the art of obedience

In exactly 25 days I will hop on a plane to Nashville and meet CK7, the team that I will be serving with for a solid two months.  To say that I am about to Fiesta Explode with excitement is a complete understatement.

God allowed me to be a part of CK5 last summer and it impacted my life in a way that words would never do justice.  I was able to spend 10 weeks loving on kids through Bible studies, rec games, worship, volleyball, and neverending games of Ninja.  I worked with staff that loved Christ more intensely than anyone I had ever met before.  Those staff were more than just “coworkers” – they are my family and I love them with my whole heart.  God used that summer to grow, stretch, and heal my heart; I will always look to that summer as a spiritual marker in my life.   So when the summer came to a close, I told myself (and God) that I was finished with working camp.

Silly, silly Mary.

When I felt God tugging on my heart and urging me to return to camp I was the definition of resistance.  I had my own plans for the following summer and I knew that camp wasn’t a part of them.  God couldn’t possibly expect me to give up another summer – Oh God, you’re such a kidder!  I ignored the conviction and thought up every logical reason I could fathom that required I stay.  Once I had my list made up (I like making lists), I presented it to God.  Here, God.  I know you thought that I should go back, but…You probably just didn’t think about all these other factors…

God: Ooooh you’re right Mary!  I didn’t even think about all those things.  It’s a good thing you’re such a champ at making lists (I always liked that about you)!  Thanks for the heads up – you go ahead and do what you think is best!

So I did what I wanted and lived happily ever after.

….kidding!

Obviously I am doing camp again, and obviously it was not an easy decision for me.  I have learned so much about obedience since the end of last summer.  So often when I do act in obedience to God it is not out of love, but rather a sense of obligation – the idea that I have to do whatever is expected of me.  I have found that “obedience” without the proper motivation leads to failure.  Every time.  When my vision becomes my own desires rather than Christ I cease to be motivated by love, and am instead motivated by selfish desire.  It is only when my eyes are fixed on my Savior that I can really love Him with my whole heart.  1 John 5 says, “This is love for God: to obey His commands.  And His commands are not burdensome…”  In light of what Christ has done for me, offering up my life to Him as a sacrifice should be my greatest joy.

That is not to say that obedience costs us nothing.  In Luke 9 Christ said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  I think there is this misconception among Christians today that one can be a follower of Christ without denying himself on a daily basis.  The Christian life must cost us something…otherwise it is no different than our life was without Christ.

And so that is a very long-winded way of saying that God led my heart to do camp again in spite of the many obstacles that I could not see past at the time.  Looking back to those uncertain months, it’s amazing to see how God has actually removed those very obstacles – how awesome is that!  The fact that He is allowing me to be a part of His work is overwhelming – I cannot wait to see how He uses the strengths and weaknesses of our team in order to bring more glory to Himself.

Praise God for His faithfulness to me, even when I am faithless.

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One thought on “the art of obedience

  1. Michelle says:

    I can totally identify with your struggle here – it brought a smile to my face reading about the lists. 🙂 Can’t wait to read more of how God works in your life this summer.

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