Writing this month’s blog was a spiritual exercise for me in and of itself. Obedience has never come naturally to me. I was what many would describe as a “spirited child,” I liked to find the boundaries of rules and then go just beyond them. To me, a list of rules was somewhere between a compilation of polite suggests at best, and a challenge to beat, at worst. Sometimes there were no consequences for this, but more times than not, I would have to pay for following my own will.
We often think of obedience in relation of things that we are trying to control: we worry about children that are not obedient, we take our pets to obedience school, big box stores look for obedient employees. In this light, we feel obedience is great for others, but is something a bit demeaning for ourselves. That is a shame, because I believe this warps that true meaning of being obedient.
I believe that we, as a creation of God, were designed to live in communion with all of God’s creation and to live in perfect love with God. This cannot be done when we act just on our own will, which is usually based on self-interested. It is only when we are obedient to God’s will that we can live in the harmony that we were designed to live in. Obedience is not being bent to someone else’s will, but it is living in a way that we are meant to live. Obedience is not a limiting one’s self from possibilities, but living in a fullness that is only possible when following God’s will for our lives.
-Matthew Chapman, WOSF Spiritual Director