Freedom in Obedience

First of all, thank you, thank you to everyone who read my last post and shared your sweet words of encouragement with me. I am truly blessed beyond words.

… That’s actually all for announcements. Whoops.

Onward and upward.

As I’ve mentioned, I am a big TV fan. I could often spend hours a day relaxing and escaping into other worlds. I’m not proud of this and it’s on my Long List of Life Resolutions (I promise!), especially since the words “if  you have an hour for television, you have an hour for prayer” play in my mind as the time drones on. It’s an incredibly difficult habit for me to break. However, there are times when my relationship with television proves useful(ish).

A conversation that I had with a coworker last night has had me thinking. We talked, albeit briefly, about whether things happen for a reason. I mentioned my belief that things are intimately and infinitely linked- that as humans, all of our actions lead to further actions, impact the people around us, and shape our entire lives. I think we cause things to happen, regardless of whether or not they are meant to. We are granted free will, which allows us to choose our path.

He argued, “but don’t we all end up on ‘the path’ designed for us anyway?” And then customers came, and the moment died, and the conversation has been replaying in mind.

It makes me think of the television show, Community, in which one character explains that there are multiple “timelines,” using the roll of a die as the example. When a six-sided die is used to make a choice, six possible outcomes are created. While I think it’s a little extreme, it is aligned with my thought.

I believe that there is a Plan, designed by God for our Ultimate Good. However, we have the choice to avoid it, to choose to stray from the original Plan. God does not intend for us to sin or to turn away from Him. Like Pope Francis said on Twitter, “Every time we give in to selfishness and say ‘No’ to God, we spoil his loving plan for us.” There is a Plan, but every time we sin, we take a step off the path, we give up our safety, we choose “the darkest timeline.” And that’s entirely allowed. God does not desire a bunch of drones who worship Him, because it doesn’t work– once the choice to worship is gone, it is no longer authentic worship. Love is not love if it is forced.

The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (love him!) wrote about obedience in his book “The World’s First Love” :

Obedience does not mean the execution of orders that are given by a drill sergeant. It springs, rather, from the love of an order, and love of Him who gave it. The merit of obedience is less in the act than in the love; the submission, the devotion, and the service which obedience implies are not born of servitude, but are rather effects that spring from and are unified by love. Obedience is servility only to those who have not understood the spontaneity of love.

When we use our free will to be obedient to God, not only do we love Him more perfectly, but we also find our freedom. We find our truest happiness when we abandon our free will and choose only the most perfect Plan. We love the Lord, so we want to sacrifice our own desires for His. That’s what love truly is- a sacrifice of one’s desires for the good of the other. We are not required to follow the Plan. There are infinite options and choices that we can make.  But how many of those choices bring us despair, discouragement, other unhappiness?

Left to our own devices, we often find that we are slaves– to work, to addictions, to money, etc. These things hold us down and prevent us from truly living. Yet with Christ, we find that our slavery is our redemption. We give of ourselves to receive the greatest gift: eternal life in Heaven! We are bound to the Lord so that we might join in the infinite majesty of the Kingdom.

Yes, there are things that we miss out on. There are some attractive timelines. But there is nothing so great as the Ultimate Good that comes from discerning our path with Jesus. After all, He came “that they might have life, and have it to the full.” We are called to live abundant and full lives. We are created for Him and He calls us to Him. We are servants, we are slaves, but there is no greater reward than to lay down our lives for Him in whom we discover salvation.

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One Response to Freedom in Obedience

  1. Pingback: Walking the Line Between Humility and Hatred |

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