class at Union College produce the February issue of OUTLOOK. Since our overall theme for 2014 is discipleship, we asked the students to share, through their own experiences, what discipleship means to them.

The following article was written by Amanda Ashburn, a junior language arts education major from Shartlesville, Pennsylvania.

To view the print version (designed by Melissa Ratter, a sophomore language arts education major from Hutchinson, Minnesota) see pages 19 of the February 2014 issue, available at outlookmag.org/print-issues


What time is it there?

“I don’t know. Maybe around 2 am.”

It’s late. I better let you get some sleep or you’re going to be tired tomorrow.”

I’m quick to reassure him. “Don’t worry–it’s not a big sacrifice. I want to keep talking to you.”

This is a common exchange between my boyfriend and me. Being in a long distance relationship makes it hard to find time to talk to one another. With him living in a different time zone I willingly stay awake later. It doesn’t bother me. I sacrifice some sleep because I love him. That just makes sense.

Sacrifices to God

What doesn’t make sense is that I can’t seem to apply this same logic when it comes to God. God, the One who asks me to sacrifice bitter feelings, selfishness, perverted thoughts, and self-destructive actions. If I stop to think about it, ridding myself of those things isn’t a sacrifice at all. But, no. When God comes around and says, “Here, let me take that for you,” I act like I desire these negative attributes. Clutching my ugly, messed up life to my chest, I shake my head furiously.

“No thanks, God. I love you, but I’m pretty content with this pathetic little mass of mortal flesh.”

What’s wrong with me? When I hear the word sacrifice I tense up, especially when sacrifice and God are sharing the same sentence. I convince myself that God is going to ask me to cut my body in half and sell my first-born child. Come on, Amanda! Wake up. God’s not asking you for any of that.

Micah 6:8 says, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV). Hold on. That doesn’t sound like a huge sacrifice. In fact, it sounds like how I want to live day to day.

Sacrifice means giving up something good for something great. The ugly, messed up parts of my life I clutch aren’t good. God’s simply asking me to let go of the gross and grab the great. God doesn’t want to take from my life as much as He wants to add to it! That just makes sense. Speaking of adding, maybe I can get Him to add four more hours to the day so I can get some more sleep… just a thought.