I recently attended a service at a church other than my own. I was not familiar with their worship format, which made me feel a bit out of sorts. In addition, I found it very hard to understand what the Pastor was saying. He talked very quickly, and he mumbled. Since his words were not very clear, I really had to focus on what he was saying. As I focused on his words, one of those words jumped out at me and has stuck with me ever since. The word was --- Obedient. I just can’t stop thinking about obedience and how it fits into who I am and into my faith.
I really struggle with a small hard corner in my heart. I keep thinking that it is this hard corner in my heart that holds me back from being all that is wonderful. It blocks me from giving complete love to Christ. It is what holds on to my self-doubt, my critical nature, my need to judge, all the traits I am not proud of. I keep thinking that if I pray more, give more or serve more, the hard part will soften. I have a picture in my mind of experiencing a miraculous change and this hard corner disappears --- just like Scrooge, or like all of those mean people in the Hallmark movies. It has not happened. Alas, this hard corner is still there.
I struggle with being obedient. I have known this struggle for a long time and have not wanted to admit it. I really think that not having an obedient heart is what maintains that that small, hard corner of my heart. I was a “strong-willed” child and to be honest, I still am. I can clearly remember being punished because of that. I hate being told what to do. When someone tells me what to do, I cringe. I have to give a little pause before I can act on it, if I can even act on it at all. My husband will preface his requests with "I am not telling you what to do, I am just suggesting…." (ah, he knows me so well!)
Noah, Abraham, and the Prophets were all obedient. Job, whoa… even through all his suffering, he was obedient. I am currently studying the Book of Esther. When I look at Esther, I see obedience, and in her obedience I see greatness. Jesus... now there is an obedient role model. He even names it in his prayer on the Mount of Olives when he says “Not my will but yours be done.”
So now that I have had this revelation, I know what is right, but what next? It is great to be able to name my issue. Now I have to move not just past it but rise above it.
Here is where I will start:
Grant me an obedient heart.