Last year I met a beautiful woman about my age at a conference where I was speaking. I don’t know many details about her life. I don’t if she is single or married… if she has kids or not… if she works outside the home or in her home. But what I do know is she’s been going to church for a long time.
Not only has she been going but she’s been involved serving, giving, and doing all the right church stuff.
But, something was missing.
“I never could quite put my finger on it until this weekend,” she whispered. “I never knew what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. But hearing you explain it, something clicked. I walked forward today. I gave my heart to Jesus.”
She brushed her long dark hair away from her eyes and I could see the sparkle, the joy, the realization of salvation. Scattered pieces of faith coming together to make the picture of Jesus more clear, more solid, more applicable in her life.
A fresh vision of hope.
And I wondered what part of what I shared made this profound click happen in her soul?
Of course, it was the Holy Spirit moving… but somehow in the midst of me sharing the broken places of my life, things came together in hers.
It got me thinking about us doing life together here at (in)courage. A few moments whispering truths back and forth over the internet learning how to navigate life as Jesus girls. But all that we talk about is for nothing if our hearts stay far from Jesus.
It’s not about momentary motivation to make it through today.
It’s not about spiffy quotes to ponder and put into practice.
It’s not about relationship tactics and turnkey solutions.
It’s not about bite-size pieces of peace to make life a little more manageable.
It’s not about making our lives look and feel a little better.
It has to be about Jesus.
And drawing our hearts into His reality. His grace. His love. His hope. His forgiveness. And most of all the free gift of salvation because of Him.
If you’ve ever felt like this woman from this weekend who can’t put her finger on what’s missing but is just bouncing from one religious activity to the next… sweet sister can we chat?
God doesn’t want us to have a religion. A religion is where we follow rules hoping to do life right, and we serve God out of duty because we think we have to.
God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. And we serve God not out of duty but out of delight because of the realization of who we are in Him.
For years, I defined myself as the broken child of a broken daddy. I went to church to get a little “God goodness” in my life. But it was like putting fresh paint on rotting wood. I was living just like those talked about in Isaiah 29:13, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’ ”
It wasn’t until I realized I didn’t have to be defined by the circumstances of my life. I could be defined by the reality of who God says I am. I wasn’t a broken child of a broken daddy… I was a forgiven and loved child of the Most High God… my Heavenly Father.
I didn’t need a little “God goodness” to rub off on me… I needed God to invade the deepest parts in me.
I didn’t need to be just following the rules. I needed to be following God Himself.
So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life… and started a relationship with Him by simply saying yes.
Yes, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.
Yes, I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the son of God, sent to die on a cross and be resurrected on the third day to save me from my sins.
Yes, I want Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life.
Yes, I am a now and forever will be a forgiven and saved child of the Almighty God.
Yes, I will follow Jesus today, tomorrow, and every other day I’m blessed with on this earth.
Oh sister, let me quiet the voice of Satan screaming to resist this process because you won’t be able to live this out perfectly. Jesus has never ever asked for us to be perfect. He simply wants us perfectly surrendered. I often pray, “Oh Jesus… I am such a mess but I am Yours. Show me… help me… forgive me… reassure me… and pour your tender mercy upon me.”
And He does.
And He always will.
My imperfections are safely tucked within the reality of His perfection.
And I simply press on by continuing to say YES moment by imperfect moment… day by imperfect day.