So a few months ago I wrote about obedience. It was part one of two, implying there was more on the subject I wanted to say but part two never quite formulated in my head. Until now. And it's not with joyful heart that I convey this post. Heck, maybe I asked for this by writing about obedience in the first place. Either way, here's my latest thoughts on obedience.
I've been doing a study this semester with my small group ladies called, Jesus, the One and Only by Beth Moore. It's fantastic. Throughout this study I've really become aware of Jesus' authority in our lives. He has power. He IS power. He exhibited that repeatedly throughout Scripture, throughout the course of His ministry. And He exhibits that in our lives, and I think longs to exhibit more authority if only we'd ask for it. I've also become increasingly aware of His compassion. This was my prayer. I wanted to feel what He felt, in a sense. To have my eyes opened to what He saw. Holy cow. I will never understand the weight of what Jesus carried as He walked step after painful step on this earth, but the window into His heart that I have seen has marked me. It's heavy. His burden was unbearable. No wonder He went off to pray alone, to plead on our behalf to His Father to intercede in our lives. For healing. Restoration. They were a lost people, just like we are. How His heart broke as He saw firsthand the result of sin, shame, disobedience. The pain must have been unbearable. And He wasn't even hanging on the Cross yet. As I've had my eyes opened, even just a little bit, it has increased the sense of burden for others in my life. For family, for friends, for youth group girls, for small group ladies, the list goes on and on. Sickness, complacency, broken relationships, death, unsettled hearts. I struggle with the weight of all that. I've yet to figure out how to manage it, but I'm getting there.
In the midst of this increasing burden, I find myself struggling to be obedient once again. To be obedient in spending time with my Father. I feel a pull for more. Like what He wants to show me, what He wants to say to me will require more time than I'm currently giving our relationship. And I fail to give it. This morning I overslept again. Not enough to be late to my job, but enough to be late for my date with God. It's a scene that is all too familiar in my life. And I'm wrecked. Why in those moments of clarity, when I'm not sleepy or groggy or huddled under the covers, why in those moments is it so clear? My mind says, Just get up! It's not that hard, is it? But something clouds my mind in those early waking moments as my alarm clock is blaring. I read in Proverbs 31 about the woman of noble character. She gets up while it is still dark and accomplishes more than I could hope to. I want to be her. But I'm not doing a very good job. What's so frustrating is this isn't a new struggle. It's been present in my life for years. I've been acutely aware of it in recent months, as I sense God drawing me in, I sense myself wanting more.
As I (once again) fought with feelings of guilt, disappointment, and frustration, I thought Man, this whole getting up on time thing is really a thorn in my side. I want it gone! Paul wanted his thorn gone too. But it remained - to remind him that God's grace is sufficient for him. That God's power is made perfect in weakness. Which is hard to swallow. This grace thing. I continually stand in amazement that God continually gives it. I would have given up on me long ago. No more grace for Erin! Yet in those moment of clarity, those moments of surrender and heartbreaking humility, I am repentant. But by mere definition of the word, doesn't that mean I turn from my ways? Yet I still fail. WHY? My spirit is sincere. But my flesh is so weak. I don't want to do the things I do, yet I continue to do them. I wonder if it breaks God's heart more to see the sin and disobedience in His children than those that don't yet know Him? I know better. And yet I still disobey. And yet He still gives me grace. But grace doesn't erase consequences. That. is. heavy.
And so I move on in my day, unable to go back and fix this morning. Or the other hundreds of mornings where I chose broken sleep over moments with Peace. But there is hope. I am redeemed. I am loved. I am forgiven. That will never change. And in addition to that, I have a God who supernaturally protects me. His Spirit is IN me, interceding for me when I no longer have words to say. I must pray and trust that God can pull me out of this. And that He'll use this lesson, this pain, for good.