It's always the 'one more thing', isn't it?
I'm going along just fine, listening as best I can to the leading of the Holy Spirit, spending time in prayer and my bible each day, making time for fellowship, staying aware of my schedule, and then - BAM.
In a flash, the excitement of being included, or the stress of a financial hit, or fear of illness or injury, or strain of a relationship completely blindsides me. I act impulsively or instinctually, and the next thing I know - the peace in my heart is gone. I'm exhausted, weary, emotional, uptight, anxious, and depressed.
It used to take me days, even weeks to put my finger on what went wrong. These days though, I've allowed the Holy Spirit to speak so loudly into my life that sometimes its within a day or even hours that I feel the gentle tug on my heart reminding me that I moved without seeking Jesus and His Best for me.
Today's readings about obedience can seem overwhelming, especially to a newer Christian, or an exhausted Christian, or a Christian who feels like they've 'tried everything' but peace remains elusive. Here's what I've learned: if peace remains elusive, It's usually because I know what I'm supposed to do,, but it feels more scary to do it than not do it.
I've learned that when I can't figure out where I'm out of step, I need only listen to my own body. When I think about giving up that 'thing' and I experience a tightness in my chest of 'oh heck no'. When someone makes a loving suggestion that involves change and I immediately argue or explain why that won't work. When I read something about healthy changes and my response is defensive - these are all indicators to me that the Holy Spirit is trying to get my attention but my natural self (sinful self) is rebelling.
Saying 'no' to that opportunity... Saying 'yes' to making healthy changes... Asking for help and being vulnerable... Taking time away from toxic relationships... Making time for fellowship with people of Jesus... (Can you think of one?)
When my peace is in short supply, the most effective way of finding it again seems to be to step back and ask Jesus where I'm out of step with Him - and then asking for His grace to give me the strength to make necessary adjustments.
We have the Holy Spirit - we don't have to 'grit our teeth' and 'dig deep' to make ourselves obedient. (Could be why I'm so tired, because I'm trying to do it all on my own.)
Doing what Jesus calls us to do is about surrendering - recognizing our own inability to change our own hearts, asking the Holy Spirit to fill us with grace to be obedient, confessing our own blocks (control, fear, anger, etc) and then asking for wisdom and truth in moving forward.
And listen, it can be a process! Years ago, I was given a prayer that went like this - Lord, please give me the grace to be willing to be willing.' That's not a typo - sometimes the best we can do is to pray that our heart will be willing to experience a change in heart!
I'm praying for you today that the Holy Spirit would move in your heart, especially if you are lacking peace, so that you can get back in step with Jesus (into obedience) and relax into His love and the balance He offers.
Follow along on today's devotional readings here at She Reads Truth - Obedience