My name is Liz…and I’m addicted to obedience. I want it, I need it, I desire it, I crave it . Every minute of every day I seek to grow stronger in my obedience to God. But I didn’t start out this way. The Lord had to do a major work in me to get me to where I am–and let’s be honest, it's an ongoing process.
As I shared in a previous blog post, my marriage was the result of disobedience. There are so many people and ways He used to get me to wake up to the reality that this relationship was just not fit for me, but due to a poor self-image, low self-esteem, and virtually no self-love, I continued to ignore all of the signs and told myself that I could be the one to change him–to mold him into the man that I saw he had the potential to be. How delusional I was!
In all seriousness, I did not realize it back then, but the more I ignored God’s warning signs, the more lost I became. A pivotal moment for me was Christmas morning in 2020. My son was 18 months old and it was exciting that this year he actually understood the concept of presents. We watched his excitement as he tore through wrapping paper. The best was seeing how his precious little face lit up each time anything dinosaur related was unveiled. Naturally, like any mom/parent, I wanted to take a family photo, making sure to get all the beautiful holiday decor I had spent my hard-earned money on at Hobby Lobby into the shot. We snapped a few photos, some of just my son, some with the three of us, and also some solo shots of me. While a Christmas movie was playing in our family room, I had this moment where I looked down at the screen of my phone to look at the pictures, and I noticed... something.
Something just was not quite right with my face. My eyes seemed dark and lifeless. My smile- strained and disingenuous. I could not stop staring at my eyes. My, how they had changed. They appeared sunken down and heavy. I didn’t recognize the girl looking back at me. It looked like she had been through the wringer. Like she was in desperate need of a lifesaver. Like she was drowning in hopelessness and despair, yet trying to put on a brave face and make it seem like everything was alright. She felt sad, alone, trapped.
What were the causes of my fall into the abyss you might ask? Over-performance, operating too heavily in my masculine energy, refusing to ask for help, lack of discernment, and lack of wise counsel. All of these were symptoms to an even greater sickness, though–the spiritual sickness that we agree to submit to when we become content with a lukewarm relationship with God.
I was totally disconnected and it was starting to show itself not only in my life and relationships, but also in the mirror. Disconnection and space from God opens up the floodgates for the enemy, Hell, and all its minions to have free rein to wreak havoc in your life. You allow this. You give them permission when you make the choice to detach from the vine.
God is the vine. He is our source. He is the source. Apart from Him, we are nothing.
If you are having any trouble wrapping your head around that, may I present for your consideration a visual representation of the importance of such connection, by borrowing from the epic blockbuster film Avatar, directed by James Cameron. If you are not familiar with the film (I’m slightly judging you), it’s your classic indigenous peoples vs. hostile colonizers plot, except that the place–named Pandora–that they are attempting to colonize is actually on another planet with an alien race of blue people called the Na’vi.
One of the soldiers (Jake Sully) is sent on a secret mission to act as a spy by gathering intelligence that can be used against the Na’vi–but that plan backfires when he gets caught up & falls in love not only with the place, but its people. He develops a romantic relationship with the princess of the Na’vi–the beautiful & fearless Neytiri and ends up betraying his own people so he can work with the Na’vi to defend their homeland.
There’s a scene when Jake is taken to The Tree of Souls, a sacred place for the Na’vi. The Tree of Souls allows them to have a direct line to their deity, Eywa or Great Mother. Eywa interacts with the world through the seeds of the tree. She can “communicate” with the Na’vi through her root fibers when they make physical contact with the tree, creating a neural link.
This sacred tree is their direct link to Eywa–their creator, their god. The destruction of such a cultural and religious emblem would devastate the people and leave them with a sense of emptiness and hopelessness.
Eywa and The Tree of Souls reminded me of this passage of scripture:
The Very Tree of Life
You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom, when you make friends with Madame Insight. She’s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary. Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. With one hand she gives long life, with the other she confers recognition. Her manner is beautiful, her life, wonderfully complete. She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her. Hold her tight—and be blessed!
(Proverbs 13-18 MSG)
Isn’t it interesting that everything, even mainstream blockbuster films can be used as a compass to point us back to God?
When I think back to that moment of recognition on Christmas morning, it was a realization of the fact that I had the same feelings of emptiness and hopelessness that the Na’vi people were fighting to avoid. However, it was not the tree of souls that I had become detached from, but rather, The Tree of Life. This detachment threw my life into a tailspin due to the fact that I was now shooting with no target to aim at. I was a ship floating aimlessly across a vast ocean with no destination. I was lost.
When we lose our connection, we lose our access–to wisdom, health, happiness, joy, peace, clarity and direction. Oftentimes, we do not even notice when the void begins to form because we become so wrapped up in everything else but God’s good and perfect will for our lives.
But ain't it good to know that the setbacks that God used help to set us up for purpose?
Going through that season where I felt despondent, forlorn and like my sins and life choices were irredeemable helped provide the perfect environment and stage for God to show out! I basically had to reach rock bottom so that 2 Corinthians 12:9 could be fulfilled in my life.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Most people focus on the first part of the verse, but I love the second half: Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. I have lived, seen, and experienced the goodness of God and everyday He continues to show up in my life, placing me on a path better than anything I could have ever thought up for myself. And how lucky am I that now, I get to boast, and tell anyone willing to listen of all the great things He has done in my life.
This is why I am addicted to obedience.
God gave me the opportunity to establish a re-connection. I was able to access and communicate without any hindrances to my neural link to The Creator of the universe. I’m so thankful everyday that He did, because my life was completely changed. He was able to do a deep soul cleansing–healing me of past wounds, traumas, triggers, and insecurities. He set me free!
I will never stop boasting about just how good He is.
But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Try it on for size and see what mighty things He can do in your life. I promise you won’t regret it! And maybe, just maybe you’ll become an obedience addict like me.