This is what I know of wild obedience.
I never dreamed of picket fences and dinners around the table with my darling offspring making conversation about the high and low point of our days. I never wished for a husband and a mortgage and matching throw pillows for our tastefully decorated living room.
I never dreamed of roots and home and family. I didn’t rock baby dolls and pretend I was their mama. My dandelion dreams sailed on wild winds with my hopes of escaping into the open.
We never bought a home because that meant we’d settled for a life here, like the deal was sealed and we had become one of the many to join the mediocre. The un-radical life of suburban American Christianity.
I dreamed of wild adventure and wilderness callings. I wanted to be the fiery voice proclaiming the true way to live a wild faith.
I dreamed of Africa and huts and red dirt that stained my toes and planes that whisked me off to my great calling. I wanted to live an adventurous faith, free and changing the world. I despised pew sitting and antiquated Americana Christianity. I saw it as a relic for all the lukewarm, the average, the ordinary. The ones who took the message of GO make disciples lightly. The ones who refused to budge at all, who would rather stay and build their tiny kingdoms with 4 bedroom homes, 2.5 kids, and a hefty 401K.
I determined I would live fully the call of God on my life.
But I never imagined that the call for the last 18 years would be to stay and walk faithfully with God, while struggling with mental illness, unable to be involved in any “ministry.” I didn’t know I’d do all of that while living in a tiny upper middle class city of predominantly white people.
I didn’t know that wild obedience would look like faithfulness in this place I never asked to be. That it looks like making lunches for my husband to take to work and making amends when marriage feels like the hardest calling of all.
It’s answering my children’s thousandth question on days when I’d rather zone out or escape to a coffee shop for some quiet. It’s faithfully loving a church that doesn’t meet all my needs, line up with all of my theological foibles, or have a community of people I instantly click with because we have everything in common. Instead it’s knowing I’m called there and seeing the beauty in being stretched.
I’ve spent a huge part of my Christian walk waiting for the great calling. The thing I wanted to do, maybe even the thing I felt I was made for instead of embracing the place God had established me in.
I’ve spent too many years frustrated with the now yearning for the after. But every day we make choices that end up being our eternity. The after is a result of what we do this very moment.
Every day we walk in obedience or we don’t. Middle ground is a deception.
It’s not so much about the details we get bogged down in as it is about the heart to seek love, to flesh out faithfulness, to pursue holiness right here and now without waiting for the right ministry opportunity to show off our skills. We fool ourselves when we think we have to sort out all the specifics and line up all of our dreams before we obediently surrender to the call of God on our lives.
Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’
~ Matthew 22:37-40 The MSG
In all honesty, this mothering gig is hard. Marriage has been tough. Writing has been both a gift and a trial. Ordinary life has been the hardest calling I’ve ever answered. I had no idea the depths of my own selfishness until asked to share myself with my family. To lay my will down day after day and seek God’s.
It isn’t the atlas pins and circumnavigating the globe, it isn’t writing the book, or speaking in front of crowds, it isn’t anything tweetable or worthy of an Instagram filter. I can’t put it on a resume or impress you with my accomplishments.
It isn’t accolades or huge leaps of heroic faith that make up my wild obedience.
It is the moment by moment choices, the constant release of my will and my resting in Jesus that form this life of faithfulness. It is the hard work of the everyday and the remembrance that God is at work in my unspectacular moments of which there are many. It is remembering God’s mercy when I can’t seem to feel it at all. It is building altars of praise because I’ll need the reminders that even still, God is good.
For me, wild obedience doesn’t look like mountains being moved or seas parted.
Wild obedience looks like a seed buried, ever-changing from day-to-day but unnoticeable to the masses. It is the secret place where faith breaks the husk and it feels like death and so much darkness. It feels risky because you can’t see why this would matter. You can’t see how these small things mean anything in the Kingdom of God? It feels like brokenness and abandonment. Like God created you with dreams and passions and intellect and yet they feel useless in your ordinary life.
It feels too small, too irrelevant to ever contain the call of God.
Sometimes it looks like dreams buried and dormant while frost blisters the ground. It looks like seasons of upheaval and tilling and the ground on which you hoped to stand is rocked and shaken and you can only kneel, only bow lower. It looks like yearning to break through to light and always pushing further into it. It looks like tender limbs reaching toward majesty and the weight of glory shining on. It looks like so much unquenchable thirst. It looks like pruning and sheared loss and living to tell about it.
It looks like bearing fruit in good time, right where you’re planted.
This is my wild obedience.