Trade-Offs and Opportunity Cost

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3 KJV

In my economic class, there are two terms that I teach. Those terms are trade-offs and opportunity cost. Trade-offs occurs when you make a decision. This is when you choose one thing over another or when you sacrifice one thing in order to obtain another. Trade-offs create opportunity costs. Opportunity costs are those things that you give up when you make one decision over another or simply put, the thing you did not choose.

If I may, let me offer you a transparent moment. To say that this has been a rough week would be an extreme understatement. My aunt passed away last Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer. This is the second child that my grandmother has had to bury (my father being the first). So I’ve been extremely concerned about her. My aunt has a 19 year old daughter who is a sophomore at WSSU. This story is all too familiar to me. Since I have been down this road before, my family felt that I was most suitable to deal with all things concerning my little cousin. However, one thing that I think they fell to realize is that in helping her through this, I had to go back to a place that I really don’t like visiting. This week I’ve experienced some feelings and emotions that literally shook me at my core. At times I felt like I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I couldn’t focus. And I truth be told, I felt like a break down was nearing.
So here I was, standing face to face with some major trade-offs! There were some decisions that I had to make for the sake of my own peace and my sanity. Just when I thought I’d had all I could take, the word came to my rescue. The Lord laid this particular scripture on my heart. In the scripture the word says “to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. The word “for” in this context represents some form of exchange, meaning in order to get something; you have to give something up.

So as the Lord continued to deal with me, it became clear that if I wanted the beauty, I had to make a decision to exchange my ashes. If I was going to receive the oil of joy, I had to give up the mourning that was trying to overtake me. If I was going to be adorned with the garment of praise, I had to offer God the spirit of heaviness that had almost become unbearable. I couldn’t receive what God was trying to offer me if I didn’t first let go of something that I was holding on to. So in making those trade-offs, it cost me the opportunity to be in turmoil. It cost me the opportunity to give up. It cost me the opportunity to stop fighting.

So how does this apply to you? The same way I had to let some things go so that I would be able to get what God was trying to give me, you do to. Do a brief survey of your life. If it’s peace that you need, you have to give him your troubles. If it’s healing you need, you have to give Him your infirmities. If it’s faith you need, you have to give Him your doubts. If it’s joy that you need, you have to give Him your sadness. If it’s courage that you need, you have to give Him your fears.

We can’t carry our burdens and the burdens that God has desire for us to have at the same time. We have to trade off with Him. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. God is trying to offer us His light burden, but it can only be transferred when we give Him ours. So the same way I had to give my “stuff” to God (my cousin, my Granny, my family, my heaviness), I think you should too! Stop trying to handle something that you aren’t equip to handle. If you could handle it all by yourself, what purpose would God serve? I promise you He will carry your heavy burdens, but only if you trade-off with Him.  So this week make a decision to trade your “stuff” with God so that He can release Himself to you.

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By imtoughenough

Release in Order to Receive

Most people who know me know that I graduated from the greatest high school ever, Carver High School in Winston-Salem NC. You might not agree with that last statement, but hey, it’s my truth! So after graduating from college I had the opportunity to go back and teach at Carver for 3 years. Definitely one of the most fulfilling moments of my life. The chance to go back and give back to a place that offered me so much. 

Five years ago I was surplussed from Carver. This means that there were too many teachers in the building and some of us where forced to go to other schools. Out of all of the schools in the WSFCS District, I ended up teaching at my rival high school, Parkland. Now if you are from Winston or the surrounding areas. You know the Carver/Parkland beef. I could not believe this is where I was going to be planted in the next season of my life. 

One thing about Carver is that we’ve always had a pretty good football program (state champs in 99 and in 02). Coming to Parkland was different because football just wasn’t our strong suit. So this year, for the first time in 4 years, my former school and my current school were going to play each other. This was the talk of the town! Because I’m an alum and because my baby brother starts for Carver, I’d already made up in my mind that I would be sitting on the Yellow Jackets’ side. Interestingly enough, I teach quite a few of the football players. I constantly encourage them and show my support, but this time was going to be a little different.

As we approached the week of the game, the Lord began to deal with my heart about this game. He let me know that I needed to sit on the Parkland side on Friday night. Since I didn’t understand, I asked God “why”. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me. He then let me know that although Carver will always have a special place in my heart, I’m no longer in that place. I’m a Mustang and have been for the past 4 years.

Then the lesson came. God revealed to me that because I’d been so busy holding on to a place that was no longer producing fruit in my life that I couldn’t open my hands up to receive what He really had for me in this new place. How many times do we do this in our lives? We are so attached to our past that we refuse to let it go and we shut the door to the new blessings that God is trying to put in our hands. God is trying to put something new in our hands, but our hands are occupied because we won’t release what was.

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the past. Not because it was so bad, but often times because we’ve had great success in the past. There were great accomplishments and accolades where we use to be. We helped a lot of people and produced great fruit. However, that season has ended and now we are in a new place where God desires to do a new thing. 

So even though my Mustangs lost that Friday night, I won. I learned a valuable lesson and my boys were excited to know that I was behind them cheering them on. So as you go through out this next week, remember that your past may have been great, but it can’t touch your future with a 10 foot pole!

  

By imtoughenough