Jan 14, 2014

Close Enough

Close enough is OK when you're describing an event but miss a few details.

Close enough is OK when you're parallel parking.

Close enough is even OK when you're hanging a picture and you're not quite at the center of the wall.

But close enough is not OK when it comes to obeying God.

Last night I put the finishing touches on my submission for a book contest. As I read my entry for the last time, I paused at the line, "written in short chapters for people who don't like to read." Wow, really? Writing a book for people who don't like to read? They'll think that's crazy. I know it was the Lord who told me to write books for people who don't like to read...but they don't need to know that. 

What about, "written in short chapters for people who don't have much time to read?" That made much more sense, and it's a more acceptable reason. And it's close enough to what the Lord told me. Change made, I sent it in.

First thing on my mind when I woke up this morning: changing that sentence. Immediately following that thought, a question: but so what, Lord? It's such a small change, isn't it close enough? Do they really care, one way or another?

They may not care, but I do. It's not what I told you to say.

Yes, it's a small thing. And yes, it probably didn't matter to the quality of the overall entry. But since it was directly disobedient to what God told me, I had to correct it. I changed my wording back to the original, and sent in my revised entry.

And God wasn't done with me yet.

I talked to a friend of mine on the way into work this morning. As I pulled into my parking space at 7:55, I let her know I was at work and had to go. She was talking about an incident with her neighbor, and sharing prayer needs. I really wanted to get into work because I had a busy day, but she was still going into the details of her story. 

After a few minutes, I finally cut her off with, "I'm sorry, but I've really got to run because I have a meeting at 8 o'clock."  So we quickly said good-bye and I went into work.

Only one small problem: I didn't have a meeting at 8 o'clock. Well, I had work to do and had scheduled that time for a particular task. Wasn't that close enough?

No, I lied. Whatever the reason and whatever the motive, a lie is a lie. Even after a fresh lesson on obeying in the small things, I quickly and easily blurted out a lie to make myself sound more acceptable. Again. How quickly I fell.

But God! He's always there with forgiveness, correction, and courage to do the right thing...if only we are willing to reject close enough and obey Him.

I texted my friend, explained that I didn't really have a meeting but just wanted to get into work, and asked for her forgiveness. She understood. She forgave me. Yes, she's a good friend, and I'm thankful for her.

And I'm thankful for my Father who cares enough about me to teach me and correct me in the little things...and that I'm close enough to hear His voice when He does.

TODAY'S CHALLENGE: What "little thing" came to mind when you read this where you thought you were close enough but now realize you were disobedient?


  1. Good post, Mary. And I confess I've used similar excuses to make a graceful exit. It took a lot of courage and humility to own up and ask her forgiveness. Your words reminded me of one of my sayings, "Partial obedience isn't obedience." You either obey fully or you don't. No such thing as "close enough"

    1. Amen, Susan - no gray area with obedience. Thank you for your comment!


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