All I want to do is live for Jesus. In every single aspect of my life. From the mundane, clean the house kind of living to the more important decision making kind of living. I see others who do this, who fall to their knees and ask for wisdom and direction in every area of life, and I want to do that too – so why do I fall short?
If you are like me, you have been on the struggle bus for years. I wish I could say that I have been living in the Spirit for a long time, but I haven’t really. I spent most of my childhood running the other way, bored with weekly church services and wishing I could be anywhere but sitting in a stuffy church on a hard bench listening to my father preach. When God finally got my attention I was in University, after years of sitting on the non existent fence, and I realized my need for Jesus was astronomically more important than any other thing. At the age of 18, I was saved – and I wish I could tell you that is when it all changed for me, but it wasn’t.
Fast forward another nearly 20 years. It’s shameful, really. To look at all the time that passed from that first time that God got my attention to the next time. A lot of things had happened in between the first and the second time. I had been married and had two children. My boys were diagnosed with autism. I was diagnosed with lipedema. Life wasn’t easy. But still, I wasn’t fully paying attention. Sure, we went to church each week and were actively involved. We listened to Christian music and did our best at trying to teach our children about Jesus. But it wasn’t enough…it was as if we were going through the motions of Christian living, but it wasn’t really breaking through the surface.
I can remember clearly the start of the second time that God got my attention. I was sitting in a church service with a guest preacher and was listening to the sermon. My husband, bless him, was starting to doze beside me. It was just another Sunday morning. Until I heard these words. “80% of Christians don’t read their Bible every day.” Wow, that’s a pretty big number. Crazy that Christians don’t even ready the Bible daily! And then it hit me. I was in that 80% of people. Sure, I brought my Bible to church. Yes, I had it highlighted and underlined. But I didn’t ready it every single day and I certainly hadn’t read it at all the previous week. Something needed to change.
About that time I heard of an absolutely fantastic resource put out by the Bible Project. It is a Scripture Reading series that allows for you to watch short videos about each chapter that you’ll be reading before you read it. These little videos are fantastic because not only do they give you an outline of the book, the characters in the story, and why it was written – it actually makes the Bible come to life. If I’m being honest, I will tell you that I tried (and failed) many, many times to read the Bible in its entirety. I would get to chapters like Leviticus and quickly abandon it, because I thought it was hard to understand and so boring. Until I realized why it was part of the Bible, and honestly, it was a huge blessing to read though it and understand it’s meaning. I didn’t realize that simply reading through the Bible would change my life so drastically. But it did.
Shortly after my year of reading through the Bible daily, I was sitting in a church service as usual and realized that I wasn’t learning anything. I longed for a deeper understanding of the Scriptures but I wasn’t getting it at church. I wasn’t being challenged. And if I wasn’t being challenged, then there was probably a reason why my husband kept dozing off during the message. It also made me wonder what my children were being taught. And shortly after that, I heard a very distinct voice telling me to WAKE UP.
To make a long story short, we ended up leaving that church and finding a church that was truly enriching in so many ways. But most importantly, a church that shifted our focus onto living in the Spirit, real and true Kingdom living, that awakened our souls to so much more than we had anticipated.
And so here I sit, longing to be more like my friends whose lives just overflow with Jesus. Whose every word and deed reflect Christ in them. I want to be more like them in so many ways. I look around the room when we are together at life group, our mid week small group meeting and I’m so thankful for the gift of each and every one of my friends there. I am thankful for Pamela’s tender heart and kindness. I am thankful for Tim’s passion for the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for many things about Jody, who is one of my oldest friends, but one thing that stands out is how she powerully prays with authority. I am thankful for Ben’s humbleness and knowledge of the scriptures. I am thankful for the way that Brent makes connections in the Word and in life and for his gift of preaching. I am thankful for my friends Karen and Jill and for the way they mother their children (and wish I could be like them, if I’m honest!) I am thankful for Emma’s wisdom and her heart to serve. I am thankful that my friend Michelle gives healing hugs. I looked around the room at these people who are my family, and I feel incredibly blessed, but wishing I could be more like Christ in the ways that they are like Christ.
Not too long ago, I couldn’t sleep very well. A wave of discontentment settled over me and I just couldn’t get comfortable. So at 2 in the morning, I climbed into bed, fill the tub and got in for a nice soak. There’s something about a soak in warm water that does the body and soul good. And as I sat there, I poured out my heart to God… I feel like I have wasted 37 years of my life doing nothing. I don’t know what I should know at this point. I don’t laugh like I should act. I want to dig deeper. But I get caught up in myself and life and I fall short. All the time.
I don’t want to waste any more time. I want this here and now to be the change in my life, a visible turning point where I can look back and see a difference. I just want more of God, to come and reshape everything.
I don’t have all the answers. But I’m so thankful I’m here now, longing for more of Him instead of going through the motions. I’m hoping to learn more, to love more, and to be more like Jesus. This is the beginning of something beautiful. I’m so glad that God told me to Wake Up!