Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Obedience is the reward.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve experienced the return of a habit I’ve missed since my head injury. Idea generation. That’s not so say that I haven’t had a creative thought in the last two years, but rather, I haven’t been inundated with them. Pre-injury, I always had pen and paper within arm’s reach so that I could capture random thoughts that might turn into something worth writing. Things like:

Growing discomfort in my comfort.

I’m not afraid of doing the hard thing, as long as I know it’s the right thing.

Obedience is the reward.

In fact, I started this blog last year as a way of trying to rekindle that habit. I still journal most every day, but sometimes thoughts seem bigger than a conversation between God and I. Or sometimes I just want to know that someone is listening—is anyone listening? And I think maybe I blog too, because writing my book taught me to be comfortable with vulnerability, and I’m no longer afraid to be known. Not to say I’m going to post all my deep dark secrets, but if you’ve read my book, you know that I’m willing to share myself as part of the process of walking with others through better knowing themselves. But I digress…

Idea generation…huge portions of my book were written in the middle of the night when I was awakened by inspiration. On my more obedient moments, I’d get out my warm bed, walk down the hall, turn on my computer, and type ‘til the thoughts ran out. Those next mornings, I’d wake up and usually be amazed by what I wrote. Other times, I’d lean over, grab my notepad and jot a few thoughts. Those next mornings, I usually looked at my scribbles and wonder what thought I had lost.

Lately, I’ve been having more of those thoughts. And since they’ve been slower in coming, I’ve been better about jotting them down. Which brings me back to this thought:

Obedience is the reward.

A lot of conversations I’ve had with friends lately have revolved around change. For good, bad or indifferent, life is filled with change and choice. Some changes we choose—where we live, who we date, who we marry, where we work, what we do with our time. And a lot of the choices that affect us are not made by us, but for us—a layoff, our health, a breakup. So often when changes occur that we didn’t choose, the temptation is to ask why: God, why did You let this happen? But God isn’t obligated to answer our whys and some of our questions will never be answered the way we’d like. Rather, I think, He wants us to ask what: God, what do you want me to learn from this? What do you want me to do about this revelation?

As I’m becoming more willing to know and be known, to love and be loved, I’m forced to face more of my less-than-positive traits. I can be moody. I can be selfish. I can be stubborn. I don’t like these things about me, but maybe we have two chances to choose. If I snap at someone, I choose to react to my emotion rather than respond in the way that is better. But beyond that initial choice, I have a secondary choice, to reconcile or retreat. I can choose to go back to that person and apologize, or I can pretend it didn’t happen. The challenge in my life has come from my most recent encounters with God.

As a Christian, I am God’s ambassador. He has given me the responsibility of representing Him to those who don’t yet know Him. My life calling is to live in such a way that others are compelled to know Him as a result of my example. Too often, I suspect, my actions repel them from Him. So, as God reveals aspects of myself that do not reflect His nature, I have a choice. I can take the world’s “feel-good” route, and say, “I’m independent. That’s the way I am, so I’m going to embrace it. It doesn’t matter that God calls us to interdependence. Independence is more natural, so that’s what I’m going to pursue.” On the other hand, I can be humbled by humanity and submit to God’s superiority. I can come to Him broken and ask Him to bring people into my life to help me learn what isn’t natural, but is necessary. I can look for other who excel in this area and ask them to hold me accountable. I can choose the hard thing because it is the right thing. And even though I might not get any awards or accolades for doing it, I get the best prize of all, my Savior’s smile.

Obedience is the reward.


Kristine said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one whose creative Muse seems to be in a completely different time zone from her physical self! Next time I get up at midnight or 1 am to write, Jen, I'll think of you doing the same!

And yes, we're listening. :)

Jen said...

lol...thanks, Kristine! I'll get back to you about FFW...I'm not sure when my presenation is yet!