I remember quite a few details from my childhood, and many of them put me in a pretty bad light. I remember so often obeying my parents outwardly, but with a very defiant inward attitude. I remember following all the rules when adults were around to see me, but doing my own thing when no one was there to hold me accountable. I remember very clearly telling God no when I sensed Him asking me to do something. And I remember very clearly telling God that I would do what I wanted despite knowing he was saying no. These things are all blaring signs of the very hard heart I had. These memories also play a strong role in urging me in my adult life to say yes to God and to obey what He lays on my heart. Those days and years of saying no to God were very unhappy and uncomfortable ones that I do not want to repeat!
It is interesting to me that I rarely rebelled outwardly to my parents or other adults in authority. I was afraid of the consequences, and I liked "looking good" in the eyes of the world. But I found it so easy to directly tell God that I was going to do things my way, even though I knew without a doubt what He wanted me to do. I think that wanting to look "good" or "normal" to the people around me is still a struggle for me. But I'm daily striving to keep it from controlling my choices any longer. I'd much rather be weird for God than focused on following others expectations of how I am to live my life.
Here is what God has been laying on my heart recently, and it requires some obedience that is likely to be a little uncomfortable.
Luke 12:32-34 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
With this passage, some things have been clear to me. One of my possessions that God has asked me to get rid of is my car. My first response was, "Seriously God? That is my key to partial sanity when my kids and I are going crazy being cooped up in the house together!" But now I'm saying yes to God and goodbye to my car. The rest God and I are working on and I have a lot of questions for Him. "Do you really want me to sell these things God? Or is it okay if I just give things away? Selling things takes so much time and effort." I am also not sure how this verse applies to my kids' abundance of things. Should I be selling some of their belongings, or waiting for God to touch their hearts with a desire to give? I've been praying about these things and waiting for clear answers from God. But I wonder, has He already given me a clear answer and I'm just not listening well? Am I being disobedient by taking time to respond?
Here is a passage that stood out to me this evening while doing devotions with my daughter. Matthew 21:28-31 (Jesus said) "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?" 'The first,' they (the chief priests and elders of the temple) answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."
I'm done telling God no; I also want to be sure I'm not the daughter that says "I will" but doesn't follow through.