It was 2002, my boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to take the next step in our journey of faith. We both had accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and were ready for whatever God had in store for us. So in a local hotel’s pool we openly confessed to others the proclamation that we so intimately made between God.
Whether consciously or subconsciously thoughts are constantly filtering in and out of our heads, as we establish game plans for our days, weeks, and months, but how often does it go as smoothly as hoped, or exactly as we originally desired? Sometimes we can become so focused on what we think should happen, we ignore God directing us down a different path.
I stand at 5 foot nothing, with medium length dirty blonde or brunette hair (depending on who you ask) and blue eyes. I have three kids, ages 5, 3 ½, and almost 2 years old. I don’t have many hobbies, nor do I excel at many things, primarily because to do most things (even average) takes me a lot of energy and dedication. My thoughts can come out jumbled, and I occasionally say the most clichéd statements wrong. I get nervous when telling people what they don’t want to hear (even though I still do it), and I carry the emotional weight of a lot of situations around me. I don’t say this as a “woe is me moment,” but I can empathize with Moses who felt inadequate for the tasks that God called him to do.
Blah. Blah. Blah. I wonder if that’s what some people hear when I talk. I want to make a difference, an impact on others’ lives, but I know it takes more than words to grow someone’s trust, to show someone love. They have to believe the words themselves and apply it to their lives, or no difference will take place. This transformation starts by getting to the heart of the matter; what is lying in the depths of your heart that only you and God know about?
Parents have a big responsibility. We are supposed to train and guide our precious children to the best of our abilities. 24 hours in a day does not seem like enough time for this monumental task. Just the other day I was picking up some cold cuts at Walmart when a fellow customer stopped me and asked me what my youngest son was eating. “What” I asked, because I hadn’t given him anything. To my horror he had ripped off a piece of plastic from the shopping cart handle and was happily sucking on it. “Am I fit for this task?” I questioned myself.
Playtime at McDonalds was over. It was time to wrap things up and get going. Of course telling three children that it’s time to leave is easier said then done. After much repetition I finally got all three kids in the van. Relieved, yet frustrated, I sat down and stated, “You know you guys really have to listen and obey mommy” Isabella’s response, “Why?”
We live in a land of abundance. We have two of everything, and what we don’t have extra of it is on our wish list. We have three kids; my husband works hard, and we are good budgeters knowing what monetarily comes and goes. Lately, I was yearning for extra: extra in the bank account, extra to go out to eat or buy a new outfit. We are buying our first house, so our tight budget is even tighter. I guess I am feeling the squeeze. Yet through this moment I took some time to reflect on last year.
It’s so easy to go with the flow. Who wants to be the salmon swimming up stream? Yet, I think that is what we are called to do. We need not be guided by what society says is right or wrong but guided by what God says is. We live in a society that encourages us to do whatever comes naturally, or makes us feel good, but is this really for our benefit or detriment?
Today is the day for obedience. Oh wait, that doesn’t work for me…ok, how about tomorrow? Wait a second that’s my hair appointment; can I take a rain check? Obedience is a funny thing, you either are or you aren’t going to be obedient. Our slew of excuses range from almost understandable to silly, but no matter what the conclusion is to failing to adhere to the direction God is sending, they all fall into the same garbage heap under the title “excuses.”
In our self gratification society, the idea of making the right choice out of pure obedience kind of blows our minds. Shouldn’t we be able to pick and choose what seems right to us? Where does faith and trust fall into this limited world view of obedience? Why is the difference between obeying God out of choice versus emotion so important?