(Image courtesy of http://internationalfootballschool.com.)

There are many choices we have in life - some start very early in the morning.  Will I choose to hit the snooze button on the alarm or not?  Should I take a shower or just splash some water on my face?  Which shirt should I wear today for work?  What kind of cereal am I going to eat for breakfast?  The decisions are endless.  Yet while many of those types of decisions are small and will not make a huge difference in our lives, there is one choice that will always impact us positively: choosing obedience.

This summer I began applying to numerous jobs in Wisconsin, trying desperately to get back to my homeland - "America's Dairyland"!  I had had enough with my life in Tennessee.  I enjoyed the friends and relationships I had built, but there didn't seem to be a whole lot for me anymore.  I had no promise of a long-lasting dating relationship or a family.  I was living by myself and getting bored of it.  All my family was at least nine hours away.  (The closest family I have is actually in Louisiana.)  Without even asking God what He wanted me to do, I began selfishly - and desperately - applying to jobs in Wisconsin.

To my delight, I received several calls and emails from potential employers.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, however, since I applied to over twenty-five openings.  I had a few interviews over the summer, but nothing came of them.  I began to get a little discouraged, but then I decided to pray more fervently, asking God to make it clear to me what I should do.  Honestly, even though I wanted to get back to Wisconsin, I didn't feel much peace about my decision.  I was using so much energy - and gas money! - to drive ten hours or more for interviews and was still not sensing I was doing the right thing.  But I persisted.

And so did God.

Finally, in June, I had a phone interview with a principal at a high school about forty minutes away from where I grew up.  I would have the opportunity to teach English and coach football.  Plus, I had found a nice four acre home just outside the village online that looked perfect for settling down.  Even better was the fact that the interview went really well.  I was relaxed, confident, and felt comfortable with the principal and his staff.  At the end of the interview he asked me if I would be fully committed to taking the job if it was offered to me.  At that moment, I suddenly hesitated.  I could hear faintly, but distinctly, a voice in the back of my head whispering, "No."  But out of my mouth I said, "Yes."

Over the next couple weeks, I had a few more conversations with the principal.  For some odd reason, he kept asking me the same question: "I just want to be sure: Are you 100% committed to teaching here?"  Every time I felt the same resistance in my answer: "Yes."  Even after I was offered the job verbally and accepted, there was simply no peace in my decision.

I knew God was telling me, "Not now.  Just wait.  I have something else for you."  But stubbornly, I wanted to get the heck out of Tennessee and move on to other things in life.  I wanted desperately to find a girl, get married, have a family, and start the next season of our lives together, something I just didn't see happening in Tennessee.

It took every once of fortitude I had in me to call the principal the day before my contract was to be officially signed and tell him I couldn't take the job.  I didn't expect him to understand, and I doubt he did fully.  In fact, I doubt I did fully.  I just knew that obedience toward God was going to produce the best things for me and those around me.  It didn't make sense at the time, but I am already beginning to see the fruits of my obedience to Him (perhaps I will share about these "fruits" in a later post).

The beautiful thing about obedience is that it produces much joy and peace in one's soul.  Those deep-rooted "feelings" are exactly what my soul knew when I declined to take the job I had dreamed of earlier.  I now find myself looking at my life in Tennessee through a new set of lenses, knowing without a doubt that this is where God has me for this time in my short, fleeting life.

God is a stickler for obedience.  But it is not because He is an angry, power-hungry dictator.  It is because He is good and His path of obedience always leads to blessing.  When we walk in obedience to God, we bring glory to God because we are fulfilling His promise in our lives.  Praise God that He desires to use us to bring Him glory!

Choose obedience today!  Take that leap of faith and choose to follow Him!

"If you tell God no because He won't explain the reason He wants you to do something, you are actually hindering His blessing. But when you say yes to Him, all of heaven opens to pour out His goodness and reward your obedience. What matters more than material blessings are the things He is teaching us in our spirit" (Charles Stanley).