This past Sunday I decided to publicly recommit my life to Jesus in the form of a water baptism. It’s not my first time to get dunked, nor might it be my last. I chose to take this step because I had watched myself drift from God since late September of 2013. Until the very end of last year I had just kept drifting and the further I got from the shore of my salvation the more a life with Christ seemed less and less likely, or even desirable. I kept going to church, trying to tell myself I loved God, doing the religious two-step…but my heart was far from Him and deep down I knew that. Still, I hated what I was doing. I hated the way life was going. I was miserably unhappy and knew that my only answer to the crisis life had become was the one Person I was stiff arming. I needed God so much. Things had gotten desperately out of control and looking to myself or other fallible humans only kept making it worse. Sure, if you had followed my life only through social media everything seemed fine, but underneath the facade there were real issues.
Finally, in the last months of 2015, everything came to a head. My breaking point was reached. The pain, anger, sorrow, resentment, and betrayal felt in my heart against God and man was unbearable. And it seems to be in those times that we come to a crossroads. We can either decide to fully walk away from God, or run full on into His arms. I had a choice to make, and I’ll tell you, my flesh did not want to look back in the direction of trusting God. I didn’t even know how I would begin to! But at the very same time I considered what my quality of life had been like without spiritual intimacy for the last 2.5 years and I knew without a doubt that I had been utterly miserable.
I made my choice. I chose God, but not before I got brutally, painfully, unapologetically honest with Him. I shouted, cussed, screamed, and acted out in all manners unbecoming of a “christian lady”. I got out so much poison that had been locked up within my soul. I poured out all the lies I had been believing about God and all the pain I had wrongly held Him accountable for. I truly “casted my cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7)!!
Now I’m not going to lie and act like everything got perfect once I realigned my life with God again. Far from it. The last 3 years have been a time of tempting, trying, and identity testing. And unlike Jesus’ superbly sinless display of dependence on God and resisting of the devil while He endured His own testing and wilderness season (Matthew 4:1-11), I sinned all over the place in mine. I compromised, failed, backslid, and let all manner of worldly habits and hobbies back into my life. It’s been a rough road, filled with new failures and new realizations about what is a trigger or temptation for me. I’m learning and unlearning a lot. What I’ve refused to do is get down on myself when I screw up. Listening to the relentless condemnation of enemy and bogus religious types who know nothing of grace or mercy gets me nowhere. Daily I’m trying to take my eyes off of myself and place them on Jesus.
“When we feel bad about ourselves, we have also made ourselves the center of attention. This is every bit as arrogant as the person who walks around telling people how much better he is than everyone else. Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less.” -Kris Valloton
Less of me please, Lord.
The choice to get baptized was basically my way of saying to Jesus, “When I first got saved at 19 I was baptized out of obedience. I was pretty naive about the whole “Christian” thing. I didn’t really know what I was signing up for, but I was thrilled to make a public dedication of my life. But now that I’ve walked with You for 8 years and have seen the hardships and raw reality of what it takes to remain a Christian (in the developed world) I no longer have blinders on. I’m no longer naive. I choose to recommit my life to You knowing full well what I am accepting. I choose to publicly demonstrate that I’ve seen life with You when it’s good and life with You when it’s absolutely terrible and I STILL CHOOSE YOU. I choose to keep walking with You, to keep loving You. I know now what I’ve signed up for and with full understanding I accept this life.”
I would rather the worst days this world could offer be shared with Him than a thousand wonderful days separated from the love of God. He’s just that good. So that’s that. No more looking back. I’ll keep writing about some elements of my past because I’ve learned a lot and feel I should share, but I won’t live in my past. When I went down into that water I was a broken, compromised, confused woman trying and failing at living out the gospel. When I came up from the water I became a hopeful, determined, wiser, re-identified Daughter of the King.
Is love really ever real without being tested? My love for Jesus has certainly taken a beating, yet it remains. This leads me to believe this love journey I’m on is real and it will last. Maybe you’ve recently had your own dark season and have started to make your comeback. I pray the Lord shower you with mercy and help you navigate what it will take to build your confidence in the everlasting nature of your salvation.
Here’s to eternity,