Yeah, I admit it.
I came oh-this-close to not attending church this morning.
Because I didn't feel like it, because I didn't want to go. (Confession is good for the soul, right?!)
OK, so here's how it went down.
I usually set my alarm well ahead of time, because I am not a morning person. So, awakened out of a deep sleep this morning, I began my dance with Mr. Snooze Alarm.
I must have been really tired - because I kept falling asleep in the 9-minute intervals.
When I wasn't sleeping, I was arguing - (with myself? with God?)
"I can't go. I don't fit into my clothes right anymore - even my *fat jeans* are snug (ish)."
("Jesus doesn't care about appearances.")
"I have a huge pimple." (I do...)
("Really?? That's an excuse?? See above.")
"I'll have to go alone. "The Hub" doesn't want to go."
("This is between you and God...only.")
"I don't feel like going."
("Did Jesus feel like going to the cross?")
"I don't want to go."
I turned off my alarm.
A few minutes passed. My guilt finally overcame me, so I reset my alarm, just so I could put off the wrestling until it was time to get up for the second service.
Of course, this time I could not fall asleep. And so, I got up...less than 1/2 hour before church was supposed to start.
I went through the motions of getting ready.
At each step, I was battling.
I almost gave up.
Finally, as I checked my hair and makeup (and makeup-disguised pimple) in the mirror, I had one last thought...
"You know, it would be rude if I walked in late..."
And so I checked the time.
It had only taken 20 minutes to get ready...even dragging my feet...even hiding a pimple.
I wasn't late.
Grabbing a protein bar and the keys on my way out the door, I sighed. I'm chagrined to tell you that I actually went so far as to sit in the car in the parking lot for several minutes...still almost not venturing in.
But, like a robot, I finally walked slowly to the door.
The singing had already started.
It was at this moment that I realized one of the reasons that I didn't want to go to church was because I did not feel like talking to anyone. I dreaded the question, "How are you?"
How could I possibly answer?
The token, "Good, real good."
Or the truth, "Feeling pretty depressed and fighting the enemy. But thanks for asking."
I'd like to tell you that the message completely turned my heart around, and that I left the sanctuary singing and rejoicing. No commentary on the sermon, but I did not leave feeling that way at all. I still felt incredibly blah.
But I learned something.
I learned that sometimes obedience isn't pretty. It isn't natural. Sometimes it doesn't feel good.
I learned that sometimes obedience is a war zone, a battleground, a contentious battle between our feelings and our faith.
Sometimes obedience wears a bandaid over deep wounds.
Sometimes we have to obey even if we're bleeding.
Obedience is willful.
Do I think that the heavens broke out into cheers when I took my place in church? A mighty victory won?
No, but I think maybe God smiled.
For in some small way, I had made a choice for Him.
A choice against myself.
(Might I just add that my phone alarm went off right in the middle of the message? I'd forgotten to turn it off! As I embarrassingly silenced it, I had this thought: "Ha, chalk one up to me and God! I'm here!!")
As I sit here reflecting upon my morning, I am not celebrating or patting myself on the back.
But I do have a smile.
For, once again, the Lord proved to me that He has a tight hold on my heart...
And He won't let go.
These thoughts from John 17 (what the sermon was based on):
"...they belong to You..."
"...You have given them to Me..."
"...protect them by the power of Your name..."
"...keep them safe from the evil one..."
"...not one was lost..."
Yes, I am held by Jesus.
The Savior who will not let go -
The One who draws me to Himself...
...in spite of myself.
And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers...
He will certainly care for you.
(The view from the parking lot this morning)
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV)
"This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus." (Revelation 14:12, NIV)
"...blessed are those who hear God's word and obey it." (Luke 11:28, NIRV)
"You are my friends if you do what I command you." (John 15:14, ESV)
Are you having any trouble with obedience lately?
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Jen at SOLI DEO GLORIA
Jen at UNITE
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Kathy at ALL THINGS BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS
Kasey at WALKING REDEEMED
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAY
Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY
Crystal at THRIVING THURSDAY
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"