One morning last week, I was sat with my coffee in one hand and pen in the other, my journal and Bible and Bible study workbook in front of me. I read the question again: “Is there anything God has asked you to do that you’ve said ‘no’ to? Anything you’re holding back that you need to surrender to Him? Any area of your heart you need to ask God to ‘mess with’?”*
I really wanted to get everything I could out of this study. I was determined not to skip or skim the questions this time.
But honestly I couldn’t think of anything God had asked me to do — could ask me to do — that I’d be unwilling to do. I felt like we’d settled that one ages ago.
I know “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9)… so I stopped and prayed and asked Him to show me if I’d missed anything, just in case. And suddenly I saw a picture in my head. This one:
It’s Cinderella, here a servant / princess-to-be in her palatial home, singing sweetly as she goes about her daily work. And it hit me right between the eyes that it was so not me.
It’s true — I don’t really say no to anything He asks of me. I pretty much do whatever I’m asked to do. But I don’t sing “Sweet Nightingale” while I do it. I grumble and complain a lot. I mutter under my breath. Sometimes out of fear and feelings of inadequacy, sometimes out of frustration and weariness, sometimes just out of habit. Or orneriness. (I admit it’s not very princess-y.)
Like I was watching a Disney movie, I saw myself as a servant in a great castle, hurrying in and out of great rooms, up and down staircases, across courtyards and towers, going about my daily tasks.
I saw myself from the King’s perspective…
I saw that I do some things — the things I want to do — with great energy and enthusiasm and determination. With great focus, great care, and attention to detail. Excellently.
But other things, yeah not so much.
I have my own priorities and sometimes I do things in the order that makes sense to me or with my own sense of urgency — not necessarily that which was given to me.
Sometimes as I’m making my way through the castle, I see things that I think need doing and I add those things to my to-do list (even though they haven’t been officially assigned to me), or I take over other servants’ tasks — either to help them or because they aren’t doing it right (again, without being assigned to) — and then I don’t have the time or the energy to do all the things the King has asked of me. Certainly not cheerfully.
There are days I get distracted and spend long hours staring out the castle window, daydreaming about balls and glass slippers and handsome princes. Or even grand adventures and epic quests. I envy other servants’ assignments, even as I minimize or overlook some of my own.
Sitting with my journal open in front of me, I considered the question of whether I would entrust a servant like me with critically important mission.
When the answer begins, “Well, that depends…” it says it all, really.
I think I should say that lately I’ve been reminded repeatedly — very deeply and personally — of my King’s true love for me. He’s been reminding me of the uniqueness of the way He created me, of the gifts and talents He’s given me, and of His call on my life. And giving it all new meaning.
So I don’t feel condemned by the Cinderella scene… I feel convicted. And yes, grieved. But I asked Him to show me. I wanted to know. It’s the only way I can grow.
There may have been or may yet be times when I struggle to say “Yes!” to Him. But I’m learning that having a willing and obedient heart doesn’t begin and end when that one syllable is uttered.
It’s how I live in the moments afterward.
I say “Yes!” and then I continue to live… love… give… serve …willingly. Faithfully. Joyfully.
So this week I’m determined — by His grace — to grumble and mumble a lot less as I get to work on my chores around the castle. Because I meant it when I said “Yes.” And because I want my service to be an expression of my love for Him.
I’m asking Him to let me know what song He’d like to hear me sing…
* The study question is from Dee Brestin’s Idol Lies.