For a long time the hair on my neck would rise at the thought of having to obey anyone. The word "submission" had the same affect.
I am sure that I am not alone in that reaction.
To me those words meant that I would be taken advantage of and be expected to be a doormat.
A doormat for others to wipe their feet on.
That was my reality for many a year.
I learned about boundaries.
I learned that I had value; value in the eyes of God.
Those who had demeaned me and had taken advantage of me were not acting for Him.
He taught me to trust Him and I gained confidence in Him and who He said I was.
In the process my understanding of what obedience is all about changed.
It is not something I do out of fear nor to appease someone else.
Actually instead of being a burden or something that hinders our freedom it is liberating.
It is true.
In a love relationship we enjoy pleasing the object of our affection. It is reciprocal.
The thing is that when we are in relationship with the Living God He often knows better than we do what will please us. After all He is our Creator.
Obedience was the next focus of this past weekend's retreat.
What we had heard to this point had resulted in worship. Choosing to worship is the first step in obedience. He has called us to worship.
Kim, one of my fellow attendees, had written a poem for the occasion. It is entitled "Worship." I have her permission to share it here.
"In preparation for worship, I come to You, Most High LORD.Surrender in worship. It is a choice that brings blessing.
As I enter in, I honor You Most High God, King of Kings.
I come to You on bended knee.
With my holy love, I bring You praise, thanksgiving and glory.
I come to You with bended heart.
In deepest reverence Most Holy One. I come to You;
face to the ground, my heart stripped naked.
I am Yours.
I come...I come...I come."
As I listened to different women share it struck me that I had been living defeated.
How did that happen? By not obeying His call to actively trust with confidence.
As in every family there are always issues to deal with, there are always loved ones making poor choices; there are those who are not looking to Papa.
No one observing me would have seen a problem, but Papa knew. In my heart of hearts I knew too. I had begun to give up on ever seeing change in many of my loved ones. I had forgotten all the evidences that God was not done yet.
My prayers had become mechanical without any real expectation in receiving answers.
As your prayers grow cold, so does worship. At first you go through the motions, but with time even that ceases.
Instead of chiding me, Papa encouraged me. He reminded me of those truths which I had shelved; His promises to me. Promises that He is always at work, that He loves each one more than I ever could. He gave me back the vision of the future and hope that is mine and my family's.
In the moment of surrender and confession there was the sense of a great load being lifted from my heart. He had shown me that I had wandered from the path He had for me and called me back with open arms.
There is an old hymn that is titled, "Trust and Obey." It goes on to say that there is no other way. So true. No other way to freedom from worry, from discouragement, from weariness, from fear. And no other way to joy, peace and hope.