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The Cost of Listening and Obeying

Are you willing to listen and obey, even when it’s not what you want?

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I felt it placed on my heart as if Jesus were standing next to me whispering it in my ear.

“Do you hear me?”

I literally looked up at the ceiling and said, “Heard, Lord.”

I got the message. An issue I was struggling with suddenly became clear. I was reading in scripture about David. His situation, while different from the one I was struggling with, was incredibly pertinent to my own. I knew the Holy Spirit had led me to the answer.

That moment linked to another where I realized that I don’t always hear the Lord. Like Peter (in the book of Matthew) during the Transfiguration of Jesus (something I referenced in this post), sometimes I only listen to bits and pieces before I’m up and running, forging plans of my own. Too often I don’t fully hear what it is God is saying to me.

Just recently was a painful example of that in my own life. I professed with bold words that I would not only hear, but I would obey, and obey quickly, something the Lord was calling me to. He was leading me into something far greater than myself, something that was scary and exciting and life-changing in every way. I was being asked to give up much and walk away from things I hold dear in the name of serving Him. Terrifying? For sure, but I had faith that could move mountains and fully trusted Him to take care of me.

I was ready and willing.

And then plans changed dramatically. No longer was I being asked to give up life as I knew it. Instead, I was being asked to trust my husband’s judgment, even though I didn’t agree. In a 180-degree turn of events, I was being asked — commanded — to shift my thinking and respect the decision my husband made for the good of our family, even though I was staunchly opposed. If I’m being honest, it was much easier for me to give up much and change my life completely than it was to obey my husband’s directive and honor his position as leader of our family.

I battled internally for days, fighting to maintain respect while trying to reconcile my feelings of decension with what I knew I was called to do as the wife. One evening, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me a question:

“Will you really obey me and obey Me quickly, no matter what I ask, or is it only when you agree and want to?”

I was stopped in my tracks. I had been so proud of myself for being willing to give up much in the name of serving Him that I missed the obvious: I was only so willing because I wanted to do what was being asked. It didn’t bump into my own agenda. Now, however, I had to die to my own will and submit to my husband’s. It was then, at that moment of figuratively looking in the mirror, that I realized obedience is not only about obeying when we want to, it’s also when we go forth regardless of everything inside of us wanting to fight against it.

I remembered Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night He was arrested. He wanted to be free of the calling on His life. The calling that required He gave His own life for others’. He asked that God would remove that cup from Him, but God didn’t. He walked forward bravely and boldly with a faith that I can only pray for and did the thing He didn’t want to do.

As I came face to face with my own hypocrisy, I whispered to God, “Yes, I will obey you.” I apologized to my husband and felt comfort in knowing that I was honoring not only him, but also the Lord with my actions. I trusted God to work it out and realized that my obedience is asked of me regardless of how I feel about it, regardless of what anyone else does, and regardless of whether or not I want to obey.

“I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” Psalm 19:60

Mandy is wife to Joe and mom to 6 children ages 2 to 9 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and was pursuing a master's in elementary education when baby number 6 threw a monkey wrench in her carefully laid-out plans. So instead of teaching a classroom of children, God pressed on her heart to homeschool her oldest three, act as the coordinator for her local MOPS, and blog her heart out at Suburban Stereotype, Deliberate Women, and The Time-Warp Wife. Mandy feels compelled to live a life of faith in God with boldness and diligence and encourages other women to do the same. She and her family live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they juggle soccer schedules, teach Sunday school at their church, and try to squeeze every moment out of the day. Find Mandy on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Cost of Listening and Obeying

by Mandy Pagano time to read: 3 min