Have you ever seen You've Got Mail? Do you remember the part where Tom Hanks is giving Meg Ryan advice about her business? He cracks his fingers, blows and rubs his hands together, and then shoots his finger in the air like a missile as he begins to tell her to "Go to the mattresses."
I feel as if I should do that every time I start writing. It seems appropriate.
I was never a rebellious child, I have always abhorred getting into trouble and for the most part did everything possible to avoid it. But for some reason, this past year, I have reverted into the thirteen year old caveat of my brain and chosen to snub any sort of advice from other people unless I asked for it, and even then, it depended on how much I liked what you said.
My mom had this Mary Englebright shirt when I was growing up which said, "I'm the mother, that's why." She wore it more for the sake of my bull-headed siblings then she did for me, but regardless, I always feel as if that's been the reasoning behind my Christianity. I did it because people said to do it. And I hated getting in trouble.
Thus, this year when everything changed, I began to tell the "I told you so" kind of Christianity to suck it. Part of the reason I started writing on my blog was so I would have a place to air out musings as I have been overhauling how I think about things. My mom says that I'm in a place of life where the concrete is becoming the abstract, which raises lots of legitimate questions.
One of those big ole' questions that's been creeping around in my head for months was about obedience. In this new-found abstract way of thinking I saw absolutely no appeal to the word. It sounded legalistic, forced, boring, and vomitous (as in, made me want to vomit, and yes, it is now a word). Still kinda does.
Last week I had a late morning at work. Meaning I got to sleep in until 7 (whooooop!!) and then start the morning at Starbucks with my Momma. I had a quick minute, and I've been reading through Hebrews, so I picked up there. I've completely enamored with the way the author explains the "why" behind these Jewish-Christians conversions. He completely roots out the history of how the old system and way of life wasn't enough. It didn't work, thus their need for a new system (Jesus) to come and fulfill it.
That morning specifically I was reading Hebrews 5. Almost immediately after beginning reading, I got a swift kick in the pants.
[Jesus] who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (vs. 7-9)
Basically. The point of obedience is believing in the greater purpose, despite our circumstances. The cogs and sprockets started clicking in my head as it started to make sense.
I'm the type of person where if I don't see the point in doing something, I'm either not going to do it, or I'm going to put in little effort. I'm selfish that way. So that translated into my screwing over a lot of what people said to do, because I didn't know why I should do it, and mostly, didn't care to find out.
It was freeing to find that the whole point wasn't this nasty, rulesy, task that I was to accomplish because God said so. My obedience is based out of my belief in His goodness at the end of the day. It's choosing to see that He has greater purposes behind medial tasks.
***Side note: let me admit a little idiosyncrasy about myself. I have an EXTREMELY hard time spitting out Christian phrases I've heard my entire life, regardless of the matter-of-factness of what they say. So forgive me for being vague. In my frailty I still have a very legalistic and negative connotation on ideas like going to church, reading my bible, and prayer. It's not inherently the actions of these things that bother me, just some mentalities I hold behind them. To most of y'all I know it seems stupid that those phrases hold weight to me, but they do. God's redeeming me slowly.
Anyway....I don't know if that really makes sense to y'all but it shed some serious wattage on something I didn't get. It gave me some purpose and reason that I desperately needed. I revel in the freedom that settles in when God shows me this kind of Truth. When I'm not forcing myself to believe something that doesn't really sound right or full to me, but allowed to rest in knowing something deeply.
I haven't gotten to really wallow in this yet, but I didn't want to forget to share it with y'all either. It was just kinda cool.