We are faced with many choices, many opportunities. It could be exhilarating to imagine and explore all the possibilities before us, but often it is daunting.
If you struggle with perfectionism, if you fight fear, then the choices before you morph into a minefield. Where should I go? What is the next step? Will my next step lead me down the path of righteousness or will my foot be blown off?
Could someone please just show me where to go and what to do?
My image of obedience is an image of perfection. But the perfection in my mind looks like the Stepford Wives. Every hair in place, never extreme in emotion, always the right attitude, the right action, the right words, the right motives.
Stop laughing, we all know I am way out of line with that picture. But that’s what I’m seeking, a picture of obedience so that I can line my life up to it. Much like a ballerina working at the bar looking in the mirror trying to line up with the perfect position: left toe out just a bit more, straighten that leg.
But my image is shattered by the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is agonizing in prayer. Jesus is so worked up talking to the Father that he is sweating blood. Can we do it any other way?
The picture Jesus gives us isn’t the Stepford Wives. Jesus, God and man, a man without sin, in a wrenching conversation with God. Apparently obedience can look like emotional agony. Followed by not my will, but your will be done.
This isn’t the picture I was looking for; it is less a diagram to follow and more an impressionist painting. I can’t line up my specific choices with this picture. I can’t line up my job, or my time, or my exact circumstances. Trying to line my life up with someone else’s life to be obedient is barking up the wrong tree. My obedience and your obedience don’t line up move for move, choice by choice, in the specifics.
I was made for something different than you were. I am different from you. My obedience, my path is going to look a little different than yours when it comes to specifics.
So what does obedience look like?
Obedience looks like walking with God, which looks like talking to God every day about every thing. Every day. About every thing. That is how Jesus lived. Taking time to be with God, reading the scriptures, worshiping, giving thanks. Talking to God. Every day. About every thing.
The conversation may be agonizing at times. But in the end obedience is doing what God tells you to do. The only one who knows what obedience is going to look like in the specifics of your life is God. So to be obedient you have to talk to him, every day, about every thing, and after you have talked to him, you have to do what he says.