The Obedient Override

When we were little kids, my dad used to sing us a bedtime song.  He would pull out his guitar and sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” and we thought he was a rock star.

As I became a teenager, he would remind me it was time to get to bed and I would instead find ways to avoid going to sleep, earning the nickname, “Fussbudget”.  It became such a nightly joke that my new bedtime melody was to the tune of the old song “M-o-t-h-e-r” (only he would spell out F-u-s-s-b-u-d-g-e-t.)

Meg: (at 10:50 pm) “Just a second, Dad! I am almost done. I just have to pick out what I am going to wear for tomorrow!” 

Dad: (singing in the background down the hall)…F is for the FUSSBUDGET that she is.…”

At least my father was gentle with me in letting me know I was being disobedient. When I woke up at 5:30 am for school exhausted every day, I should have put together that there would have been a blessing in being obedient to my parents, like getting the sleep they knew I needed.

Let’s take obedience to the same tune of my “Mother/Fussbudget” song so we can see why the concept of this great virtue deserves a moment of your time today (even more important than picking out what you are going to wear.)

O is for OMG and Observe Others Less…

Oh my gosh, these people don’t know what they are doing. Why do they do that?

Reality TV shows are at the height of popularity.  Why? We love to observe others, and  be annoyed with why people make the decisions they do.  We love to question other’s judgement because it distracts us from our own mistakes and failings.  You gotta hand it to the enemy; if you wanted to create division within humanity and kill off love for mankind, just feed the people a steady diet of annoying human interactions.  We can gawk and laugh at the ridiculous in other’s lives and not pay attention to our own. That’s easier isn’t it?

What is really hard is being on the other side of this when you have to make complicated decisions about your own life, and you find out that others question your decision when they only have a tiny piece of the puzzle.  I have been guilty of this as well. I am working hard to respect other’s decisions without my input or questioning, and not getting concerned when they question me. It isn’t like apathy where we just don’t care, it’s more of giving the other the benefit of the doubt.

All of this boils down to the concept of obedience because when we keep ourselves focused on loving God and each other, we don’t have time to be nosy or annoyed with other’s decisions. 

We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. –2 Thes 3:11

B is for BORING! 

Let’s be honest, we say the word “obedience” and people either repel or yawn. In this culture of immediate gratification, eat what I want, play what I want, do what I want, when I want, how I want and as much as I want, the idea of doing what someone else wants for you (God) has earned a reputation of being boring. True? I am here to tell you being obedient is anything but boring, especially in this day and age.  The reason obedience isn’t boring? It’s the most challenging thing you will ever try to do because it takes prayer, grace, effort, vigilance and stamina. Not the modern mindset; not for sissies, not boring.  Maybe not always fun, but definitely not boring.

Blessings for Obedience. Now, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord, your God, carefully observing all his commandments which I give you today, the Lord, your God, will set you high above all the nations of the earth.–Deut 28:1

E is for Even Better Than YOU Thought! 

My daughter wanted her ballet career to go a certain way. A year ago, she shared her hopes and dreams with me and we thought they were practically insurmountable but that didn’t deter her.  Yesterday on the way to dance, we had a conversation in the car that reviewed what she had wanted for herself a year ago and what had actually happened over the past year. We talked about the way she had been intentional about inviting God along on her path, handed over some disappointments to Him and kept returning to Him for guidance.  We then recognized how the road that He led her down got her beyond her own “destination” and way ahead in ways neither of us could have imagined. Be obedient to HIS will for your life. He has better ideas than we do because, well, He is perfect. We are not.

Blessings of Obedience. As your reward for heeding these ordinances and keeping them carefully, the Lord, your God, will keep with you the covenant mercy he promised on oath to your ancestors.–Deut 7:12

D is for Deference

Deference; to be yielding.

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Here is what happened this week in a nutshell.  Something I was so excited about started to turn in a different direction.  I started to react quickly (I have one of those temperaments) and began to make a plan to counteract the situation.  Just before I sent the text, emails and phone calls I was going to use in my “attack” mode, I caught myself and stopped. I prayed and I waited.  Hoo-boy, am I glad I did!

Hey, I think this may be a test!?

You have to understand, I don’t normally think this way but have been asking the Holy Spirit to protect me from the snares of the enemy lately. He did! Suddenly I remembered the words in Luke describing Our Lady, Mary, the Mother of God. How “she pondered” (Luke 1:29, 2:19). She didn’t react; she pondered.

