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Listening Obedience

“Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:24).

For years now, I have kept a journal of my spiritual journey with God. In it I record what I’m learning from the Bible, what I’m learning from others and all sorts of prayers. It’s a place I go to get my heart out with him, to face my fears, share my joys, deal with my messy emotions and celebrate successes. It’s like a written account of doing life with God.

Recently, I went back over my old journals. It was fascinating. There were many answered prayers, many requests that God fulfilled. There were prophecies, some of which came true and some of which are still in the waiting. There were things I thought I’d received from God that didn’t actually pan out. But what really jumped out at me were two clear patterns:

1. I love God

2. I love doing things my own way

I can hear the passion in my pen as I shared the deep joy, the overwhelming gratitude of what it means to be God’s child. The peace that passes understanding, and the profound life lessons he’s given me leapt from the pages. God has blessed me so much, and I am humbled by it. Our love for each other is clear.

Yet I’d be lying if I didn’t mention #2. I read back and saw the times God clearly told me no…but I moved forward anyway. The times he asked me to be cautious, yet I ran recklessly ahead. The constant reiteration of lessons I should have long learned by now but can still struggle with.

I immediately thought of that scripture that says, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Hebrews 5:12). Talk about a whole different kind of humbling!

As I read those journals, the lesson crystalized. Every time I chose to twist and wriggle my way out of what God was asking of me, it led to hurt. To disappointment and pain. And sometimes, it hurt others. Those are the choices that grew to become regrets.

Now, God being God, he was able to use each and every wrong choice to teach me and help me grow, as only he can do. But how much energy and time I’ve wasted in this mistaken belief that I can somehow do better than the Lord God Almighty! How much hurt I could’ve avoid