Obedience and disobedience.
It wasn’t until I was talking to a friend the other day that I realized something really good has shifted in my heart and mind concerning obedience. It goes along with the post I made about dancing or being a dog.
I went through this period of time last year when I felt like I kept hearing God telling me to do the most seemingly insignificant, in-the-moment things. While I had been longing to hear him constantly and obey him always, this almost felt like micro managing.
Typing that out it sounds like I’m complaining about God. The truth is… I felt annoyed. It seemed like being followed around by someone who was constantly correcting and judging me.
And I wrestled with this. I didn’t want to ask God to leave me alone! That’s the very last thing I want to ask God. And I didn’t want to tell God he was annoying me. Can you imagine?
Was it even God?…
I think it was around this time that I started getting this mental picture of dancing with someone. I’ve always had some mental picture which helps me calm down if I’m stressed. It has changed a few times over the years… swinging on a swing, floating on my back in water… Just some picture of gentle motion. Last year it switched to slow dancing with someone. Not anyone I know, just a tall undefined man. The image was both comforting and soothing in times of stress or confusion.
Over the course of the next few months I went from feeling as if God were giving me constant instructions to feeling as if I was actually just dancing with him. I couldn’t tell you the transition moment but at some point I stopped hearing directions and starting asking him questions that had nothing to do with “should” or “obedience.” Somehow our conversations about my actions became like consulting my best friend (who just happens to know a whole lot more than I do) about what would be the best thing. Somehow our conversations went from polite arguments (myself being the arguer) to this loving exchange of vulnerability and wisdom (he being the wise).
Example. Cutting my hair.
I like to change my hair when my life changes. I don’t know why this is… women do this. But this time I didn’t want to really cut my hair and I didn’t want to dye it. I visited a friend in Vegas who has these extremely awesome bangs and I played with the idea of cutting myself some bangs. It might not make any sense (who can fathom a woman’s emotions about her own looks?) but I felt sure that I would look bad with bangs. I had a few reasons for thinking this but it had been so long since I’d tried them that I just wasn’t sure. So I asked God about it. Here’s how that went;
“Dad, I’m thinking about bangs. Should I do it?”
“No, but really.. would it look good? You know how unsure I feel… I don’t want to look horrible and then walk around feeling that.”
“You will look good. You should do it.”
“Yep. Do it!”
I’m not kidding about this conversation. In fact, I probably repeated “really?” more times than is comfortable to admit. Understand that God was not commanding that I cut myself bangs. This was not a matter of obedience or disobedience. This was him knowing my heart and loving me enough to encourage me toward something good.
So I got bangs.
Then nearly every single friend and acquaintance I came across mentioned and complimented my new bangs. I have never (ever!) had so many people notice and praise a hair change. Seriously. I think, on average, usually 7 people will notice (at most) and comment. But this- what happened when I cut some hairs in the front of my head- was almost ridiculous. Just at the point when it became ridiculous (the 30th person, maybe) I realized what was going on. It was the most beautiful and loving “I told you so” I had ever received.
This is not to say that he never tells me to do stuff out of obedience, but I think somewhere in the last year I have had a revelation about his love which has totally changed how I perceive him. Even his imperatives (even his ‘no’) come from a place of love.
What about you?
What do you think about hearing and obeying God’s voice?
Do you see God seeking to show you love?