obedience over sacrifice

obedience over sacrifice

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in reflecting on monday’s scripture readings from the Book of Samuel and the Gospel of Mark, i am met with the reflection from Anawim Way, that “What God wants above all is obedience.”

this meditation talks about the dual life we sometimes try so hard to live. just like Saul who tried to have the best of both worlds, as do we sometimes do the same. i always hear the saying, “in this world, but not of this world.” but let’s face it and be honest, we may act as followers of Christ and lovers of God, but at the same time, we try to “preserve” and then even “justify” some of the unhealthy behaviors or habits that we find ourselves wrapped up in. what is that?

i, for one, am totally guilty.

for instance, sometimes the temporary, more attractive things seem to be easier to handle, than to do things like, reflect, and contemplate and meditate, and then journal and pray. why? well, i would argue that the latter is pretty emotionally exhausting (but the best), and depending on the context in which you live (especially as a missioner or volunteer overseas in a sometimes overwhelming environment), there is just not enough energy for that “processing” time. sometimes we are just trying to get through the day. ironically, i have had this conversation more than two times in the past week. processing all the little moments and going deep into the core of “feelings” from the day is pretty tiresome. but oh, so essential!! BUT, tiresome. it does take a lot of energy!

after going at what seems to be like 90 mph for the past month, being on vacation was actually pretty tiring and exhausting. lots of processing, lots of running around – and now my body, mind, and heart are trying to recuperate themselves with some healthy downtime. silence had never been such a strong craving of mine. or the sound of the waves crashing. that would be nice too. 🙂

the meditation for this day ends with, “Let us ask Him for the grace this day to see what things we may be holding onto which are hindering our new life with him, and remove these things from our lives.”

and lastly, “In what ways do I straddle the fence, trying to follow both the way of Christ and the way of the world at the same time? Is my obedience from my heart, or do I only perform outwardly what I think is required?”

that word, “obedience” is kinda scary a little because sometimes obedience does require sacrifice and denying self, but also, God allows us and wants us to still maintain self and embrace our own Belovedness in His eyes…including His dream and desire for us. in a way, i suppose we pray to be obedient to the Lord’s will, which is a will that is good and full of grace. given that reality where we are asked to be obedient to God who has the best in mind for us…i ask myself, how could i not want to be obedient? well, control and personal plans may sometimes take control and overshadow that wondrous dream for us.

of course, there is the battle between flesh and spirit, but to God, He is right there giving us the strength to choose Life and goodness. i suppose God does give us all the tools and “outs” we need to make the right decisions and He certainly helps us discern the best choices.  i look to Jesus and think about all the trials that he experienced – how he was probably super emotionally exhausted from healing person after person, curing leper after leper, and going from place to place preaching the Good News. but He still kept going – disregarding worldliness, and keeping his priorities straight. yeah, i’m sure women were head over heels gushing over this man, but He kept going, keeping on. being in this world, but not of this world. he was on a whole ‘nother level.

i wanna be there too. but from what i have learned and experienced so far, bold prayers are usually followed by some bold answers and fierce requests, wrapped in love. the question is, are you [we] ready? sacrifice is involved, and ache, pain, and suffering, but peace comes when we can look at Jesus, when we can look at the cross, and take strength in our solidarity with Him. with the truth that Jesus experienced it all, holistically to the point of ultimate sacrifice for love, the Sacred Heart will provide and bring us out of the way of the world, and into the way of Jesus. that’s a pretty cool thing. no need for fences.

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