Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bold obedience

Shannan's post from yesterday got me thinking about rebellious boldness versus obedient boldness. Judging by my actions, I think most people would classify me as obedient, but I've always been more of a rebel at heart. Especially as a teenager, I got a thrill from toeing the line a little and watching people's shocked but awed reactions. I've often admired those who break the rules more than those who always do what they're told.

But obedience is something to be admired, as well. It's crucial for soldiers to follow orders in battle, even if they don't fully understand or agree with them. It's a required skill if you want to keep your job, stay out of jail, and earn the trust of your superiors.

Despite this, the cool factor of obedience isn't nearly as high as rebellion. Some would even argue that to obey is weak—that by doing someone else's will, you're diminishing your own agency.

That might be true if obedience were always easy, but it's not. It's hard to obey rules you don't understand. It's hard to obey the counsel of your leaders when no one else does. It's hard to obey when you stick out like a sore thumb if you do so.

Obedience requires humility and strength of character—humility to accept that someone else understands the bigger picture better than you do, and the strength of character to withstand the ridicule that often comes with choosing the less cool option. It's not the flashy, exciting kind of boldness, but it requires bravery all the same.

This is part of a 31-day series on bold living. The index is still here.

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