Updated: Oct 9, 2019
I had something totally different ready to share with you, but Stephannie’s post about contentment changed my mind. It took me back to New Year’s Eve 2018 after the ball dropped at my parents’ cabin. We were celebrating the New Year with the Bramlett’s when the conversation turned to those ugly dreaded resolutions... I had given up on those years ago. Made me feel too guilty when I quit them. Stephannie’s husband, Cab, explained his approach to resolutions. He picks a word that forces him to be more intentional throughout the year instead of achieving just one goal this helps him achieve more by developing his character.
Sitting on the couch, snuggled up in my blanket by the fire, while Cab talked about his approach to being open to new learning in the form of a theme, I thought how nice, I'm still done with resolutions or themes though. That is until I heard a whisper from the Lord. I heard the word obedience. It wasn’t a loud voice, just that small still undeniable voice that has the ability to make you super uncomfortable. I would love to say I latched on to my obedience study the very next day, but that is not the case. I did the thing where I prayed and said, “Do you really want me to work on being more obedient to you?” Of course, I knew the answer, but I still hesitated.
Obedience. Okay, God! I will make that my theme for the year!
My prayer for you is that God will whisper a word to you as you read this post. A word that will bring you closer to being the person he created you to be.
More on my obedience word...
I was in a comfortable season with the Lord. I was growing! I was learning! I was delighting in my Savior! I was nervous about how this obedience word may change the good thing I had going with the Lord. What will God what me to do? I wonder what he has in mind for me to obey? He was about to give me a new step. He was going to ask me to actually follow his voice. God was calling me to be obedient.
My first step of obedience was to begin collecting verses on obedience and let me tell you, there are a bunch! This obedience thing is very, very important to our father. I would even venture to say, it is of the utmost importance. God feels loved by us when we obey his commands and request. It shows we honor and trust his authority as the Great I Am. Here are a few of my favorite verses I found.
Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
If you love me, you will obey what I command.
I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about this word...this obedience thing! What did it have in store for me?
In the midst of my study, somewhere in all the verses about obedience, I realized obedience is God’s love language. It is how we love him back and say, "Love you, too.” It is the one thing he desires from us... complete and utter obedience! He doesn’t want us to doubt him. He desires that we hear his voice and OBEY it! I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, so I decide it was time to love him back. One sided love is the worst! Time to give back to God. Obedience became the goal of my heart.
During my obedience study, I began to see things differently. It started small, I would feel like God was telling me to say something to someone and instead of rationalizing the thought away, I obeyed. I could share several different stories from my study, but this one was probably the hardest for me to obey.
My precious mother was dying from cancer. Driving and back and forth to see her during her last week with us, God told me he wanted me to speak at her funeral. If you know me, you would know that I HATE being center-stage for even a second. In fact, I have this little theory that all people are either stars or shadows. I am most definitely a shadow, it is where I feel happy and where I thrive. If you put me in front of people, all kinds of unnatural things happen to me. Yet, here was the God I love asking me to speak at my mother’s funeral. This was the first time in my life I simply said, yes Lord, I will... real quick, so I couldn’t go back on my word. I said yes to him and then gave him a but... I will speak Lord, but you are going to have to give me the words to say and keep me from crying so much that people can understand me! And I mean it, Lord! You know me, you know I cry when I talk about anything that matters to me. I don’t feel up to this, but if you want me to, I will.
I even checked in a day or so later with God. So, you still want me to do this?
God gave me the eulogy. All I had to do was pray and pick up the pen. It poured out of me. Now, I had to trust him with the delivery of the eulogy, which was the part I was most worried about. I prayed and decided to have the faith that if God wanted me to speak, he would help me through it.
I can tend to have pride issues from time to time and never like to ask for help or even admit that I need help. I love to pray for other people but have a hard time asking for prayer. God laid it on my heart to ask one sweet friend, Ashley, to pray for me during the service. It is humbling to think God cares so much about us that he gives directions down to which friend I should ask to pray for me. So now, I’m doing two things that are not natural for me, public speaking and asking for prayer. God was changing me, molding me, sculpting me, I could feel it. It felt strange, but not bad. I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be and that is comforting even though my heart was hurting. I was becoming dependent on him. I saw my need for him in my everyday life.
My heart was a mess when I stood and walked to the podium to honor my mother. Grief and sadness mixed with pure panic about facing a crowd and being vulnerable swirled in my gut. My first words were shaky, but I cannot tell you the peace and strength that came over me and allowed me to honor her with my words, well, actually God’s words, he gave them to me. He also gave me the peace that passes all understanding.
I can’t describe what it felt like to feel prayers, but I know did. I literally felt them. I was standing on people’s prayers for me. A week after the funeral, a very special lady to me sent me a card and saying how she wanted to come to the funeral but didn’t know about it until it was about ten minutes into the funeral. So about the time I was speaking, she was covering me in prayer. I felt those prayers, it was like they were little wings of love fluttering all around me holding me there.
Even though my heart was experiencing a loss as I had never felt before, I laid my head down the night of her funeral with a sense of peace in the midst of my grief, he was right there beside me comforting me. What a friend we have in Jesus! Make him your friend because this life is hard and we need him.
Obedience is the best place to be. When you obey, you feel God’s love and acceptance, which breeds trust... he knows what is best, and the cycle continues. Obeying is merely learning to listen to his voice and putting action to his whispers.
I’m not ready to let go of my obedience study, but I’m adding to it ...listening to the whispers of God. I’m going to work on my hearing this year. I plan to see what God tells me. John 10: 27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Did God whisper a word to you? If he did, hold on tight to it. See what it has to offer you in 2019. Write it down. Study it. Pray over it. Listen to the whispers of your heart.
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