That's Uncool, God
Last year, my mum often sent me broadcasts on WhatsApp; I ignored the messages. She took to asking why I was not responding. Like, ma? Nobody responds to broadcasts na. Even though those were private conversations, I felt a twinge of embarrassment, because it is uncool to send random broadcast messages, MOM!
Thankfully, those were just broadcasts. When I was young (think teen years), I sometimes felt embarrassed by things my parents told me to do or not do. Whether it was about dressing or going out, or even about my attitude. My thoughts were usually: “Everyone is doing it. Can I live?” Or, “No one is doing it, so don’t make me look uncool!”
Now, my parents no longer tell me what to do (at least I get to decide how much of what they say I act on, without consequences). A few months after I became a Christian, that feeling came back. Of being asked to do or not do something, and feeling like, “Yo, this is a really awkward thing and I do not want to do it.”
Of course, it was not my parents. It was God. I did not know it was God at first. I would get a prompting about something or someone; some were obvious and easy to recognise and obey, especially when scriptures start “jumping” at me reinforcing this thing. (A lot of it had to do with my attitude, I must admit. And, often, I felt like a child learning what a person should actually be like, according to God.) The unclear, and often more immediate, promptings were in relation to other people. Those felt like an exercise in potential awkwardness. But, how do you say no to God? Trust me, I tried.
I argue a lot. In my head, I am rational, so I would be in my head arguing with God about why I should disobey him.
The first time I gained insight into the need to obey was a few months after becoming a Christian. I had gone to an evening service at church, and, when I got home, I was prompted to share my notes with a friend. I immediately thought, “No, God, my friends will think I do too much. Am I the first person to become born again? Why the sudden need to talk about it all the time?” So, I went on my merry way and ignored it. My friend, Ol, and I chatted about something random and funny that night. A few minutes after that conversation was over, she sent me a Bible verse. It was the one from my notes, and I had this, “Oh my God, how is this possible?” moment. I shared my notes, and then we had a whole conversation that helped me to understand other things that night.
Fast forward to that weekend. I was in a gathering, and then He said to hug someone after the meet. “NO WAY!” Yeah, that was my reaction. “I am not going to hug a complete stranger. What will I tell her? I will look crazy.” I had a whole conversation in my head about all the reasons I did not need to do this thing. Anyway, close to the end of the meet, she and I have an unexpected intimate moment (not initiated by my disobedient self, of course), and then she hugged me.
I felt like God was saying:
2. Understand that I am never trying to embarrass you.
3. Understand that when I tell you something, I can make it happen with or without your obedience.
4. Will you be in or out?
5. You can enjoy amazing moments if you just listen and obey without arguing.”
Turns out, God had introduced me to this ‘stranger’ weeks before on Twitter in what I had assumed was a random happening. I did not even realise she was the same person until I was home that night. God, open my eyes to see all the ways You work.
So, here is what I am learning. We are all part of one body, and God orders our steps. I like Romans 12: 4-13, on this, because it shows how in all of our actions, we are all working as members of one body. Another passage I really like is Romans 1: 11-12, especially when Paul says, “That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith”. Because, in those moments, I thought the end was being embarrassed, but in reality, the end was other Christian women encouraging me.
Often, because I do not see the end, or I assume the wrong end, I am wary of following instructions; however, I’m learning that God knows the end, and all I have to do is trust Him and take the step He has prompted. I think that trust—by our human understanding and the conditioning from our human interactions—is hard. But Jesus came to show exactly how things should be, so, everyday, I ask to have the attitude of mind that Christ has. To trust Him even when I do not understand.
I wonder, what is hearing God like for others? Is obedience a struggle for you too? What are you learning? And how are you shedding your cool?
P.S. I find that all the times I thought something was uncool, it turned out to be for way cooler stuff that had me saying, “Wow, God, you’re amazing”.