Radical Obedience

By: Susan Browning

It started in the whisper. A small quiet secret thought in my mind… “what if…?” And then I spoke it out aloud giving wings on the wind of my voice… my soul came alive. This is what I’ve always wanted. but…

Then a few years later, there it was again, “maybe if…?” The wooing of my aching heart to dream a little more. To wander and explore the whisper. This beckoning into unchartered territory. The arrival of this defining moment – to choose: go ahead or stay here, safe. The refining of courage, building a heart of obedience – one yes after another.

I often find my heart here, in that state of uncertain unrest. It’s usually around a decision or moving forward into something I deeply long for, I am found wavering in my trust. Maybe even entertaining fear more-so than faith. Playing out all the what if’s and worst case scenarios. But what if I say yes and it all happened, what if I jumped right in and I survived the impending doom played out in my mind? Or what if instead I say yes but really I mean no, so I don’t follow through?… I mean might not have been directly disobedient, but perhaps partially obedient… I guess you could say that is still disobedience then – right?

The thing is He has invited you and I to co-labour with Him. And I like that – it doesn’t solely rely on me… but I also desperately want that deep connection of creating something together. As it is in Heaven, on earth.

So I decided I am making an ongoing promise to say “Yes” to wherever He leads. The good, the bad and the ugly. A reckoning of some sorts, and a seeding of others. And just like Moses prayed, “I will only go where you go Lord.” I too have prayed this, earnestly for years. But sometimes despite my amazing intentions, actually following through has been tricky, and downright terrifying at times. It’s meant laying down what I thought ‘it’ should be and trusting His plan is ultimately better.

In hindsight the past few years opened doors I never thought possible – we’ve stepped out so much into the unknown: we now support churches worship ministries by worship leading in their homes/school/church/factory/building/park – aka new environments almost weekly – where only a few years ago traveling to new places could bring about a full blown panic attack – I was happy to stay in the safe lane on the same stage with the familiar. We now support worship leaders full time – dreams do come true, I used to doubt my experience had any validity or that I wasn’t enough of an authority on worship, however my experience has taught me I do in fact have something good (even great) to offer and I have had a lot contribute to my growth – my story is worth sharing and others are worth hearing, I’ve learnt the importance of obediently holding space for others and being vulnerable where I would’ve been closed off.

I now run coaching spaces along with workshops – public speaking was a great fear of mine for many years. I am constantly befriending strangers even though I am an introvert and this can drain me, and people are messy – I’ve learnt meeting new people widens my heart and He has crossed our paths for a reason, so now I pay attention. We now have over sixty worship leaders connected together across NSW meeting once a month out of home – creating environments previously non-existent and opportunities to seed into others used to terrify me, and again public speaking/spotlight on me in small spaces. But here we are, seeing the seeds of a farm-stay forming in our every day obedience to keep our home open, in having chickens and a veggie patch, rediscovering baking again. Inviting others into our home, creating space for deep connection and growth – I never knew how much I loved personal growth – it is my jam, I love to study at my own pace constantly learning and adapting the things I learn into my coaching or conversations – I’ve done the hard work and can now hold space for others to do theirs. We now have 2 children – a tough road like many others to arrive at and we make expansive room for a large home life in our week to week… all these things I deep down wanted to do for what seems like an eternity there were obstacles, or fear to overcome. Most of it, in all honest I was simply too scared to step out and into.

I played it safe for a long time in my twenties. Now though, heading into the season of life that presents primary aged children and a returning to who we are at our core; has meant we keep dreaming and believing this adventure is going to go to new levels, and yes, there is a gentle “eeeeek” inside but it is accompanied with a deep river of peace. A yearning for my one life to respond to His whispers, the ones I know will bear incredible fruit if I allow myself to overcome. I didn’t know the small whisper 4 years ago would turn into this amazing life we are living now – and I really do feel like this seems to only be the beginning!

Obedience isn’t new territory. I’ve always wanted my yes to be in tune with His, to have absolute faith He’s going to bring into fruition that which He has awoken in my heart. He’s never let me down. He really hasn’t failed me yet. And He won’t do so for you either. Even when whatever “it” is hasn’t happened the way we thought, His promises still ring true every day, every step, every moment.

This past year has taught me a lot about the desires of our heart matching His, redefining the little things along the way to make the bigger picture come together. What does it look like to walk in obedience? How do we do the thing if it doesn’t look/feel/unfold the way we thought it should/would? Do we just say yes, and lean in? Could it really be that easy? What if…?

These are all valid thoughts, and I know I’m not alone in feeling the fear deep within my bones as we step out. That’s the beauty though, there’s freedom here in His presence to hold those fears and trust He’s got you. It’s okay to take little steps toward instead of leaps and lunges. It’s doing it a little scared. We say “yes” for whatever He says “go” to.

We simply need to remain obedient. He is beautiful in His approach, I’ve found it’s the small whispers – the ones we we lean into – that He will build upon. The more you practice obedience the easier it becomes. Stepping out sometimes looks like saying yes to the new friend who is following you up, maybe even being vulnerable in that relationship. Or it could be applying for the course or job you’ve always wanted but fear got in the way and you talked yourself out of it. Or it could be selling up everything and investing in the thing He’s placed on your heart. Big or small, it’s still faith, it’s still scary, and it still might not pan out how you anticipate. And that’s okay.

All He wants from you is your “yes”… and for you to go where He goes. Because sweet one, He’s already gone before you. He’s already mapped it out. The pressure is off. You’ve got this, because He’s got you.

Until next time… xoxo

Article supplied with thanks to Susan Browning.

About the Author: Susan is a worship leader, vocal coach and mentor encouraging you to be all you can be in fulfilling your purpose.