Tests of Obedience: Another â€œChristianâ€ Concept that Still Plagues Me
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.
Maybe it was too many Southern Baptist ministers who preached Â that women Â must Â â€œsubmitâ€ Â and Â â€œobeyâ€ Â their Â husbands. Maybe it was having big brothers so much older than me who would tickle-torture me if Â I Â didnâ€™t do comply with their bellowed orders to â€œObey me!â€ In any case, something turned me against the idea of â€œobedienceâ€ and testing when I was very young.
Thatâ€™s not saying that I wasnâ€™t an obedient child. My father was never known to spare the rod. Ever.
And if I should ever marry again, Iâ€™ll probably leave out the Â love-honor-obey thing again, too. Unless my guy wants to take that vow Â himself! Okay, I joke about it, but if he has to â€œobeyâ€ rather than do something for me because he wants to, I donâ€™t really want his â€œobedience.â€ Â That would feel more like raping him emotionally.
I recently did something I really didnâ€™t want to do. My closest friends worried about my decision to do it and worried, too, about my physical safety and emotional security. My friends who werenâ€™t quite as close told me I was a fool to do it.
After it was over with, a Christian friend said she interpreted it Â as a test of obedience. Would I do something I felt God wanted me to do even though I didnâ€™t want to do it?
Itâ€™s funny what that word brought up for me. Obedience. A test of obedience. As a convert from Christianity to Wicca, the idea of a â€œtest of obedienceâ€ has such negative connotations.
And yet, my Wiccan friends have similar feelings but more palatable (to me) words. They call it a â€œchallengeâ€ instead of a â€œtest.â€ (I donâ€™t knowâ€”tests always remind me of red ink and my little straight-A Â eyes scanning a returned test paper in utter stomach-knotting terror to Â glean a single red minus that might disappoint my mommy and daddy!)
No matter how hard it was or how much I didnâ€™t want to do it, I still felt that Spirit was leading me to do this thing. Leading. Not pushing. Not requiring. I still had a choice. I still could have said no and it would have been okay. The situation would Â have Â resolved Â with Â someone Â elseâ€™s Â involvement, Â not mine. If I did it, there were lessons there for me. If I declined, there were lessons there for me.
But I had the feeling that following through with what I was asked to do would be good in some way, that I would be protected, that all Â would be well. I definitely felt the hand of Spirit in it, taking me in that direction if I chose to go.
So was it a test of obedience or a challenge of my faith in connection with Spirit?
The outcome was the sameâ€”itâ€™s all in the way itâ€™s interpreted. Hmmm, just like I believe most religions go back to the same Higher Power but itâ€™s interpreted differently.