“What?! Why are you writing about Lidocaine?”, you may be asking. This might seem silly, but coming from the daughter of a dentist, and someone who also managed her brother’s dental office for a couple years, Lidocaine was the first thing that came to mind when I was thinking about this post. You are possibly wondering, “What is Lidocaine”? It is a numbing agent which can be used both topically or as an injection to deaden specific parts of the body. You see, just as Lidocaine is a numbing agent used to mask pain, there are distractions, tendencies I have developed in my own life which numb my growth and my relationship with the Lord, ultimately affecting my ability to hear Him speak clearly. I met with a friend this past week and she reminded me of something:
“What you do doesn’t change how God feels about you, it changes how you feel about Him.”
Yes, I have free will (Galatians 5:13) and, thankfully, I can’t earn my salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), but with my free will, sometimes I chose to numb myself which stunts my growth. Growth can sometimes be uncomfortable, and when it is, I find my “Lidocaine” to numb the growth. What does that look like? For me, it is entertainment: TV shows, music, magazines or anything else that take my thoughts away from my current reality. I use these distractions to numb my mind, instead of seeking the Lord to guide me through my circumstances. Are those things bad? Not necessarily, but right now they are directly affecting my obedience.
The Lord has been asking me to change my patterns and behaviors to increase my growth, but I still numb myself with “Lidocaine” in the evenings when I stay up too late watching TV. The problem is, it doesn’t just affect my bedtime, it also impacts the time I wake up the next morning, which typically makes me feel rushed, and keeps me from spending quiet time with the Lord before I start my day. When I jump out of bed and straight into daily demands and responsibilities, I have a tendency to rely on my flesh to make decisions instead of being still before the Lord and allowing Him to direct. I find my behavior more controlling and anxious as opposed to relaxed and peaceful. Obviously, day in and day out, the cycle starts to compound on itself and it doesn’t just impact me, but everyone I come in contact with during day. That is why the Lord is asking me to be obedient and STOP with the Lidocaine.
Why is obedience so important? I just started a new study – Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer and in the first lesson, she referenced the relationship between a football coach and his quarterback. If the coach is calling the plays, but the quarterback ignores his voice and does his own thing, then there is chaos and confusion on the field. When the quarterback listens, and essentially obeys the coach, the result is harmony, fulfillment and victory. Our walk with God is the same. The problem lies with our obedience. If we aren’t obedient, it is harder to hear the coach calling the plays because we are too occupied by our own thoughts, trying to call our next play.
Connection between obedience and hearing God
- Psalm 25:14: “The secret counsel of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he reveals his covenant to them.”
- John 7:17: “If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.”
- John 14:21: “The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
As obvious as those verses make the connection between obedience and hearing God, why do I struggle to obey? I obviously want to hear God speak and give me direction…but obedience is so hard at times! In trying to pinpoint what keeps me from wanting to obey, I came up with a few excuses:
- Laziness: sometimes it is easier to just turn on TV, throw in the headphones or mindlessly flip through a magazine.
- Stubbornness: God, I hear what you are telling me to do, but I just don’t feel like taking that next step. I am comfortable right here.
- Peer pressure: God, if I actually follow through with what you are asking me to do, I might damage a relationship or worse I might be judged.
- Impatience with God’s timing: But God, I want the result RIGHT NOW! Why would I wait on you if I can figure out a way to get what I want immediately.
- Disappointment in God because of previous experiences: Umm, God, I was obedient when you asked me to do something outside of my comfort zone previously and I was emotionally broken and steamrolled during that season of life. Why would I risk putting myself in that situation again?
But I have to continually remind myself that Jesus was obedient, Philippians 2:8, “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross.” and also, “he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15.
Obedience is the key that unlocks all of the blessings (victories) God intends for us and keeps the door of communication with Him clear and continually open. (Discerning the Voice of God)
I will leave you on an uncomfortable note. As the Lord has been convicting me about my continued pattern to unwind and numb myself with TV each evening before bed, He reiterated himself with a dream (because I haven’t been obedient to the change my behavior). If you remember what I wrote about in my Popcorn post, this dream was similar, but instead of choking on popcorn, this time I was choking on canned dog food. Really?! Unfortunately, yes. The Lord revealed to me the next morning, there is NO nutrition in canned dog food. When I continue to numb myself with entertainment, I am filling myself with zero nutrients. I am essentially starving myself and then wondering why my growth, my walk with the Lord, is coming to a halt. Why, all of a sudden, am I having trouble discerning His voice? It’s all because of the Lidocaine, it’s my own fault, because I am not acting in obedience!