Small Acts of Obedience
Some days it just feels too hard. Following God, I mean. It’s almost like some crazy trust exercise each day where I fall off a cliff and hope and pray He’ll catch me. I desperately want to believe. I make a lot of effort toward believing, too. I do my daily quiet time, I read blogs, I listen to podcasts, I attend conferences and I go to church. I am an ‘all in’ Christian.
It’s just that sometimes it doesn’t feel like God is ‘all-in’ in my life, you know?
I have to admit I can get pretty frustrated. Even as a good girl doing good things I often describe my relationship with God as He is on one side of a big glass window and I am on the other side. I can see Him but I can’t reach Him. I can see He is trying to talk to me, but I can’t hear Him. He is trying to do sign language to me but I never took ASL so I’m at a loss.
Can you relate? Does this sound familiar to you? The idea that God is right there but you can’t touch Him?
Recently I decided to try an experiment. I called it SAO for ‘small acts of obedience’. I had the opportunity to attend a couple of Christian conferences and attempted to not only let go of any expectations but to really try to practice hearing God through small acts of obedience. I just followed anything that felt like a nudge from the Holy Spirit.
Instead of walking into a publisher appointment expecting God to fall all over my proposal, I walked in hoping to love the publisher well. Instead of walking in to my teaching assignment expecting God to look down and say, “Well done good and faithful servant,” I went in hoping to just truly serve the women in the room. Instead of expecting God to give me answers, I tried to be an answer by way of encouragement to others.
There were a few awkward moments, I admit. There was a time when I felt the Lord was nudging me to say something to someone and since I am not prophetic, I hesitated. But wanting to stay true to my experiment, I said it and watched God move in the heart and mind of a woman who needed a truth fairy.
There was one moment when I felt God nudging me on what to wear to a conference. It felt so weird and honestly, dumb. Does God really care what I wear? Still, to remain true to the experiment, I went with it and instead of showing up in ‘conference attire’ I showed up in jeans and a t-shirt. I am not sure what that was about but I can say I felt God’s pleasure at that. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it. I can (and likely will) analyze it to death but the fact remains that when I simply worked on being obedient to God I felt different.
I felt more relaxed. I felt more joy. I felt the gentle pressure of the Holy Spirit alive in my chest. I felt as though I was on the other side of the glass with God. I felt like I could see Him, feel Him and know Him just by practicing these small acts of obedience.
I want to give you some motivational scripture that drove this idea but the only thing that comes to mind is “Love God, love others.” This is a paraphrase of basically everything Jesus said. Look it up. I just tried to love God by loving others.
Here’s the Dot though…knowing God is about more than just reading about Him and doing all the Christian things like going to church or bible study. Everyone is looking for their ‘purpose’ according to God but what if our purpose is to practice these small acts of obedience every single day?
I felt wildly blessed to get the opportunity to serve and love others through SAO but the most surprising thing about it was how much it moved me closer to God. I am absolutely dying to go out and do it again because I loved every single second of feeling like God was using me to love other people.
Frustration finally gave way to fascination.
Loving other people well almost feels selfish to me now because I know if I hit the mark, I am the one who will really be changed. It’s not selfish though. It’s how God works. When I am a purveyor of God’s goodness, God’s goodness comes back to me.
And that is just the coolest thing ever.
I hope you will join me in practicing your small acts of obedience today. Tell me about your experience in the comments.