What Happens When You Ignore God?

Have you ever sensed God ask you to do something you’d rather not? And what happens when you ignore God? It’s never pretty, is it?

I had an idea. I knew it wasn’t mine because I would have rather eaten dirt, but the thing dogged me like a little kid pestering me for ice cream.

As I wrestled with the thought, Dad got released from the hospital and my crazy world fell into a new normal. But I refused to talk about it, not to God or anybody else. The last thing I wanted to do was say it out loud, give it legs to stand on.

You see, before God became a part of my life, I believed He’d make me do things I didn’t want to. That’s why I steered clear, but I’ve learned a few things since then.

In another post, I mentioned the Myers-Briggs test. If you’ve never taken it, it’s fascinating. It pegs us into one of 16 personality types, either as an introvert or extrovert; sensor or intuitive; thinker or feeler; and perceiver or judger.

I’m a judger. One way you can tell is to look at my desk. It’s neat. If it isn’t, I get the heebeejeebees.

Dad’s a perceiver. Nothing wrong with that, but stuff covers his desk, the floor of his office, his whole house. It needed an overhaul before anyone from home health care could see it. 

So, it’s a good thing I clean when life gets crazy. With all the unknowns, cleaning was something I could control. I had piles going upstairs and coming down.

As I saw the change in the house, I felt a difference inside, but I didn’t have total peace. 

Why? I was skipping prayer time. I justified all the work that needed doing, but really, it’s because I knew God wanted to show me something I didn’t want to see.

In an assessment with a nurse, I twitched, “Think he needs full-time?”

“No,” she assured me. “He’s not there yet.”

Whe-e-e-e-w! With a smile on my face, I booked my ticket to Oregon but . . . was that wise?

  • First, I spotted a coyote running from our yard, right past Marshall’s favorite place. God, please don’t let anything happen to Dad’s cat.
The loudest meow-er ever!
  • Next, my cousin had to take a sledgehammer to the doorknob I’d tried to fix in order to get the door open. 
  • Then I climbed into my sister’s hot tub. The jets got stuck in the on position. I’ll spare you the visual of the end of that story.
  • That’s when I found I had a herniated disk. I guess my body’s not used to all this physical labor.

Usually, I’d have walked through all of the above with God. When I hang with Him, He works all things together for good just like He promises in the Bible (Romans 8:28).

When I fly solo, I accumulate lists like this.

So after all the times God’s come through for me, why didn’t I grab a cup of tea, sit down, and chat?

Good question.

Instead, I whined and called it prayer. Rather than listen, I copied the girl at the top of this page . . . and wondered why I couldn’t hear God!

There I stood, with my fingers in my ears, asking God a question. 

Finally, I came clean. “If I listen to You, I’ll feel obligated to do what You ask, guilty if I don’t.”

As He taught me this lesson, I felt an internal nudge, the kind I’d learned to attribute to God. “Walk that old lady across the street.” 

“What if she wallops me with her purse?”

A moment passed. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I begged, “Ok Lord, go ahead, make me do it!”

That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, I won’t.” 

Turns out, we really do get to choose whether we follow God or not.

I think He longs for relationship because He loves us, but who would want someone hanging out with them just because they had to?

As I thought about all this, I remembered what happens when I follow God. His solutions defy my own abilities. He takes everyone and everything into consideration and does cool things through me. As I yield, He makes me look really good

When I do my own thing, I am capable of making huge messes, like with my sister’s hot tub.

This morning, I looked out the window and saw the slightest tinge of color on the leaves. A sign, the season’s changing.

I just need a straight jacket for my mind to help me focus on God, even though I want to hear. 

I softened to the idea as I clicked on this youtube. Weeping, I jammed to the song:

Sing it with me? Boston, you’re my home!

I’m still not super excited, but as I plan to move home, I keep repeating, “God, I can’t wait to see what You’re going to do with that!”

Photo by Raphael Rychetsky

What about you? I would love, love, love to hear your answer to this question . . .

What keeps you from following God?

Related Post: This Is What Happens When You Get Hacked

And, How Can I Pray for You?

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  1. ▶️Hey Liz,

    It was so awesome to hear from you! I have always thought about you and the great memories we made as kids! My parents loved you and never stopped asking for updates on your missionary commitment.

