When I was in high school, I worked at JC Penney in the men's underwear department (that could be a whole different post). One of my co-workers was a real sweet girl named JoAnn. Jo Ann was my age, and nice and kind and made really good choices. I didn't. (Again, a whole different post (smile)). For the past couple of Sunday's, I've seen Jo Ann at our church. I've wanted to go up and say hello to her....but then I always chicken out. Will she remember me? If so, what will she remember about me? (I knew Jo Ann before I knew Jesus). Will she be kind? Will she reject me?? Each Sunday when I see her, I always think, "Well, I'll just say hi to her next time." - but then I always have an excuse why the "next time" isn't the right time either, and walk right on by.
The other night I was at Target buying laundry detergent, when guess who I see?? Jo Ann. Oh boy, this is it. It's time. Time to go over, get past my face turning beet red, and say hello. But she looks so focused, I tell myself. And I do have a lot to do before I get home to my sick kids. I purchase my cleaning products and head right on out.
In the parking lot, I'm struck by my disobedience. I chickened out again. Here I want to pray big prayers and help do big things for the Kingdom - and I can't even say hello to sweet, kind Jo Ann. I confess, repent, and promise the Lord next time I really will say hello to her. Promise.
I head to Meijers to get some fresh fruit and groceries. I'm not there 10 minutes, when guess who walks in?? Jo Ann. I am so tempted to keep walking, but something in me heads straight over to her (before I can change my mind). "Hi Jo Ann - it's Cindy Stille - remember me??" "Oh Cindy" she says, giving me a big hug, "of course I remember you. How are you??!!". Our conversation couldn't have been sweeter. We chatted nearly 30 minutes in the Meijer grocery aisle...about JC Penney days, our familys, our church. Life in general. I shared with her how I now know Jesus. She wonders if she could have been a better witness. I assure her that she did reflect Him well, I just wasn't ready. We talked on and on and on. It was an amazing, up lifting conversation!!
I left Meijers that night so full of joy!! After a long, exhausting, draining day with sick kids, the Lord encouraged me through an old friend from high school days. If I would have chickened out again, I would have missed it. There is blessing on the other side of obedience!!
Will this happen every time? Nope, not necessarily. Jo Ann could have not remembered me, or judged me, or been to busy to chat. There are no guarantees. The only guarantee is that the Lord is pleased with our obedience to Him.
What about for you? Is there something (big or small) that the Lord has been asking you to do?? What is getting in your way? Is it time for you to face your fears and press on towards obedience? I'd love to hear more about it!!
Let's pray: Dear God, Thank You for gently leading and guiding us in all things. Please give us ears to hear Your still, small voice and the courage to obey. Thank You for Your patience with us (and Your grace). Keep us close to You, I pray. In Jesus Name. Amen.