That was my word for the cruise retreat - obey. Hmmmph.
My first reaction is I don't want to obey. I want others to obey me. Okay, that probably has something to do with 20 years as a teacher.
My next reaction was to question whether I have obeyed, whether I am obeying by taking the position in the conference office. Did I take the easy way out? Or am I right where God wants me to be? Ponder. Worry. Go before Board of Ordained Ministry and try to convince them and myself this is where God and the Bishop have sent me.
Then I got busy doing my job and didn't think about it so much.
Then the whole go to Vietnam thing came up. In my small group last Saturday, one of my friends asked, "Do you want to go? You keep saying you have to go." I couldn't explain to her this sense of being compelled and whether I want to or not is irrelevant. It is indeed very exciting ....and scary.... to think about.
I realized this morning that whole concept of whether I want to being irrelevant is what "Obey" is all about. In the Prayer of Confession in the UMC Communion Liturgy, we find the words "free us for joyful obedience." Joyful obedience. That's what this letting go of all the reasons not to do something and just waiting to see how God will work it out feels like.
Because strict obedience was demanded in my childhood, I have never associated obedience with joy or freedom. Now I'm finding both. It is rather freeing to just be willing to go with what comes instead of orchestrating everything with very tight control. Isn't growing fun?
God of love, thank you for all you have and are revealing in my life. Give me courage to discover the joy and freedom of obedience. Amen.