    To be honest, YOU have been a huge inspiration to me in so many ways! You thanked ME for the encouragement, emphasizing COURAGE . . . you underestimate the gift of COURAGE God has given you!

    I’ve always admired the courage you had to follow God’s leading and GO wherever he led, to foreign countries for such long periods of time. Your unwavering obedience to God’s will for your life has ALWAYS been a VERY PRESENT inspiration in my life! And I am certain that there are many others you have affected that you don’t even realize.

    God would bring to mind your COURAGE whenever I had a scary choice to make—one of the most important choices being the CHOICE to care for my parents when they could no longer do it themselves. Every step was swamped with the presence of God and showered with blessings and amazing miracles!

    1. Other people recommended that I moderate these comments in order to protect the site from someone saying mean things or adding inappropriate pictures.

      When I first read this comment, I was tempted to withhold it because it seemed like I was tooting my own horn by posting it. But I want to let everyone say what they want so long as it’s not harmful to another.

      Thank you, Judy, for the compliments.

      After I decided to include them, I remembered that Judy’s the one who shared the gospel with me as we lay in bed one night trying to go to sleep. I think we were 7 or 8. At Vacation Bible School, her mother taught me, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).

      I made Jesus my Savior by believing in Him, but I didn’t start living for Him, making Him my Lord, until I was stuck at sea in the Caribbean. At 26, I worked on a sailboat. We had 5’ of water in the keel and that highly motivated me to pray, “God, I’ll live for You if You save me.”

      He did and I wrote a book about it. Now I’m trying to figure out how to publish it. Anyway, I love how God does what only He can through us—through Judy, through her Mom, and through me.

      This conversation is another picture of that.

  2. ▶️After 10 years, I emerged a new and better person! My husband accepted the Lord! My children were radically impacted and blessed through it all. My oldest son gave his life to the Lord and is now an active and committed lover and follower of Christ both in and out of the church! And I came to know Christ in a more intimate way than I ever have!

    He also gave me something I never realized I needed and will TREASURE for the rest of my life. He gave me the opportunity to spend the most precious years of my parents’ lives with them, by their side, making their final time on earth as joyful and peaceful as possible. I gained a much better understanding of the fear, the sadness, and the pain that comes with becoming elderly and having dementia . . . at times, it broke my heart. But knowing I was able to give them that feeling of peace and safety, of being loved unconditionally, was so healing even for me! I don’t know how I would have dealt with their deaths had I not done what I knew the Lord had called me to. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything now that they’re over.

  3. I want you to know I’m willing to help you in any way possible. I got my CNA after Dad passed and before Mom got sick. I worked at an Alzheimer’s unit at a facility in Franklin. That was the second most rewarding job I’ve ever had, next to caring for my parents. God gifted me with a REAL AUTHENTIC LOVE for the people and if it weren’t for God’s calling to leave and take care of Mom, I’d still be there!

    Since then God has blessed me with 2 grandsons who I care for 3 days a week. That helped make the loss of my parents more bearable . . . God had it all covered. He knew what I needed and when I needed it even before I ever had a clue what I needed!

    So I guess what I’m saying is this . . . if you do make the decision to care for your Mom and Dad, you won’t be alone and will NEVER regret it! Not only will God be there at every turn but so will I! Whatever I can do to help, I’m willing! Whether it’s giving you much-needed breaks, an understanding person to talk to or whatever it is that you find you need help with!

    Whatever you decide, you will always be that amazing friend who continues to inspire me! Much love to you and your family! I’ll be praying for you all! ❤️

  4. Hi Liz,
    I know all too well the feeling that overtakes you when you realize it’s time to reverse the roles. We always think our parents will somehow stay in their role of being the ones who take care of and worry about us. When the day came, first with my Dad then 6 years later with my mom, that I became the one who THEY depended on and needed to care for them, it came at a time that I was soooo not ready! But it was loud and clear that this would be my purpose for the next 10plus Years!…… They have both gone home to be with the Lord now and I am so grateful that God put my life on hold so I would have those last years with them! Nothing I thought I needed or wanted to do even compares to the precious time I devoted to them! He knew better than me what I needed the most! Although I miss them both terribly, I have the peace I would not have had if I had chosen not to obey God….and the assurance that they are both in His presence where I will one day see them again ! You won’t regret following God’s lead!

