As I spoke about in the entries “Positive Responses” and “Put a Ring On It“, I just returned to Prayer Lake. It was a similiarly miraculous experience, complete with my familiar fear of intimacy, the beckoning of the Spirit of God, and the simple, overwhelming joy of being His. At the end of the weekend, I rededicated my life to Christ. I know that will surprise some people – I hadnt left the faith, after all – but I had realized, deep down, that Jesus was no longer the motive of my life, the husband of my soul. I re-read the centuries-old book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (about $5 on Amazon) – a book that had a profound impact on my early faith. I found myself craving that simple, whole-hearted surrender of those first days, and I decided, for the second time in my life, to put aside all selfish ambition and offer myself wholey over to love, over to God, my body a living sacrifice. I decided that, if it makes me sound foolish in front of others; if it costs me opportunities; if it puts my life on a different track than I wanted it to be; that I would still steadfastly follow Christ, looking directly into His eyes, following not my own life but rather the Love of my Life.
In this vein I often think of the words Jesus spoke through the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 50:4-9. If you haven’t read it, it’s an amazing passage. It’s Jesus speaking in first person about how His relationship with God helped Him to endure such scorn and humiliation in his death. To expand on His words, He understood that His walk – as with all believers – was a walk before God, not man.
I feel beckoned by that humility. Perhaps I could accomplish great things in a different life path, if I followed my own ambitions over God’s. But if it is not the path God carved out for me, it’s not the path I want.
I am surprised by how much the first days of this “starting over” have resembled the first days of my faith. As with the first time I dedicated my life to Christ, each day brings a greater understanding of what a profound change it all is. I’m feeling redirection, a sense that many things I previously deemed “good”, I now deem worthless, for the sake of the Cross. And there are many things I need to lay aside, as a sacrifice to Love.
I’m starting to realize this decision could cost me a great deal, making my life potentially more difficult than the plans I had previously made. But then… there’s love. None of these potential difficulties happen in a vacuum. As I decide these things in my mind, there is a wonderful God of Kindness to surround, carry, precede, follow, and fill me.
Many times this week I have found myself thinking, “what have I gotten myself into?” I am plagued by unimaginable happiness – terrified, overjoyed, and overwhelmed.
For those who would like to learn about pursuing their own walk with Jesus, I recommend visiting peacewithgod.net.
For the brief story we have of the man called “Legion” (we never learn his real name, just the name that the demons invading him were calling themselves), one of the things that sticks out to me is that the man was a cutter, and apparently very depressed as well. I see a lot of Bible quotes being posted on the internet lately, and I wanted to add my own: hope for the cutters and the weepers of the world, that there is a cleaner, saner, better person inside of them, waiting to be uncovered in the presence of Jesus Christ, to be seen by others as a sign of His grace.
God Bless, and Have a Good Weekend.