Every single day, I let my dog out to use the restroom in our backyard. However, I don't like to keep her out there too long because our fence isn't what we call ~stable~ and I'm constantly afraid of her getting out and running away. So, after about 20-30 minutes, I call her name. One of three things happen.
1. I call her name and she comes running.
In this situation, she bolts up our backyard stairs and is running with excitement towards me as fast as she possibly can. It's so easy for her to recognize my voice and come back inside to our home where I think it's safe.
2. I call her name, but she looks at me and goes back to the yard.
Possible situation number 2 means that she hears my voice, but chooses to keep playing in the backyard and barking at strangers. It usually takes me pouring food into her bowl for her to want to come back inside- so yes, I bribe my dog.
3. I go downstairs and get her.
When I have to go downstairs and get her, I've tried calling her name several times and the food bribe. Basically, her stubborn "I'm a big girl now" energy comes out to play and I have to physically walk down the stairs, give her pets, and then walk up the stairs with her.
After doing this for quite a while, I've realized something about God. In this case, I am Libby, and God is the authority figure trying to get me to listen to Him.
Usually, one of three things happen between me and God.
1. I hear God's voice clearly.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27
In this scenario, I usually feel like my heart is aligning with God's heart and I hear His voice undoubtedly. I'm usually spending daily time with Jesus and I know that He is the creator of my heart and my good Father.
2. I hear God's voice and ignore it.
"Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." John 8:47
I'm not going to lie, sometimes at the moment, it feels really good to do the complete opposite of what God's will for your life is. But then, immediately afterward, I regret it.
3. The Lord has to come and rescue me or take something away from me
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21
I sometimes need to be physically removed from what is causing me to not listen. Sometimes the Lord prunes people, things, or places from me against my will, and the only choice I have is to listen to Jesus. It's what I would describe as "rock bottom" or "riding the struggle bus" and at the end of that season, I realize that praising Jesus is the only way to be satisfied. However, God had to take me out of the place that I thought I wanted to be for me to realize that He is eternally better.