“Go near and hear all that the Lord our God says; then speak to us all that the Lord our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.” – Deuteronomy 5:27
The word obedient, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, means “submissive to the restraint or command of authority: willing to obey.” I grew up being encouraged to be a free thinker and leader and to respect authority. By the time I was a teenager, this motto was ingrained in my brain, except that it was hard to obey when I thought I had a better plan than the one the authority in place had.
Even when my idea wasn’t the better one, it didn’t bother me to work extra hard to accomplish my goal because it was my plan, not somebody else’s. I was willing to go the extra mile to prove that my plans worked better. I knew I had to obey authority, and I did when I needed to, but in the back of my mind, I thought that my plans were always better, even when I started struggling with not knowing my purpose in life.
I was a young professional with a great job but didn’t have a feeling of peace. I didn’t understand the sense of emptiness because I was following my plan for my life. I was my own boss. I thought that would be sufficient for me. But after surrendering my life to Jesus, He became my Lord and Savior. For the first time in my life, I understood that being obedient to God would require me to trust that His plan is always the best one, without a doubt.
That part wasn’t easy at the beginning of my walk with the Lord. When my children were young, I wanted to return to my career. Through prayer, God talked to me about staying home and being a home educator. I was scared because that wasn’t my plan, and I didn’t know how to start, but God blessed my family and provided for us for all those years I stayed home. I grew in my faith and relationship with Him during that season. Looking back at those times, I see God was preparing me for a new season in my life.
God called me to minister to children and their families. God called me to serve. I knew I had to be obedient, but I had to make many changes to my family dynamic. A full-time position in ministry meant changes, starting with sending my children to school, which wasn’t part of the plan, but I knew I had to trust and obey.
“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you’” (Jeremiah 7:23).
God entrusted me with a ministry and blessed it. The ministry grew and prospered. I was blessed to see the lives of children transformed; many were making a decision for Christ for the very first time. I learned through those years of my early ministry that God didn’t need my ability and my grand plans. He needed me to be obedient to His plan and attentive to His voice and guidance. Even when I had challenges and, at times, got discouraged, obeying was easy because I loved the families, my church, and my team. I knew every name, and everyone knew mine. I loved them, and I was loved back. I was very comfortable.
God started calling me to go somewhere else. I didn’t know where, but it was clear, and I knew I had to obey, even when that meant stepping out of my comfort zone and leaving behind my church of two decades and my best friends. I told the Lord I would go
wherever He wanted me. I never doubted that the Lord had a plan for me, but going to a new place where I didn’t know anybody and starting with a new team made me anxious.
One more time, I chose to obey and trust, and God blessed me, entrusting me with a dynamic ministry, excellent ministry partners, a great community, and a church with a shared mission to transform our world with God’s Word … one life at a time. God also filled my heart with a new love for the families and renewed my desire to serve His people and trust Him in this new season. I knew He would stretch me to be more effective in ministry when He took me out of my comfort zone.
If you want God’s direction in your life, ask Him to give you a desire to read and study His word and a willingness to obey and apply what the Scripture says. I love the words of Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” What a relief to know that if I obey and follow His command, He will give me the strength and courage to do whatever He calls me to do. What a joy to know that I am not alone and that He is in me.
Questions for Thought
1. Is there any sin or distraction that makes it very difficult for you to listen to God and stops you from obeying?
2. What is God asking you to do that you know will take you out of your comfort zone? How are you responding to Him?
If you recognize an area of your life where you must be obedient to God to win, what steps are you taking every day to accomplish what God has asked you to do? What spiritual habits will you practice this week to help you get closer to God and strengthen your relationship with Him?
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Director of Preschool Ministry
Teresa is passionate about partnering with families to introduce children to Jesus, starting from the nursery age. She loves to provide a ministry with many opportunities for people to serve preschool families. Teresa is married to David and has two adult children, Sophie and David Brian. She and her husband love to spend time outdoors kayaking in all the beautiful Texas state parks with Cookie, a Chihuahua, and Pepper, a medium-sized rescue dog.