As parents, one of the main things we try to instill in our children is obedience. It’s a tough one to follow through with, because if you are a parent, you know how frequently your children like to toe the line of the boundaries we have set for them. Which leads us spouting things like, “Because I said so, that’s why!” and “Because I’m the Mom and I am the one who knows best, not you!” But when it comes to our spiritual walk with the Lord, why do the very same things that seem so black and white with our children suddenly bring us to toe the line and push our boundaries?
To be honest, the word obey just makes me cringe. What’s even funnier is when God laid this word on my heart, I really considered skipping it! Now how ridiculous is that – NOT obeying and NOT allowing God to share His message about OBEYING!! But I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart Psalm 40:8. My desire to do God’s will overcame any of my fleshly desire to cast aside God’s will for me. Even when He calls us to do something we feel may be a small task, He calls us to it for a reason. After all, what seems like a small task to us, could have a huge impact on someone else’s life and ultimately His kingdom!
Have you ever had someone tell you that God laid you on their heart and that they were praying for you? One day, I was having a particularly rough day. I was very ill, but also depleted of all hope that things would ever get better. It was like there was a fog over my day and I just couldn’t see through it – I felt completely defeated and couldn’t stop crying. Then a dear friend of mine sent me a text that simply said God had laid me on her heart and she couldn’t stop thinking of me and wanted to check on me. She was praying for me.
Do you see the magnatude of that? I can imagine God’s sweet words He whispered to her heart…“Your friend…she’s having a rough day today. You don’t see it because she would never show you or tell you her pain, but my sweet child… I see her agony. And today she needs to know she is LOVED. Please reach out to her and tell her – let her know that someone loves her and is here for her…” I can’t tell you what that meant to me that day… it brought a whole new intimacy with my Lord that I am so grateful for! The fact that He would interrupt someone’s day to save my heart just amazes me… But what if my friend hadn’t obeyed? What if she was too busy to send that message? What if she told herself she would do it later, after her favorite TV show was over only she forgot? See, even the smallest of things our God asks us to do still have huge impacts in His kingdom.
When our children where very small, I trained them to hear my voice. I did exercises where I would call to them from different areas of our home. Sometimes I would talk loud and sometimes I would talk quietly, but the whole point was that I wanted them to be able to know my voice, pick it out from others, and ultimately listen to that voice when I called them. If they didn’t know to listen to my voice when I was talking, how could I expect them to obey what I was saying?
Can you pick out God’s voice? If we want to truly obey God’s callings, we must be able to hear His voice. Isaiah 28:23 tells us Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. Now, this is no easy task and I’m not saying this will happen overnight, but if you pray for God to reveal Himself to you, He will! Dig into the Word. God WANTS to show you what He has in store for you! And when you do hear His voice, obedience will happen more out of gratitude than out of have-to.
Here is a journal entry that I wanted to share with you. Watch how God changes my heart…
January 6, 2014
“A book. Really God?? You want ME to write a BOOK! But I don’t even READ books, much less WRITE them!!” Yep, this is pretty much the conversation I have with God every day – who am I kidding? It’s at least a few times every day. To be honest I have felt God whispering to me to do this for about a year and a half. But it wasn’t until our Heart Retreat 2 months ago that God started to raise His voice to more of a persistent boom.
Joanna Weaver was our speaker at the Heart Retreat this year, and boy was she fantastic! She was so real, so transparent and so challenging. But there was one thing in particular she said that forever changed my heart and my outlook on the past 3 years. She has written many books on Martha and Mary – about how so many of us are sucked into the ways of being Martha. Martha was busy and she was a do-er, while Mary knew that sitting at Jesus’ feet was more important. Joanna started talking about when Mary poured all of the oil out of her alabaster jar onto Jesus – about how we don’t think Mary was all that young and that what was in that alabaster jar was most likely her dowry. So, in essence, Mary gave up that dream, all her desires and wishes for having a husband, to Jesus in that moment. What Joanna said next I will never forget… she asked what was in OUR alabaster jar? What were we clenching onto – what hopes, dreams and desires are we holding that need to be poured out to Jesus? In that moment, my God whispered to me… He whispered to my heart that I may or may not receive the blessing I was clutching to in my alabaster jar. You see, I always thought my blessing through all of this sickness would be to be healed by the Almighty Healer. And I still may be…. But in that moment, my God told me that I may not be healed – that the blessing He has for me may not be a blessing of healing. He told me to let go of that dream that I clutched so hard in the darkness of my nights. Instead, He ever so gently told me that my blessing will be sharing what He has done for me – what He has been to me – through my health trials. I fell to my knees, and I sobbed. I mourned the loss of that desire of being healed. I mourned the loss of having that jar to clutch so tightly – it was like a security blanket. It was always there and knowing that, sadly comforted me. But a beautiful thing happened there on my knees, as I sobbed and poured my desires on Jesus, all this pressure slowly lifted off me. And I found my self no longer bowing my head in tears, but lifting my head in praise. Praising the fact that God knew I was not meant to carry that burden. I was never meant to carry such weight on my weak body. See I had been clutching onto my alabaster jar so feverishly that I hadn’t looked at Who was clutching on to me.
Now I am still hopeful that someday I will be healed, but the difference this made for me was accepting where I am and it has made every morning so much easier to bear. Now when I wake up, I think “ok, this is what is gonna hurt today – thank you Lord that it’s not worse”.
As I said before, God revealed to me that he wants me to share all He has allowed to happen in my life through me writing a book. What a poetic moment!! But after the worship was over for the night, the doubt crept in. A book? ME a BOOK?? So, I took my doubts to where you would expect me to at a women’s retreat – to my friends! So I am sharing with them what God revealed to me, and I am waiting for them to validate my inability and absurdity of this request! But guess what?? There was only supportive encouragement – great now what? Now I’m starting to get nervous because now I’m thinking I am really gonna have to end up writing this book! (Yep, I wish I could say that I was so ready and waiting with my willing heart to do what God has planned…. But nope! Sure didn’t.) So I started pleading with them that I don’t even READ books, much less WRITE them! I don’t wanna even do this! I don’t think this is gonna be fun – like all authors do right?
I just couldn’t figure it out. I don’t have an issue with sharing my heart or what we have been through – ask away and I will answer! I find it easy to write – I feel I can get my feelings across better in writing than I can in person most days. Why Lord? Why am I so resistant?? And then one day, on the way to get my infusion, He revealed to me my true heart. Lord, who am I? I am nobody! Why would you even want ME to do something so big as write a BOOK (I don’t even read books by the way – just saying God)?? Me?? And what if I screw it up? What if I screw up something this big? I couldn’t bear that thought! I was sharing this with one of my dear friends. She told me something that calmed my anxious heart – she told me that it wasn’t ME writing the book. God wants to work THROUGH me to write this book. All I have to do is put it on paper. Lightbulb! Yes, they were right! I’m not the one telling this love story… my God is the one telling this one. All I have to do is obey…
Did you catch what happened? It wasn’t until I gave over that alabaster jar that I was clutching so desperately that I was able to even entertain the idea of answering God’s call. You see, in order to make obedience a part of our every day lives, we must first give over control. I know sweetie, that sure isn’t easy. But that was the first step I took – it starts there and so should you. Hand it over – your body and heart isn’t made to handle your burden alone. By handing it over, you will find that you won’t be tempted to toe that line as much because God is going to reveal so much more of Himself to you. He has set up our boundries to protect us – just as parents do to protect their children. You are His and loves you so very much!
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6
Joyce Pendleton says