Loving Obedience: Our Relationship with God

In the middle of praying, I noticed that my rosary broke. I wasn’t doing anything that would cause this to happen and I felt unsettled seeing the broken beads which are privy to so many of my sacred prayers. Even more disturbing was realizing that the fruit of the mystery for the decade I was praying was obedience.

Was God trying to tell me something? Am I so disobedient that my rosary spontaneously separated? Was a swarm of locusts – or worse, palmetto bugs, about to descend on me?!

When I told my husband what happened, his response was, “well, you don’t like to be told what to do.” I wanted to point out how brave he was for sharing his insight but then I decided he was giving me a compliment. (That’s what I sometimes do when I am annoyed by something someone says I decide it must somehow be a compliment and then I am happy again). Besides who likes to be told what to do?

For many years, I confused obedience with people-pleasing. I don’t know if I seem particularly inept but people often seem to have a need to tell me what to do or how I should do something. Because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, I tried to comply. Of course, this never ended well. I became resentful or pulled away from anyone who I considered overbearing. This wasn’t good for me or the well-meaning bossy britches in my life so I had to quit people-pleasing and just let those who want me to make different choices think what they want. Everyone does anyway.

However fraught our human relationships may be, it’s different with God.  Obedience to him isn’t something that should make us bristle. He trusts us enough to give us free will. He isn’t going to force anything on us because he knows love doesn’t force. It doesn’t control and it doesn’t dictate. When you think how much God loves you and wants only good for you, being obedient doesn’t feel restraining. It’s what really allows us to live in freedom. I know having rules doesn’t sound as much fun as not having any but God’s commandments protect us from the bondage of sin which is heavy and hard and full of hurt that often spreads to the people we love. There is nothing freeing about that.

There are many reasons to obey God: it’s a form of worship, demonstration of faith, it keeps us from sin, and allows us to experience the blessings of holy living. But of all the reasons, love is what keeps my sometimes rebellious heart in line. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” (John 14:15). At the core of my being, I love God. That love doesn’t make me think of obedience or rules or righteousness. It just makes me not want to hurt someone who l love.

My husband is right, I don’t like to be told what to do. I don’t ever want to go back to being a slave to people-pleasing. I try to obey God not because I am scared of broken rosaries or swarms of locusts but because I love. And there is nothing more freeing than that.

Hi ~ It’s funny how reframing anything with love somehow makes it better.  Speaking of love, I will be at San Marco Books and More (1971 San Marco Blvd) this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a book signing and I would love to see you! If you can, please pop in and say hi!

A horse showed up at my last book signing so I’m thinking maybe something magical like a unicorn will be there this Saturday! (True story, in the sixth grade, I went to the now politically incorrect Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus and saw a unicorn, and when I went back to school and told everyone no one believed me. They said that unicorns weren’t real! I thought this was a terrible thing to say to an eleven-year-old me. Anyway, I can’t promise any unicorns Saturday but I know if you come it will be magical anyway!)

 

3 thoughts on “Loving Obedience: Our Relationship with God

  • September 15, 2021 at 10:29 am
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    So very happy to have met you last month at the Luncheons For Life in Marywood. I am enjoying your book and have just completed the first half. I love your personal references to each of the works. I look forward to finishing the book and hope to see you at Assumption! Peace be with you!

    Reply
  • September 14, 2021 at 1:07 pm
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    THANK YOU LARA FOR THESE ENCOURAGING WORDS. I TRULY ENJOYED HEARING YOU GENTLY SPEAK ALSO AT MARYWOOD.
    CONTINUE TO SHARE YOUR HEART, IT HELPS US TO GROW (AND MAYBE YOU ALSO).
    IF I CAN, AT SOME POINT I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU COME TO OUR LADIES BIBLE STUDY TO SHARE YOUR HEART AND YOUR BOOK ON MERC Y . PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL ME, MARCIA
    (904) 362-1281

    Reply
    • September 15, 2021 at 2:43 pm
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      Absolutely! I would love that, Marcia!

      Reply

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