I feel called to do certain things in this life. They are usually quite specific and probably not that interesting, so suffice it to say, I truly do feel that God asks things of me sometimes. I hope I haven’t scared anyone off already – I’m not talking about authoritative voices no one else can hear or prophetic visions (although, who am I to rule out such things?) but about feeling unusually convicted in my heart about something that might be as simple as, “Sarah, you should call Jane Smith.” I think this is a gift. I don’t know if everyone receives this gift or not, but it is pretty great that I don’t have to wonder about what I should be doing. Here’s the rub: The vast majority of the time, I don’t do these things. I harden my heart. I want to do them. I feel strongly pulled in that direction, but when the time comes to act, I feel like I just can’t.
It brings to mind Pharaoh’s repeated refusals to release the Israelites from Egypt. Scripture tells us that Pharaoh hardened his own heart a number of times and also that God hardened his heart. I think this is an important distinction. Why would God do such a thing? I can only guess, but if God knew Pharaoh’s heart and mind as intimately as only a creator could, knew Pharaoh would never act out of true and good conviction and saw that the only way to effect the release of the people and wider-spread knowledge of his power was to harden Pharaoh’s heart… well, that makes sense to me. So, at what point does God take me at my word? When does he finally say, “Okay – you’ve said no and you’ve said no. You’ve made it pretty clear that you aren’t interested in the work I’ve set before you.”?
I certainly don’t want that to happen. I want to give back. Why don’t I? I’m sure there’s lots of psychology there, but at least in part it’s vanity and power struggle. I want to be in control of my own life. Sounds ridiculous, but it burns me sometimes that no matter what I do, I am not my own master. But I didn’t make me, so whatever beauty and goodness I find there, whatever capacity for beauty and goodness I find there, I can only credit to the one who did.
I don’t have any fabulous pointers about overcoming these obstacles to obedience, but I needed to record these thoughts somewhere. If you DO happen to have pointers, by all means, comment! 🙂
God, please make me receptive to your Word and your sovereignty. Amen.