I have been a Christian since I was 6 years old. I have been actively seeking to live out my faith since my freshman year of high school. But I would say that its really the last year that I have surrendered my whole life and heart to the Lord. Its been a very humbling time and I have been continually surprised by how little I understand the gospel and how gracious the Lord continues to be to me.
What is the gospel? Its the story of how God loved us so much that he created us, allowed us to turn from him in our selfishness, then came to earth wrapped in flesh to pay the penalty, death, for our cosmic treason, and rose from the dead so that we too could walk in new life with Him. Its the story of how He is making all things new from that point on, including our hearts. It is God’s great narrative, His epic tale, His story of redemption.
Where I went wrong? I thought it was about me. When I started following really trying to follow Jesus in high school, I thought it was about a list of do’s and don’ts. Every so often I would remind myself its not a checklist, but a relationship, but still was looking to use God as a circumstance fixer and not the God of the Universe worthy of my complete worship. I wanted God to fix me up with a comfortable, good life. In return, I would read my bible and tell others how good it gets when we just pray and stuff. Its seemed like a sweet gig, except it never came to pass, and I got frustrated.
Where I am now? Somewhere between mourning my lack of control in my own life and leaning into the bigger story that God is telling. I would be lying if I said I didn’t still want to be the author of my life. I think that I have a pretty good grasp on story telling, and I could make a great tale of the life of Jacob. But I couldn’t write anything quite as good as the Author of Life. And He has a story to tell, and I am apart of it, although it doesn’t look anything like I expect, or feel entitled to, or maybe even desire right now. Thats right, God might want to do something in me that I don’t want Him to do. That sounds hard, painful, uncomfortable. But God has a bigger story to tell, one about His glory, not mine. I am in the process of learning what it looks like to orient my heart to worship Him and lean into that bigger picture.
To be honest, it has been painful, and it sucks. I love control, and I feel out of control most days. I mourn my feelings, because they often don’t agree with what the Lord says is best for my life. I cry, I get angry, and I sit on the edge of dispair. But every so often, I get the rush of what it feels like to be caught up in something much bigger than myself, in an epic story that is unfolding before me, that is much better than I could ever have imagined. And then I am filled with hope. Perhaps these circumstances will reveal their meaning in time, or perhaps they won’t, but I know God is writing something good. I lean into His goodness in my uncomfortableness, and I grow just a little in faith each time.
You see, all this mess is the story of my redemption right now. Its ongoing. I’ll keep you posted on the next chapter.