Friday, July 28, 2017

Obedience


The green and white blanket supports my black socks, black pants, and grey tee as I sit, head against the hotel headboard, staring at the silver-handle on the seven-foot smooth door.

I rarely cry.

It's not something I proudly champion (unfortunately, my pride just takes other forms).
It's just something I've observed.

"Deborah, do you even have a soul?" 

Holding the "I-Heart-Oklahoma" T-shirt with bright green, edgy succulents and gold-edged vases behind her, my summer roommate looked at me so sincerely I laughed. She'd asked if I was going to buy anything this summer for sentiment, and I'd told her that nah, I wasn't very sentimental. Combined with our internship "professional development" results (I had no Clifton Strengths Finder "themes" in the "relational" category and scored a zero for "mercy"), she genuinely wondered.

I rarely cry. And I've struggled with having tendencies of a creative executive with a poetically analytical mind yet rock-steely core.

But I teared up, here.

My prayer list, complete with long lists under lots of categories, blinked open at me.

where should I go what should I do who should I talk to how to I keep moving forward what about learning this going there trying that

A frenzy of frenzied questions had inhabited my mind for almost two years, and I had recently turned to (consistent, intentional) prayer about them. Mind used to darting, my heart was learning what it means to be still: to be still focused on the one thing that matters so (so) much:


Lord, how can I obey?


Since OneNote holds my (many) notes, I'd made a new section: people. I'd started starting there: Lord, help her to have wisdom. Lord, bring him to you. And this? It got my eyes off of me and onto a bigger perspective.

My decisions no longer begin with "what do I want out of life?" but with simply "Lord, how can I obey?"

And this? It makes me tear up because I see that I mess it up so (so) often. I get consumed by my own ideas, desires, thoughts, ambitions. I get so caught up in the technical, minute details of how to "obey best" because I've held this so tight that I've actually gotten tightly tied to its idolatry. I get so caught wanting to please the Lord that I try try try to figure it all out best and make me a thriving Christian.

I lose sight of it.

It's about coming to the Savior, being saved from sinful uses of the way God has made us, and being committed to simply this: obedience.

The biggest success of how I live my life? The best decision I can make? If I obey what the Lord calls me to. The biggest success for anyone? Obeying, so that, in the end, we hear: well done, my good and faithful servant.

And this obedience? It isn't mystical, or hard. It starts incredibly simply. From this start, then we have wisdom for all the rest of the choices we make.

Rejoicing always (Philippians 4:4). Praying without stopping (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19). Putting others above ourselves and don't do things from selfish ambition (Philippians 2:3). Bearing one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). Welcoming each other (Romans 15:7). Remembering those who are persecuted (Hebrews 13:3). Loving enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).

It's not hard; it's in the Word. The hard part, sometimes, is that we hardly take the time to read it and then do it (James 1:22).

Lord, keep us from over-complication.
Lord, make us people whose heartbeat is obedience.



© 2017 Deborah Hope Shining
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I definitely don't want this to be a monologue. What are your thoughts? Questions? Ideas?

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