“Delayed obedience is disobedience.”
I can hear the words replay just as clearly as if they were spoken a moment ago and not well over 15 years prior to me writing this. It was one of those moments that seems to etch itself into your very being, even without you fully understanding its importance and depth in that immediate season.
It was almost two years ago, however, that I had a “God moment” during a creative conference experience on the beaches of Pensacola. I knew – without a doubt – that God was calling me to write. The words written on my paper during a flow-of-thought activity terrified and excited me : “I want to write a devotional/book to encourage women in all seasons of life.” I can still see the pen fall from my grip as the words I had written finally connected with my brain and I realized what was talking to me from my paper. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a couple beats as a stared at those scribbled letters in both shock and amazement.
A little over a week ago, our family of five was on our drive home from our weekly small group gathering. As we drove down the two-lane highway in the dark, I could still make out the the silhouettes of the cotton and peanut fields buzzing by outside my window. The kids were in the back seat, trying their best to stay awake on the 20-ish minute drive as Jared and I talked about some of the things we discussed with our group.
I don’t remember how we got on the topic, but I shared that heavy one-liner from nearly 2 decades ago. “It’s been on my mind the past week or so – delayed obedience is disobedience – and I just keep thinking, ‘If I truly believe that God has called me to do something, delayed obedience is disobedience…and if I know that He has called me to write, but I’m not doing anything to step towards and into what He’s called me to, then I’ve been walking in disobedience for two whole years.'”
It’s an overwhelming thought to consider that your own procrastination and inaction equals disobedience to the One who created your very being. In the season of my life as a parent, though, I understand this concept far more than I could have as an 18 year old listening to a sermon with my youth group. If I ask my child to clean their room and they respond with “Okay, mom, I hear you, but I’ll do it when I feel like it,” that’s not going to cut it. Or if they’re running towards the road and I see a car coming that they can’t and I yell for them to turn around, and they yell back, “Hang on! Let me get this ball first!”, their delayed obedience – their disobedience – can put them in harm’s way.
Delayed obedience is disobedience.
It’s been almost exactly two years since I jotted that sentence out into my workbook. It’s been almost exactly two years since the day I finally shared that moment with my husband after being home from that conference for a couple days, nervous about what he would think if I wanted/need to pivot my focus for my business. It’s been almost two years since he waited two days after I poured my heart out about that experience that he told me he already knew because before I left for that conference, he had thought about me writing, of all things, a devotional.
Do you know what causes two whole, entire years of inaction?
Allowing doubt to creep in. Giving in to imposter syndrome while comparing yourself to others and thinking there isn’t a place for your words in the world. Fear of not quite adding up or meeting expectations – mostly the ones you put on yourself. Not being able to “see” the end result, so making excuses to justify your own procrastination. Telling yourself that “when I get to _______, then I’ll write more.” All the million “what ifs” that bombard your thinking when you get to a fork in the road or start something new.
I don’t know about you, but that looks like a lot of missed potential simply because I chose to keep walking in doubt and insecurity.
And that’s both the beauty and the curse, isn’t it? We get the choice of stepping forward in obedience or sitting stagnant in disobedience.
Even when I launched Lettered Grace nearly five years ago as a crafty shop on Etsy, I did it as a way to use my creativity to encourage others. A stay at home mama of three, looking for connection and ways to inspire and love those who found my shop. While the products and offerings have changed through the years, the heart is still the same and I have no doubt that the call I felt with such clarity in the fall of 2018 has been waiting on my obedience to bloom into what He has waiting.
What is it for you? What is it that you’ve tucked inside the safest part of your heart? What’s keeping you from making progress, friend? Is it doubt? Insecurity? The pressure of expectations – maybe ones spoken out loud or ones you think others have? Are you allowing fear to keep your feet from stepping forward?
Whether you’ve been delaying obedience for 2 hours, 2 days, 2 years, or 20 years…we’re not going to bog ourselves down in guilt or shame for procrastinating. We’re going to own our choice, ask forgiveness from the One who gives it freely, and we’re going to start moving deeper into what we’ve been called to.
And what if we walked forward together? Let’s link arms and keep reminding one another that we are called with and for a purpose and there’s a whole world waiting for what only we can create.
Delayed obedience is disobedience. Let me be reminded that 10/10/2020 was the day I decided to let go of all the things that tell me to wait and embrace the promise that He who calls is faithful.