There are two things that I am very squeamish about; gums and toenails. If you have to have surgery on your teeth and need stitches on your gums, please don’t tell me. If you have an ingrown toenail, a missing toenail or you want me to watch that commercial with a cartoon toe wearing a football helmet promoting cream for toenail fungus because you think it’s funny, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore. So imagine my dismay on Christmas Eve when I had to trim the broken and deformed toenail of my inner city orphan buddy. Not the Norman Rockwell picture I had in my mind of what my holiday would entail.
When God calls us to something we must get out of our heads that that something is going to be lovely, popular, logical or glamorous. Does this make us want God to call us to something? Absolutely not. Does our desire or lack thereof to be obedient make it okay to disobey God? Absolutely not. I am learning with our inner city friend and with many aspects of life that my propensity to do life as a Christ follower with unrealistic expectations inevitably leads to disappointment, frustration and anger. Rarely do I view my calling through what the Bible tells me life will be like (in this life you will have trouble, don’t worry about tomorrow because today will be rotten enough). Instead I think my calling will look like a made for TV movie where I am played by Lucy Lu and my inner city boy is played by Jaden Smith. The movie ends with Jaden telling Lucy that she has exemplified what it means to love like Jesus did and Jaden grows up and becomes president. But toenails? C’mon.
But that is the reality of following Jesus. Most of what God calls me to does not give me warm fuzzies or great personal satisfaction. Usually I do not even get to see what the point of my obedience was. Yet because I have been called to it by Jesus Christ (who didn’t have warm fuzzies when he died on a cross for you and me), I must choose. Will I obey the people, places and toenails God calls me to? Will I trust and obey knowing that no matter how much I have to endure in the name of obedience, Christ had to endure so much more? Learning to be obedient isn’t pretty or easy but I am slowly beginning to learn to lower my selfish and grandiose rainbow colored expectations and just go wherever God is leading me.
“God, thank you that I survived trimming Polo’s toenails. Thank you that you are showing me that sometimes we have to wash one another’s feet just like you did. Thank you that heebie-jeebies or not, the outcome of being obedient to You always means love in a greater capacity. Thank you for continuing to be patient with me as I learn, complain and feel sorry for myself. And thank you that although obedience isn’t fun or usually even desirable, you are teaching me that disobedience in light of why you came to earth, isn’t an acceptable option. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”