stiff or unyielding; not pliant or flexible; hard.
firmly fixed or set.
inflexible, strict, or severe.
exacting; thorough; rigorous.
so as to meet precise standards; stringent.
I confess, I've been both.
I confess, I still have to ask myself which one I'm being on a regular basis.
Rigid or Limp?
When I hear and see where God is leading me or what He is asking of me, obedience is required, but it must come with the right attitude.
I'm reminded of my early mommy days. A wise woman taught me that I needed to pay attention to my children's attitude in obedience, not just whether they were learning to obey. For years I paid close attention to whether they obeyed with a good or bad attitude and addressed the latter as needed.
As a follower of Christ, I knew I needed to heed the same advice and pay attention to my attitude of obedience to God. Was I obeying joyfully or grumbling under my breath while doing 'the right thing'?
For years I focused on the 'not grumbling' attitude, but failed to see another adjustment needed.
I am A Rule Follower.
"I must obey because God tells me to."
Is this wrong? This last year of chaos, heartbreak, pain and financial uncertainty has given me lots of time to sit at the table and hear what God was saying about my 'rule following' tendencies. Experiences He allowed into my life let me to see that while I was obeying without grumbling, I couldn't say I was obeying with fullness of joy.
Absence of grumbling doesn't mean presence of joy.
My joyful attitude was the smile I forced on my face to present joy in my obedience.
My joyful attitude was holding my tongue when I wanted to lash out or complain.
God asked me to go deeper in my obedient attitude. To go LIMP.
Thus my question: Limp or Rigid?
I now see that as a 'rule follower' I can be a bit rigid in my obedience.
When I look at the dictionary definition of rigid (posted at top), I recognize my self willed obedience as I look at each of the 5 definitions of rigid.
- stiff obedience / unable to feel God moving in the situation.
- firmly fixed obedience / mind made up, unaware of God speaking
- strict obedience / following the rules, but not tuned into the Spirit
- exacting obedience / so focused on doing it right I miss out on being used by God to touch others.
- so as to meet precise standards in obedience / crossing the t's and dotting the i's so I am a good rule follower but missing the joy of dancing with God in obedience.
Of course, God wants me to find the fullness of joy He promises when I follow Him in surrendered obedience, and so this year of pressing in on all sides has been a season to learn how to 'go limp'.
When I am rigid, the pressures of my chaotic season are met with resistance, much like a fired clay pot, hardened and set in it's shape. I cannot bare up under the pressure and eventually crumble. This is where I found myself in the last 12 months as I was diligently obedient; like a good little 'rule follower'.
God picked me up and showed me how to walk with limp obedience so that I can be the un-fired clay, easily molded by the pressures of this season; not broken or destroyed by them.
But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.
Looking at the dictionary definition of limp (posted at top), I see the joy of surrendered obedience in each of the 4 defining lines.
- Lacking stiffness in my obedience / able to see God's desires over my desire to be 'right'.
- Weary obedience / giving up my determination to power through, confessing my rigid attitude and falling into His arms; surrendered.
- Without force in my obedience / letting go of deciding how this should work out and grabbing hold of God's plan; surrendering to joy in the journey, not joy found only in the desired outcome. A.K.A ~ letting God be God and stop trying to tell Him how things should go.
- flexible obedience / listening to God every second of every step instead of setting the course and moving with blinders on.
So, are you rigid or limp...or al dente?
What are the causes of a rigid attitude?
Our recipe today is Limp Obedience
The ingredients are from Isaiah 64:8
The directions are to recognize when we are rigid in our obedience and surrender it all to God. Become limp, like clay, so He can mold a heart of joyful obedience in us.
CLICK HERE for a printable version of today's recipe for the soul. Make notes on it of how God is speaking to you today, and carry it with you to feed your soul as needed.
Lord God, how I struggle to lie limply in Your arms. I am reminded of my children as toddlers, when I would ask them to come sit and cuddle with me. They would come for a while, but I could feel their bodies stiffen when they were ready to hop up and 'do' the things they wanted to do. I confess that too many times I come to you and sit with a 'limp' attitude but grow rigid as I get anxious to put my plans into action. I want to be like clay in Your hands so that my obedience is constantly being molded into a joyful attitude. I recognize that fear makes me rigid and in You I need not be afraid. I recognize that pride makes me rigid and I need to seek Your glory, not mine. I recognize that need to control makes me rigid and I surrender this to you...one. more. time. I come to You in the name of my precious Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
God Bless and Keep You,
Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesdays
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