I’ll tell you what: I am not a fan of this whole one-word thingy.
Because for the second time now, I do.not.like the word that came. (previous experience – 2012; word? w a i t i n g)
Okay, so I asked. Both times.
And each time, the word is hard, complex, puzzling.
Obedient? REALLY? This argumentative, rebellious, pushy, bossy heart?
Uh. . . that would be a YES. A great, big, gnarly YES.
But here’s a sweet and interesting piece to this story. Immediately after dropping that doozy of a word into my conscious mind, the Holy Spirit began to sing to me. Yes, you read that right.
Not actual music-music, but a sweetness, a lightness, an invitation, a softening of the shock of knowing that ‘obedient’ is the word for 2014.
“Let’s look at this word in a new way, Diana,” the song seemed to say.
And I was reminded of the only sermon I ever preached on the topic of obedience, coming out of Hebrews 5, where we’re told that Jesus ‘learned’ obedience. The incarnate Son of God, just like the rest of us frail human creatures, had to learn what it means to be obedient. And yes, he learned through his suffering.
And I’m not terribly fond of that whole concept, you know?
But as I wrestled with that text, I did it in the context of . . . wait for it! . . . bird-watching. I sat in my backyard and I watched the birds that flit and float and hover around us here in central California.
And I realized something. The birds do what comes naturally — they are being birds, with their whole hearts (if birds can be said to have hearts).
Birds are obedient to who they are.
And so was Jesus.
And I believe that I am invited to re-consider that word in that context: to be obedient to who I am, who it is God has called and formed me to be. To be true to my gifts, to be open to the Spirit, to discover more and more about what God is whispering into my life.
Yes, that may involve suffering of a sort — occasional discomfort, maybe even downright fear, probably a lot of truth-telling.
Toward the end of last year, I began to sense an invitation to re-think this blogging space. I’m still mulling on that and hope to soon have another post or two about where I’m headed in 2014.
Maybe it will involve things like this: wrestling with hard things, searching for answers, learning to sit with the mystery when answers aren’t easy to find, maybe even speaking the teensiest bit prophetically?
Are you sure about this, Lord?
Tune in next week. I hope to have more details for you then . . .