Blessed Mother, help me to ponder and trust as you did when you became the first Christian, believing that God was bringing forth His Son into the world and you were the chosen tabernacle. 


The Virgin in Prayer by Sassoferrato

In the end of my week, I found out that the thing that I assumed was “ruining” my plan was not what I thought.  Thank you God, for always answering my request for protection.

I is for ME!

We are the drivers of our own cars. By that, I mean some level of self-navigating (control) is required in our lives. We are participating in this journey, after all, but we just have to remember that the Holy Spirit is our GPS.

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I don’t know about you, but I am notorious for NOT trusting my GPS. Trying to navigate busy traffic downtown every day at rush hour, I will tell my passenger-daughter “Check Waze! Check Google maps! Are they saying the same thing?” And then I will take a totally different road thinking I know best. I land myself in traffic every time as she says “Oh Mom, you know you should just follow the GPS.”

In the end, we make an idol of ourselves and our own knowledge when we constantly override authority. We think we know better than others and we put our sense of knowledge above trust in the Lord. Pride. Pride. Pride.

Lord, help me to remember to make acts of trust throughout the day, knowing that YOU are Lord. I am not. Jesus, I trust in you. 

The Reward of Obedience. Do not make idols for yourselves. You shall not erect a carved image or a sacred stone for yourselves, nor shall you set up a carved stone for worship in your land; for I, the Lord, am your God. –Leviticus 26:1 

E is for EVEN YOUR SUPERVISOR (parent, teacher, anyone in authority over you)

If you thought obedience was tricky, just wait. Here is the kicker: authority is placed in our lives, divinely. You can be sure that when you say your prayers and ask God for His protection in your life, He will use even that unfair situation to work things out for YOUR benefit.

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God can use someone who doesn’t even believe in Him because YOU believe in Him, and that is how powerful He is. He does not need cooperation from every person in your life to do His own mighty will, but just your obedience and the faith of a mustard seed.  That way, you know for certain it had to be God when it all works out better than you thought. If you already have a great supervisor who loves you and promotes you and is wonderful to you, that’s great. But where does God show up in that equation? You and I know that He gave you that situation as a gift, but the world would not see anything special or any supernatural glory there. God wants to show up for His beloved and we hope you shine as a light to the witnesses around you, looking for hope in the dark world.

Not only that, but in the meantime you were sanctified and grew in trust, faith and hope while you waited on the Lord.

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Obedience to Authority. Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.–Romans 13:1

N is for Necessities and Provision 

When we came into the world as infants, we didn’t get to check our parent’s qualifications. Yet, somehow, we grew up. Someone fed us, changed us, and here we are. The point is that at some point in your life, you weren’t boss of it all; you were completely dependent on someone. It’s okay to not be boss for five minutes of your own life even now. You had to do it before and it worked out just fine. Just make sure God the boss, and you can’t go wrong.

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Oh if you want to see someone become uncomfortable, just say the word commandments.  I think even if most people can convince themselves that there isn’t an enemy after their soul, they can hardly reject the ten commandments.  Some like to say they are outdated, but I challenge that reader to meditate five minutes on any of them and see what happens.  Perhaps never before have these protective guidelines carried so much relevance and timeliness. Never before have some of the atrocities and violence of the past century or two taken over the world with such randomness and meaningless vigor. But we do not need to be afraid. What we need is to heed the structure God made to protect us from the storm. Why stand outside in the rain and complain about getting wet? Go in the house!! The commandments are our shelter and keep us from danger. Look to God as your Loving Father and when you are His child, you will understand the need for obedience.

Blessings for Obedience. Now, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord, your God, carefully observing all his commandments which I give you today, the Lord, your God, will set you high above all the nations of the earth.–Deut 28:1

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E is for Obedience in Everything

Watching recent videos of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, one person had climbed to the top floor of their house where they proceeded to show the storm surge roughly slap and sway at the windows below. Had they left one window cracked, the surge surely would have broken the window by force and overtaken the house. Just as we would prepare for a hurricane, we must remember that not obeying in one tiny area of our lives is that cracked window. We aren’t perfect. We are going to struggle, but certainly doing our best to be vigilant against the areas of weakness in our lives is going to do more to stave the floods of danger from sneaking it and taking us over because we thought we had it under control, and didn’t need to listen to the commands of God, our Creator. Check the weaknesses in your life in the same the way you would lock up your own windows before a storm.

Obedience. Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.–1 Peter 1:13

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