Catch That Thief Named Obligation
I have a new motto. It goes something like this,
“Do what you are supposed to do, not what you are obligated to do.” Obligation robs joy and inspiration faster than anything. I hate losing these things when Jesus literally died on a cross so I could have them.
Slowly and surely, I am eliminating good things from my schedule I don’t have grace for or time for. The result is crazy! I have about twice as much energy to put into what God’s calling me to do and asking of me. I’m seeing more God stories unfold before my eyes than I could possibly write about, and I’m living with so much freedom, pure motivation, and a ton more inspiration. I haven’t quite mastered this, but I’m onto something, and I won’t let go till I understand completely.
I realize this may not be where everyone is at. I just came to a point where I had to ask myself how much of what I do is motivated by obligation, as opposed to the joy of giving. My percentage was super high, disturbingly high. Hardly anything in my life I did because I was inspired to. Even with the good things I soon over-committed myself and they became things of dread.
I’m learning to only schedule myself a few days at a time. It’s really important for me to have my yes be yes, and my no be no. I don’t like backing out of something or feeling that I have let someone down.
This plan doesn’t work for everything obviously. Some things are scheduled for me whether I feel to go or not, but it works for a lot more things than I thought it would. As a result, I like where I go and what I do most of the time. I’m inspired to give and pour out. I’m driven by this joy of the mystery of life, love, and God appointments.
Tonight, I had about five places I could be. Honestly, if I were living from a place of obligation instead of obedience, I would have stayed home and worked and not gone anywhere. Lord knows, these blocks don’t make themselves and I’m buried right now.
I don’t believe I’m here to make blocks though. I’m here to become love, to be love out loud, to live loved, to throw life around like it’s diamond paint…getting all over everything! And, I’m self-employed which gives me a certain freedom to really go all out with this revelation and experiment with it.
Nope, I didn’t feel to work tonight. All day, I felt that feeling in your stomach…like something good was brewing. With this in mind, I asked God what He was doing and what He wanted me to do. He inspired me to take my friend out for her birthday. I’m low on cash, but who cares. He inspired it. There is one voice I hear very clearly and it is the voice of my best friend, the Holy Spirit. When I get a go for it, I go for it! I don’t always go perfectly and have offended many by a wrong approach. But I’m practicing obedience and approach…and I’m getting better at it every day.
My friend and I thought we were going out to have fun and catch up. Love had a better idea. It came straight into my van and nearly overwhelmed us. We were parked outside Olive Garden for over an hour. It was one of those times where you could feel comfort and love so tangibly; peace just settled in too. After being doused in this for a while, we decided to go and feast inside.
Our waitress overheard us talking about it and said, “wow, that is exactly what I needed to hear tonight.”
“Oh yeah” I jumped on this. “Why? What’s up?”
She looked me in the eye and started saying, “Well, you know how when people are against you and you feel really misunderstood, but you have to remember that there are more people for you than against you.” She went on. It didn’t take long to realize she was having a difficult night and was speaking in Christian code.
“You love Jesus don’t you.” I released her to speak openly.
From this point, she did speak openly. She asked questions and shared her beautiful heart with us all evening. God gave us a word for her, a beautiful sparkly one. We also chatted on topics close to my heart, like giving and identity and so many other things…it would take too long to write it all down in detail.
At one point she literally was crying so hard, she couldn’t stop. People were looking on from other tables. I got up and hugged on her. She could hardly speak and she said, “Y’all have no idea how much this means to me. Earlier tonight I was in the cooler praying, asking God to answer these very questions for me, questions on identity and stuff. Then you guys come in and are so nice to me and well, tonight has been so hard, lately, it’s been so hard…God sent you here just for me tonight. I don’t know how to say thank you.”
There was much more to this story, and it was precious, but it will have to be told another time. I left her with my number and told her I’d be back, I am sure I will be hearing from her. And I will be back! I just love her now, and will never not love her.
The real reason I told the story of tonight, is to remind myself always, to only do what I see my Father doing. He loved that girl so much, it overtook me. I’d rather have been with her and with my friend, then at home working. Work can wait when God’s heart is beating so strong. I need to go where I am supposed to go. I could have gone to church tonight and I’m sure that would have been good. God would have probably loved on me there. I could have hung out with a different friend, or even my kids, and I know I would have had fun. The Holy Spirit wanted me elsewhere.
What an honor to go where he leads, to hear that voice that comes with inspiration and to recognize where it came from. A few years ago, I would have thought the voice in my heart was the voice of laziness. I mean, of course, I don’t want to work..but I should right? WRONG! I do what my Father inspires me to do, and where He leads, I follow. It’s not the other way around even though He is faithful to follow me with His love no matter what.
I have one life, I can use it up on a number of things, good things, or I can ask for a heart of wisdom, and spend it wisely on the best things. “Teach me to number my days that I gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
This is my prayer.
Aimee Perry, a singer/
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