I learned something really interesting about obedience in the last few weeks. It isn't enough to simply be obedient to the will of God if you are doing so grudgingly and letting everyone know how burdensome doing God's will is for you. This kind of obedience isn't true obedience. That kind of obedience never really leads to true peace.
If you grudgingly offer to do God's will. then let everyone know just how burdensome that effort is for you your submission to the will of God borders on back patting and vainglory.
God wants us to surrender, but God wants that surrender to be willing, self giving surrender. We have to make the decision, after looking at whatever situation we are faced with, and decide for ourselves that God's plan is right and follow it willingly, peacefully and humbly. Any other submission on our part really isn't true submission, but to some extent is a way to hold back some control on our part. In a way we are saying "I'll do this, but I won't like it." or "I'll go along with your plan but it is never going to work out." Either of these responses will in some respect have to have a negative effect on the outcome of our submission. At least that is what I have found in my own life.
True obedience takes a few steps: First I have to admit that God has a plan for my life; and whether I like it or not, God's plan may not look at all like the plan I have made for my future.
Next, I have to admit that no matter how much I want my life to work out the way I had it planned, even if what I am planning to do is something that I think might come to a good end or be good in the long run, to stick with my plan would be a form of disobedience to God's will.
I need to be willing to admit that God's plan is the one that I should follow, and follow it willingly, meekly and at least without grumbling to everyone who will listen ( and some who don't even care to listen) that I am grudgingly doing God's will, patting myself on the back the entire time.
When I follow these steps in my life, the obedience doesn't get easier, but the humility makes for a greater sense of peace. I begin to see that maybe God's plan makes sense. Maybe there is a way ahead of me that I couldn't even see because I was so determined to make my life work out exactly as I had it planned. At the same time it no longer matters to me what the world thinks about how my life looks, or how successful I may seem in the eyes of the world, because I know that I am doing God's will, and that is enough for me.
When we surrender to God's will, get that sense of peace that surpasses all understanding, then we can move into areas where we might not have gone on our own. We are more willing to allow God's plan to unfold before us and show us a way to live that is radically dependant upon God, and totally free at the same time.
What a concept.