I'm not talking about in my childhood. No, this isn't a confession of teenage rebellion. I'm not even making a veiled metaphorical reference. (Not sure if those terms all work together or not; but you get my drift.)
The sad truth is that God spoke an instruction to my heart and I blatantly chose to ignore it. Plain and simple.
Yes, the queen of, "Take responsibility!"
The mother who constantly said, "Delayed obedience is Dis-obedience!"
The pastor who includes the word "OBEDIENCE" in some part of nearly every sermon.
I have disobeyed. And I'm not proud of it.
Early this year, the Lord impressed on my heart that it was time to start a Bible study group in our neighborhood.
Now, I would have gladly chosen six weeks. Announced it in the bulletin and online. Cleaned house, clamored for refreshments and conducted the series in my home - for our church ladies.
But somehow, I became paralyzed with fear when I knew this was to be specifically for the women who live along my street. ONLY!
I tried bargaining:
- "Lord, I'll do a study with the college students." - Silence.
- "Lord, what about the young married ladies?" - Silence
- ."The teenagers?" - Silence
- "Lord, these ladies are busy." - Silence
- "They'll think I'm just trying to get them to come to our church." - Silence
- "I don't want to cram the Bible down their throats; we're just living like You." - Silence
Every devotional time it came back to me again. "Offer a Bible study for the ladies in your neighborhood."
Driving down our street, I would see the ladies and just sense that each household represented a different scenario of need.
But the REAL problem? I don't really know these women.
I've lived in this house six years. And I don't know my own neighbors enough to know what would attract them. I've done little more than wave or quickly comment on growing children on my way in and out of the cul-de-sac.
The Lord is persistent!
So I half-heartedly chose a video series. Asked Ashley to create a flier for me. Frank gave it out at our home owners meeting. And I waited.
"See, Lord?" I felt rather smug. "They aren't interested."
"Ask them personally."
So, I stuck my neck out and got a "Possible" from the neighbor directly beside me. Then the one lady across the street said, "Okay." But that's all I did.
I rushed home from the office yesterday and cleaned like a mad woman; preparing for the 6:30 launch.
"This is a lot of effort, Lord." The steam mop was hissing.
"I felt the same way looking for the one lost lamb."
"They may not even remember!" - Silence. I kept cleaning.
At 6:15, I stopped long enough to straighten my hair.
At 6:25, I put out the crackers, pretzels and cookies I'd picked up at the store.
At 6:30, I peered out the window. Hopeful. Nervous. Uncertain.
At 6:40, my living room was still empty.
At 6:45, I started putting away the refreshments.
"Well, Lord. I gave it my best!"
"No, you didn't."
I don't know about your relationship with the Father. But we've walked many miles together. And at this point in the journey, He's pretty blunt with me.
"No. You're right, Lord. I didn't." It startled me, but I knew He had put His finger on the problem.
I hadn't wanted to do the Bible study from the beginning. I drug my feet with each step of trying to contact the ladies. I disobeyed. And then I had the nerve to try and blame it on the ones He told me to help.
I bowed my head over the cracker box and repented. I took responsibility and asked for forgiveness - again.
At 7:00 my phone rang.
"Sheri, this is Beth. I'm so sorry I couldn't make it tonight. And I won't be able to come next Thursday either. But when will the next one be?"
(If we repent of our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.)
Beth and I talked several minutes and set a better time for a re-launch. We also discussed which neighbors we would invite personally
This morning I was trying my best to sneak our trash can to the road without being detected wearing my purple house coat. The lady across the street met me by the curb.
"I completely forgot about last night. But I do want to come. When is the next one?"
I'm not proud of my disobedience. I'm still nervous about having a Bible study for my neighbors. But I can promise you this, I've been reminded that obedience is better than sacrifice.
And I'm especially thankful for second chances and forgiveness!