When Feistiness Gets in the Way of Obedience

Though stereotypes can be annoying and inaccurate at times, I must confess that the one about redheads is not far off; we’re a feisty bunch! Every strength has its “ceilings and its basements.” The “ceiling” of feistiness can be very beneficial. It’s a personality trait God’s given some to help endure in hard times. It gives an extra dose of courage in daring to try new things. It even can bring out a spunky edge of fun in someone, creating exciting opportunities. However, feistiness also has another side to it. The “basement” of feistiness is stubbornness and anger.

God has been calling me to deepen my relationship with Him in prayer. Though I’m pretty sure it was going on for a while beforehand, the first remembered acknowledgement came in January of 2023 while I was with our church’s youth group at a conference. The speaker shared a quote by Martin Luther which says, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” That makes no human logical sense! If Martin was so busy, how did he have three hours to pray?

As last year rolled along, the Lord continued to bring that quote to mind. I’d acknowledge it and have even become more active in intentionally praying for people when God brings them to mind. But there the command sat in the back of my mind, waiting for my greater obedience that still hadn’t come.

“God, I don’t want to get up even earlier! I like my sleep!” (My only logical possibility for creating more time to pray) For a time, I had been getting up decently early. I don’t remember what stopped it, but there came a point last year where I also slacked off in that, but in my excuse, only by a half hour. Yet, that half an hour made a big difference to my entire day. If I didn’t get up at 5:00am, something was sacrificed. Eventually, I got back on that routine…but the command for more time in prayer still didn’t go away.

From approximately September until February, I was in a dry season; a wilderness season. The enemy hit me with discouragement, shame, doubt, etc. And I isolated myself from most of my accountability team, which is dangerous to do. And I wondered why I was struggling so much? Haha silly me.

God is so loving, patient, and gracious! Bit by bit, He brought to light the lies I was listening to and accepting as truth. Then, when I would confess and repent, He would redeem that lie with His real truth and bring the next one to light. As He worked away to bring me back into right and stronger relationship with Him, He showed me again the need to deepen my relationship with Him in prayer.

As I began to ask Him what that would look like, a sister in Christ on Instagram extended an invitation to anyone who would like to join her on a forty-day prayer challenge. I had to laugh when I read that. His timing is truly always perfect. Knowing this was what He wanted from me, I quickly said, “Yes, count me in!”

Wow, has He ever been working in my heart since Day One of that challenge! We’re currently twenty-seven days in and the Lord is revealing where He’s been answering many of my prayers. He’s molding my heart into greater dependency on Him, calling out areas I have resisted Him, and is returning me to my heart’s desire to be wholly consecrated to Him. In this state of surrender, He again has brought up this need for deepening my prayer life. There are so many people on my list right now, along with my own requests. There are also so many things I am praising Him for in this season, that I feel overwhelmed by both the needs and blessings!

While taking time to wrestle with Him about something else this week, the Lord clearly brought this need for prayer to mind. And again, this week, while reading the scheduled day’s prayer challenge, Martin Luther’s quote was shared in the book! It was in that moment with no distractions between us that I finally said yes to God’s call to deepen my time in prayer with Him.

In that moment of obedience, without any humanly logical explanation, God instantly brought His contentment of peace to other things about which I had been wrestling with Him. Answers and next steps were given, along with expectant joy for the future. Suddenly where some things seemed inconceivable, were now made perfectly possible.

What would this past year have looked like if I had yes to God when He first commanded me to deeper prayer? Had I not walked in my feisty stubbornness (disobedience), digging my heels in and screaming “No, I don’t want to!” Personally, I don’t think I would have valued this place of holy unity with the Lord nearly as much as being able in hindsight to observe His process of parental discipline. It is now beautiful to look back and see Him tenderly guiding and preparing me for this; of seeing my own sinful struggle and learning the importance of deeper dependency. And yet, how much further would I have been with Him and other relationships in my life, including this ministry had I said yes from the start? What have I missed out on because of my own desires instead of pursuing His? It makes me so appreciative of God’s grace, forgiveness, and patience, and that He loves me enough to gently discipline me in the ways I need in order to shape me into the person He desires of me.

Is there something you are having a hard time saying yes to the Lord about? Is He calling you to go deeper with Him in an area of life? Don’t let yourself get in the way. Ask Him to give you open hands and an open heart to listen and obey. Then experience His sweet and perfect peace. Embrace the direction He gives you, even if it seems unorthodox. I guarantee you; you’ll appreciate deeper intimacy with Jesus when you do. May the Lord bless you as you seek to desire more of Him.

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