I aim to live what you might call a very “examined life.” Constantly in self-reflection, I take daily inventory of my thoughts, words, and actions with the goal of making decisions in alignment with what God has called me to do in the short time I have on this planet.
One of the most challenging parts of being a Christian is learning to follow God’s mission instead of my own mission. I intentionally followed my own mission for ten years of my life…
Between the ages of 15 to 25, I wasn’t trying to follow Jesus. I was trying to run from Jesus. I considered trying to follow Jesus, but it just sounded so un-fun. I might have to start going to church and stuff. I never felt like I “fit in” at any church, thus making it an incredibly unappealing way to spend three hours of my life every week. And I really loved my quiet Sunday mornings, the only mornings of the week I didn’t work. Plus, what would my hottie boyfriend, James, think? He had books like, “The Power of Now” laying around and I wasn’t sure if he thought he was a god or something new-agey like that.
Currently, I am still not a member of a church. I’m in a bit of a conundrum on this one right now. I don’t have anything against church; I wasn’t hurt by it or offended by it or anything like that. I just have a hard time seeing the value in it. Sometimes it seems like a bit of a popularity contest. And it has yet to help me feel closer to God or deeply connected to community. But I do believe the church is biblical, so I am trying to navigate what my involvement looks like in this season.
Regardless of my current non-churchiness, not once in my life have I ever not believed in God.
I grew up religiously attending Sunday and Wednesday services at an assemblies of god church with my entire family, where I preferred to sit with the grown ups over partaking in any “childish” actives like singing songs about Zacheus in a tree. Give me the real stuff! Tell me how to live a life with God behind the wheel! As always, I had a deep hunger to grow.
My parents sang praises with their hands in the air. My Dad threw crisp benjamins in the offering bucket. My mother prayed in tongues. My older siblings led music on stage. Attendees went up to the alter for healing. People made public declarations they were accepting God into their heart, followed by water baptisms for all to cheer for.
But this wasn’t why I’ve always believed in God.
A well-known evangelist was in town and my parents booked out the whole weekend to be at church. I was seven, so I obliged to participate. This man spoke with a fierceness I hadn’t yet experienced. He offered to pray for every single person in the congregation, so we lined up and one by one I started witnessing people becoming overwhelmed with unearthly emotion. When the minister got to me, I was not even the least bit skittish: bring it on, Jesus!
Bring it on, He did.
As the preacher laid his hands on my head and prayed over me, I was filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time and my body suddenly fell backwards. I was magnetized to the ground. Wide eyes fixated on the ceiling, I was transported to another realm in my mind. For hours I wrestled between periods of hysterical sobbing and crazed laughter. I was drunk in love. Amidst the commotion I was enveloped in more peace than I even dare offer up for comparison. Pure comfort resting in the arms of my maker. Unparalleled belief that his will is best and his timing is perfect.
The real reason I was running from Jesus during that extended season in my early 20s was because I knew making the decision to follow him would likely mean I would start hearing from the Holy Spirit on a whole new level of familiarity. His voice would become louder, and I wouldn’t be able to play dumb any longer.
The Holy Spirit gives us gentle nudges in the best direction. The caveat is, the decisions he nudges us towards don’t always make sense. A lot of times they make absolutely no sense whatsoever. To us. In that moment. But as the saying goes, “God’s plan is best seen in the rearview mirror.” By choosing to follow him and his wild ideas, it displays faith and we do it with the belief it will be better in the long-run. I have yet to be anything but amazed by his miracles.
So, back to my common plight: God’s way or my way?
The biggest arena I see this battle played out is in the financial decisions James and I make. It is a daily- no, hourly– process of constantly discerning whether we are setting our mind’s on the things of God or the things of this world. God gives us the freedom of choice, and it is so easy to fall into the pattern of choosing what my flesh desires over what the Holy Spirit is leading me towards.
I chose to start following Jesus again in August of 2011 (a story for another day), and my world has been radically transformed the last seven years. God has grown and matured me beyond measure, and yet, there is still so far to go in the journey. I will be using this blog as a platform to share my spiritual journey with you all as I now step into one of my life’s greatest callings: becoming a mother.
God is Good. All the time.
Ciao for now,