Fearful Obedience to Someone Else’s Call

Sometimes I am so blooming afraid of disobedience that I become downright unfaithful.

Looking to the left and the right I see women doing all the things and way better than I can do them. Surely, they are being faithful, and me? I’m just no good at obedience.

Surely, their acts of faithfulness need to look the same as my acts of faithfulness and if I cannot do what they are doing then I must be a failure to God. He must not be pleased with me because I don’t look like them, act like them, and I most definitely will never be them.

Lies of disobedience loom so heavy and I lift my head up just enough to see that God has not left me, I have simply take my eyes off the message of Cross.

God knows our hearts, he knows how we tick, and He has perfectly created us to follow a path that only we can walk. When comparison tempts me into fearing disobedience I have forgotten this truth.

At the end of the Gospel of John, Peter is struggling with this same thing. He was very concerned why John’s call for his life was going to be different than his. Peter questioned Jesus about this difference and Jesus responded with this, “If I want him [John] to remain alive until I return, what is it to you? You must follow me.” (NIV John 14:22).

In my opinion Peter had a legitimate case, he looked over to John, back at himself, over to John, back at himself and said, “Wait, why do I have to give up my life for you but he doesn’t? Why does he get to die of old age and I have to suffer? I pick his call over mine, thank you.”
Peter, I feel you brother. Doesn’t sound “fair” to me either. But Jesus is not concerned with fairness. His ways are not our ways and his concerns are far higher than my comparison issues.

In this verse I hear these words, whispered soft but strong, “As for you? You must follow ME.”
“But God shouldn’t I do what they are doing? Isn’t that what following you looks like?”

“Daughter, what I’ve called you to I’ve called only YOU to. Follow me.”

Gulp.

I am not going to lie to you, this confuses me, it challenges me, and contradicts a lot of what the “experts” say. It makes no worldly sense that each of us has a unique call, a special and individual mission. Culturally it makes way more sense to fit each of us into a nicely packaged personality type, retirement plan, or life goals. But in a Godly sense? In a Holy Spirit, powerful enough to raise death to life sense, it makes all the sense in the world.

We should stay rest assured that God’s call upon us is unique to us and not at all neatly packaged. Our souls can find rest, peace, and comfort in not worrying if I am enough, doing enough, being obedient enough. When we align our prayers with God’s heart and we ask Him to not let us miss an opportunity to serve Him, then He will be faithful to answer that prayer. We won’t miss a thing when we seek Him earnestly.

Friends I come to you here today, broken in pieces because lately I have forgotten these truths. My boat drifted far from the shores of childlike faith and instead resembled fearful rowing in aimless directions.

Together may we take a deep breath.

May we welcome in His peaceful call to simply follow Him alone.

May we rest joy filled, knowing that when we look for Him in our lives He will be found.

May we stay focused and merciless on battling away cultural burdens that are not for us to carry.

May we be okay with the discomfort this brings and embrace the vulnerability that comes with trusting in only our Savior’s plans for us.

May we loosen our grip on all things “not us but them.”

May we feel okay with the temporary hole we will feel when we stop striving to be something we are not.

The Bible story of Jeremiah often grips me. Poor guy. The call on his life was to constantly be the bearer of bad news. I sit weepy with him imagining what that might have felt like and sit in amazement at his faithful obedience to being the only one doing what he was doing. The only one. This was the Lord’s encouragement to him:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (NIV Jeremiah 1:5)

Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us.

Before we were born God set us apart.

God appointed us to do His works.

Amen?

Amen.

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