I can be an utterly ridiculous person. Before you jump to my defense, let me explain why I would make such a statement. In the Bible there is a story of a man named Jonah. God gives him a directive to follow and Jonah doesn’t like it. He doesn’t just refuse to do it; rather, he goes so far as to buy a ticket for a boat going in the exact opposite direction of where God was trying to send him.
I am so a Jonah. God gives me the direction He want me to go and I begin to stamp my feet and steadfastly refuse. Unlike Jonah, I have never gotten on a boat going the other direction. Mostly because I live in New Mexico and bodies of water are rather rare. I would, however, absolutely run away from God’s chosen path if I could. It just isn’t a realistic option. Nor would it help. At all. So where Jonah runs, I must stay. That does not mean I have to be happy about it, though. In fact, in my most recent situation, I whined and complained to anyone willing to listen. I tried every known way to get out of it that I could find.
Many people tried to tell me the truth – that God had put me in this place for a purpose. I basically stuck my fingers in my ears and stuck out my tongue. I refused to hear it.
When none of my plans worked to get me out, I settled deep down into misery and refused to come out. My attitude could be summed up this way, “Listen, God, You can force me to stay here – but I am bound and determined to be miserable.” For a solid five months, I did just that. Went in miserable, left miserable, and clung tightly to that misery until it came time to do it again.
I’ll be honest, it didn’t work. Sure, I stayed unhappy, but God didn’t change His mind.
Today, I complained again to a group of friends who could recite my words from memory because I have said them so often. These are women whom I know love me and have my best interest at heart. Instead of pity or disingenuous attempts to make me feel better, they laid out truth for me, truth I did not want to hear. My reaction – I asked them if I could cuss. Deep in my heart something shifted. I knew they were right. Knowing it made me flat out angry. Eventually one of those words we dread to hear came up. Obedience. Have you noticed that obedience is often attached to things we just really don’t want to do? When we want to do something, it is a joy rather than an act of a burden we have to choose to obey.
Yesterday, I found a graphic I had made in a previous post about this very subject. I shared it again because it is so true. Little did I know that those exact words would come back to me as my friends spoke of doing what God wants. “Desire is not a pre-requisite to obedience. God didn’t ask if we wanted to, He asked if we would.”
The good news is that I had another quote, from my friend Natasha, follow my own. “Obedience equals blessing.” God is not this big meanie in the sky who throws out random assignments just to make us suffer. He is a good God who knows what is best for us and for others. When we follow His will, He will bless us. Now that blessing doesn’t always look the way we want it to. It rarely comes in the form of a new car or money falling from the sky. It is most often a feeling of joy, contentment, and peace.
I am a pretty stubborn gal. I could totally continue my stance for the next five months and stay stuck down in the pit of self-pity that entire time. I could be determined in my refusal to obey. Instead, I am making the choice to lay down my will and follow His. Just the relief from knowing I don’t have to continue to fight has already brought a sense of relief and a sense of peace.
Okay God, I hear You and I choose to obey.