Yesterday I found out there is a new birding store opening nearby, and the call is out for a part-time Manager. If you know me at all, you know this makes my eyes light up and my feet start doing their clumsy, albeit joyful Happy Dance. Doing something I love and getting paid for it? I guess I could suffer through that!
So as the day progressed, I eagerly made time to sit down and read the fine print...what would be required, duties, etc. I was moving along at high speed, checking off each requirement with an I can do that! until I got to the one that stopped me short. The one that always stops me short. The one that has caused me to be passed over before: Must be available to work weekends. NOOOO!!!!
And thus began the mind game I play oh-so-well with myself and God. Gosh, I'm sure I'd win if He would just once not play with me!
Me: Well, that's interesting. I wonder if it means Saturday AND Sunday?
God: That is the weekend.
Me: Well, maybe they mean after noon on Sunday. I mean really, we are in the South. And going to church is a given here.
God: Does that make a difference?
Me: But. But. But.
End of conversation. I'm sure He would have been willing to carry it further but I've had this conversation so many times that I already know how it will end. It all boils down to this one request He asked of me many, many years ago...
Honor Me by giving Me Sunday. Through it I will bless you and others.
And you know, it wasn't hard back then! I was too busy raising a family to care about working on a Sunday. I gladly welcomed a day of rest...a day with God and family. Such a gift!
When did I stop seeing it as a gift?
When our kids were little and we were homeschooling, I was still a new Christian. So what I taught them was basically what God was teaching me. It killed two birds with one stone! Ouch, did I actually say that??
One of my favorite teachings was about how so often God puts fences and limits in our lives for our own good, whether or not we understand them. We just have to trust that He does. All we are charged with is obedience to Him.
And you know, it sounded so easy and simple back then. But it's gotten a little harder as I've gotten older and the lines have become more faded. At such a time as this, when all that is good and right and just is up for grabs in not only the culture at large, but also in Christianity, it takes the strength of Samson to let go and trust God that Yes, He does know what He's doing.
I remember specifically one time I was struggling with feeling left out and alone in a choice I had to make. Others were doing what I wanted to do and I wasn't seeing any lightning bolts descending from Heaven to zap them. I began sobbing and screaming at God. I do that in case you didn't know.
Why? Why do I have to do what You say? I'm tired of being on the outside looking in. Sob. Sob. Scream. Scream. Slight shaking of fist in the air.
Because You love Me and Honor Me.
And that was that.
I had to become like a child who chooses to trust his parents even when they say No to something that all his friends are doing.
Convictions are HARD. They cost us something. Sometimes they cost you a job. Or a friend. Or for many people around the world, their lives.
I received a text from our daughter the other day and my heart broke.
She had been getting to know this young man for quite some time now and they had just spent the day together hiking and playing disc golf at a nearby park. And talking...about things that need to be talked about if there is ever to be a meeting of the minds and Spirit in any kind of future relationship.
And that was the beginning of the end. What he believed about certain issues stood opposed to what she believes. And at that point she had to choose. And choosing so often looks like being alone. And never finding a job. And being on the outside looking in.
Oh my dear, I understand your pain. But as you honor God with what He has shown you, He will honor you. Loneliness and Fear will always tempt us to compromise I wanted to add, as I knew only too well.
But she stood firm...in love...expressing to him why she believed what she believed. And why they could not build a foundation together because of it.
And I am so very, very proud of her for I know the price she is paying to do this. I know with all that is within me, that God is honoring her. It may not feel like that now, but He is.
And this leads me back to the job I thought I would love. Yes, I would love it. And I believe I'd be good at it. But if I have to compromise to get it, the price will be too high.
For I must love God more and obey Him...no matter the cost.
What does that look like in your life? I don't know what you're facing. But I do know that He promises that those who walk uprightly before Him will lack no good thing.
And that's good enough for me. And I pray it is also enough for my daughter. And for you.
In the meantime, I will keep on trusting and seeking to obey...no matter how hard it is.
Because I believe with all my heart that we bring joy to our Heavenly Father through our obedience. He loves you dearly for it and I can only imagine Him saying, with a smile on His face, 'That's my child!'
photo credit: Patricia Mellin <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45287220@N03/8473199538">Happy Valentine´s Day!</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>