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  • Writer's pictureGreg Dover

Greg's Weekly Word: "obedience"

This was my star word from Epiphany 2020 - obedience. I remember when we passed around the baskets of these paper stars in worship, and the feelings when I saw the one I had randomly picked.

Disbelief. Frustration. Incredulity.

As someone who is fairly independent and somewhat headstrong (don't laugh at the least not out loud), obedience was not the word I wanted. Give me "imagination," or "action," or "freedom" or something! Anything other than a word that has connotations of duty and compliance and submission.

Then again, maybe that's exactly why I needed to get obedience. Because growth - physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual - is almost always the result of being pushed beyond our comfort...being challenged and stretched in a new way.

Plus, as I came to learn, obedience is a derivative of obey. (I actually knew that part already... what I didn't know was:) Obey comes from two ancient roots that mean, literally, "to listen to." And at the root of obedience is a willingness to listen. And by listening, to grow to trust. And by trusting, to be willing to follow.

I still value (and cling to) my sense of independence and freewill. But I have been trying to listen more.

I've tried to push myself to listen for what God would have me do before doing something, usually whatever I wanted to do or what I thought was best. And then I've done my best to follow God's leading.

I've tried to stretch myself to listen for who God would have me to be (instead of the person others want me to be, or the person I think I have to be). And then I've done my best to be and become that person, trusting God's goodness and love...trusting that I am beloved and I am enough.

Obedience was not the star word I wanted. But I think it was the word I needed. And I look forward to seeing how God is at work - on me and in me and through me - with this year's word. (Check back next week to find out what it is.)


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