The human race has a long history of disobedience. I mean, look at Adam and Eve from the Bible. They were living the high life in the Garden of Eden, no cares, no worries (no clothes!) – until they couldn’t resist eating fruit from the one tree that God told them to stay away from. Okay, so Satan tricked them, but still – they disobeyed and suffered the consequences.
Since then, it seems nothing is off-limits in terms of disobedience. As soon as someone says we can’t do something, we do it anyway just to prove them wrong. I’ve categorized my disobedience into two types: internal defiance and external disobedience.
My internal defiance comes in the form of ignoring what I tell myself I need to do in order to accomplish my goals, all the while knowing there will be consequences. Here are some examples:
- I want to write, but I get caught up reading blogs or books instead – knowing that I’ll feel guilty later
- I learn helpful writing “rules” and have the immediate urge to break them all – even though I know I’d be better off heeding the advice
- I acknowledge that I need to exercise more, and then pass on my husband’s invitation to walk the dog with him – fully aware that I’ll berate myself for being lazy
Internal defiance is generally counter-productive, but external disobedience doesn’t always have to be. Here are a couple examples of external disobedience:
- Example 1:
“Hey, I bet you can’t eat that whole habanero pepper.”
<snort> “I could if I wanted to.”
“Nah, you’re too much of a sissy.”
“Oh yeah? I’ll show you.” Eats the pepper, teary-eyed with beads of sweat popping out along the hairline. Chugging milk, water, anything liquid to ease the burn.
This kind of disobedience isn’t productive, unless the goal was to feel like you just swallowed a fireball.
- Example 2:
“You’ll never be able to write a book.”
“You’ll get bored and give up before you get that far.”
“No way. I’ll finish.” One year later, provides a draft for the doubter to read.
In this case, disobeying the prediction of failure is a good motivator to succeed and finish that book. See, disobedience isn’t always bad, and the consequences aren’t necessarily negative.
Humans aren’t the only species with an external disobedience problem. I don’t know if it makes you feel better, but cats also have a disobedient nature, despite the consequences. It probably says a lot about my personality, but I find it oddly comforting. I’m going to share a story illustrating their blatant rebellious streak:
We keep Sammy and Lizzy (aka the “kittens” that are now cats) separate from Cybil (aka Queen Cat who almost died when she stopped eating in protest when we brought the kittens home.) Cybil stays in the master bedroom that she lets my husband and I share with her (how gracious) and we keep the door closed when the kitten-cats are roaming.
If that door isn’t latched, one of them (usually Lizzy) will sneak into our room.
If the door is latched, they will wait outside the door and run between our legs when we open it. They repeatedly do this, even though they know what’s waiting on the other side:
Crazy right? I fully understand where the saying “curiosity killed a cat” came from. I also appreciate why cats are rumored to have nine lives…because they will need every one of them 🙂
I suspect there were cats in the Garden of Eden, and perhaps they ate some of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I’m pretty sure there weren’t any dogs in the Garden, because my dogs don’t exhibit this blatant disregard of house rules.
Is your disobedience generally productive or destructive? Feel free to share your tips for channeling disobedience into positive results.