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Archive for October 9th, 2008

Obedience

I am a very stubborn person. One could use the term “mule-headed” and not be far off the mark. I’m not usually very vocal about my stubbornness, but it shows nonetheless.

Last week my husband and I were at loggerheads. I’ve not been happy with my job, and wanted to get hired on at the university. Since I’m planning to go to grad school and get a M.A. in History, it seemed logical. The position I wanted over there paid what I’m currently making, and various factors would actually have me netting more money. Then after a year, the half-price tuition would make going to graduate school a lot more affordable. I listed out all the pros and cons of both going there and staying where I am. It was obvious. It made no sense to stay in my current job. None whatsoever.

So when I told my husband about it, he told me that he felt I need to stay where I am. I was seriously upset. We argued back and forth for days about it. He was out of town, so the arguing took place over IM, which helped a little bit. I felt that he wasn’t listening to me, because how could he listen to my well-reasoned logic and not agree with me? He felt that I wasn’t listening to him. The fact is, I believe, that both of us were listening to each other but not hearing each other. Finally he agreed to pray about it once more, and I agreed to pray as well. The next day I woke up feeling that I should make my points again, calmly, and then follow his counsel for me. When we started IMing, we were both pretty calm. He asked for some information that he had not requested before, and I could tell that he was paying attention to me. But then his final counsel was the same: stay where I am. I cried, I was so frustrated. I told him that I was going to follow his counsel, but that I didn’t agree with him. His response was that I should just do what I wanted, then, and we got a little angry with each other before things finally settled down.

I will confess that once I let go of that other option, I did feel a lot better and more peaceful about staying in my current position. And some things have happened in the last couple of days that give me hope that this position will turn out to be a lot more challenging and interesting than it has ever looked like it could become in the 3 years I’ve been here.

What does all that have to do with the price of tea in China, you may be asking. This weekend was general conference, and I watched 3 of the 4 general sessions (our electricity was out on Saturday afternoon, so I missed that session). And while I watched, I was pondering a lot of things. I remembered Bishop H. telling me that a lot of things boil down to obedience. I thought of myself tearfully asking my husband why I couldn’t change jobs, and his not having an answer. The fact is that just as I have to trust that Heavenly Father knows what’s best for me, He’s not always going to tell me why. I have to trust and obey.

My husband holds the priesthood. He and I won’t agree on everything. There are some matters that are small and relatively insignificant, and our disagreement doesn’t mean I can’t go ahead and do what I want. But there are matters that are large, and have the potential to impact our family in a serious way, and in those cases, I feel that I should humble myself and follow his counsel. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with him when I make that decision. It does mean, though, that I recognize his authority as a priesthood holder, and I’m willing to submit to that authority because I believe that he genuinely seeks the counsel of the Lord in these matters. He loves me, and he wants me to be happy. So if he tells me that he feels it’s better for me to take a course of action after he’s prayed over it, and after I’ve prayed over it, well, we can’t both be right, now can we?

The Book of Mormon talks about some people being stiff-necked. I think of that as being proud and stubborn, unwilling to bow their heads to Heavenly Father, unwilling to get on their knees and pray and humbly accept His counsel. I don’t want to be stiff-necked. I want to find the better way in this life, and live in a way that will bring peace to my heart and my home. It’s hard sometimes, at least, hard to get started. Once I do, though, I do get that feeling of peace and calmness, and it’s lovely. I’m tired of kicking against the pricks. It’s time to obey. I don’t have to know all the whys and wherefores; I just have to trust. I can do that.

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