    1. Ugh, yes you do know all too well.

      This is wild. You know, you and I were besties from 2nd-7th grade, but have rarely corresponded much since. I’m not making this up. You came to mind the other day. I forget the whole train of thought, but I was thinking that of how you always honored and respected, really loved your parents, even back then, even with all the rascaling we did.

      You took care of your parents for 10 years? That’s been one of my fears. I don’t know how long I’m signing up for, but you’re exactly right, it’s a privilege. I’ve seen special things already so I’m beginning to look forward to what’s to come.

      Thank you!! I needed that enCOURAGEment. Feel free to share any additional feedback you have along the way. Thanks for coming with me! It was nice to hear from you ☺

  5. Just put my name on the comments from Heather (except the ADHD, though it probably does apply). I have all the same questions and fears!

    How do I really know it’s God and not my ego? I AM lazy, like really lazy! I dont know what I’m doing, I probably will fail…

    I love how honest you were, I think we all want to follow God, but think we are actually hiding something from him by not admitting that we are afraid to.

    1. Yes, like a little kid hiding something–as if a parent cannot see what’s going on. I imagine how I’d respond, want to help the child, and take the fear away.

      And of course, God’s parenting skills are so much better than mine. I wonder what He’d like to do with our fears?

      Will we let Him?

  6. I love following you so much but I am not there yet. I do know what you are going through as far as trying to figure out our futures for the sake of our parents.

    People tell me I am doing a good thing. Honestly, I am doing the right thing. My mom and I have never gotten along, true for all of us, except maybe the baby but anyway. Parents are supposed to do for their children since children didn’t ask to be born. In my case, I’ll do for my mother because it’s what I should do.

    In the meantime, I will grow and learn and just come back as often as possible. I’ll be here for you in any way I can while we both try to find our ways through this next path we are on. <3

    Reply, don't reply. Today, tomorrow, a year from now…lol Just life and breathe 🙂

    1. We all get a unique journey, don’t we, Vicki?

      This is a tough season, isn’t it? Yes, it definitely promises lots of lessons. Growing and learning is a good thing, and self care! We need to take care of ourselves so we can care for our parents.

      Deal! Thank you, Vicki! I’m grateful for the company and I’ll be praying for you. ☺

  7. Mmm. Jonah ran from the presence of the Lord. Big problem is God is everywhere. You can run but you can’t hide. He can send big waves and a crew of scared shipmates and a big fish to get you where he wants you. He can even deal with your anger at Him and others by blessing you with a shading gourd and taking it away so you’ll get the whole picture of your own ridiculous argument.

    1. Ha, ha! That’s so funny that you, Denice, out of anyone, would comment using this story.

      Denice and I worked together as missionaries in Jericho. What year was that? 2004?

      The funny thing is she doesn’t know that God used the story of Jonah to get me to move to Jericho. And I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that “moving to Jericho” was another thing God asked me to do that I didn’t want to do to. The only reason I went was I didn’t want to end up in my own personal version of “the belly of a whale” like Jonah did.

      So these words enCOURAGE me. They remind me of when I did what God said and all the amazing experiences we had in that special season! ☺ Thank you, Denice

      1. It was 2005. It was a desire long awaited being fulfilled for me, but was I ready for all the surprises? It was like a roller coaster ride!

  8. -I haven’t taken the time to really ask/listen to what God wants me to do.

    -And to know it’s really from God and not my idea that sounds like God.

    -I’m afraid I’d fail badly.

    -I’m lazy and not very motivated so that would be a problem. I have good ideas that 95% have not been done.

    -Feeling a bit beat down from different circumstances including being told by a professional that what could be Attention Deficit was never caught as a child(common for girls to be missed) but which definitely explains some patterns of behavior.

    1. Heather, you are so not alone! I’m guessing that we all struggle in some of these ways and yet often feel like we are the only ones doing that.

      Thank you for answering my question. I love the topic of hearing God and wrestling all this out so I’m still chewing on your words. ☺

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