God Told Me I Needed to Get to Know Jesus

Have you ever sat down and thought about the Trinity?

If your upbringing was anything like mine you probably remember sitting through Sunday School lessons on the Trinity, complete with weird analogies (the Trinity is like an egg…) that attempted to simplify one of the most complex and mysterious elements of our faith. But have you ever taken the time to reflect on the unique role each part of the Trinity plays in your life?

Up until a few weeks ago I know I hadn’t.


Lately God’s been in the business of interrupting me.

For months He’s been gently telling me to reevaluate where I’m placing my identity, let go of the vice grip I have on my future, and get rid of strongholds of fear and insecurity in my mind. But here’s my confession: I haven’t been listening. So God has gotten much louder and more persistent, no longer allowing me to skirt my issues, and leaving me feeling like I’ve been run over by a train.

However, in the midst of this process, God has been working to the heart of issues that have been present in my life for years. One of these issues is the place I’ve not given Jesus in my life.

A few weeks ago, God told me I needed to get to know Jesus. For a churchgoing, Bible-reading, God-loving Christian, this came as a bit of a shock. “But God, don’t I already know Jesus,” I asked. He replied, “Well yes, on a theological level you know Jesus, and you have a relationship with Him in the Christian sense of the word, but I want you to give Him space and a specific role in your life.”

Upon reflection I’ve realized that there are two reasons why Jesus doesn’t already have a prominent role in my life. The first is a simple matter of circumstance. I grew up in a church family that talked a whole lot about God the Father, and hardly at all about the other two members of the Trinity. In addition, I have a very good relationship with my Dad, so seeing God as a Father has always had positive connotations for me. As a result of these two things, I find it most natural to connect (especially in prayer) with God the Father.

Due to my upbringing in a Christian home, I came to faith slowly and steadily over the course of many years, but it wasn’t until a summer camp before my junior year of high school that I hit the point of reckless abandon in my relationship with God, and this spiritual awakening came as a result of an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Ever since that summer, the Spirit has occupied a prominent place in my life.

In my journey of faith, I grew up with God the Father, and in recent years I have frequently experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, but somehow Jesus has never taken on any distinct significance in my life.

While the first reason Jesus hasn’t had a role in my life is a matter of circumstance, the second reason is a matter of choice. To be completely honest, I haven’t allowed Jesus space in my heart. One of my deepest sin issues is a flawed belief that I can somehow save myself, and with that mindset comes an often subconscious resistance to the saving power of Jesus. Some of you are probably wondering why in the world I would try and do something that Jesus desperately wants to do for me, and the truth is that in order for Jesus to save me, I have to give up my control.

I like control.

I like knowing what’s going to happen, when and how, and although I know that control is ultimately an illusion, I love to pretend it’s something I possess. However, I’m hitting a point in my life where my ability to save myself is falling short, big time. But, in the midst of my failings, I’m discovering the freedom that comes with surrendering my control to Jesus, and as an added bonus, I’m getting to develop a relationship with a completely different part of our incredible, triune God!

lay-it-all-down-laptop*Photo credit goes to Tiffany Yeh.

 

Advertisements

Celebrate!

As a little girl, Easter meant many things to me.

It meant waking up early to find Easter baskets in unusual places such as the dryer, the pantry, or the craft closet.

It meant my sister and I wearing matching dresses in pastel colors, and my mom curling my bangs against my will.

DSC02018

It meant going to church, just like every Sunday, and seeing a plethora of well-dressed strangers.

It meant singing the old hymns and reading from the Gospels.

It meant packing the house full of family, and packing our stomachs full of delicious ham, and deviled eggs, and jello.

It meant going on extravagant egg hunts for treat eggs full of candy and stickers, and trick eggs full of dog food and birdseed, among other treasures.

DSCF5166

It meant eating dinner rolls and leftover pie for dinner because we were still stuffed from our midday feast.

And it meant crashing into bed, full of sugar and good memories of another Easter well spent.

But as I have grown up, the meaning of Easter has changed.

I still love to uphold family traditions, but instead of focusing on the celebration as I did in my childhood, I now love to focus on why we celebrate.

cross

In the glory of Easter, the sorrow and pain of death has been defeated forever!

The fear of Friday and sting of Saturday become distant memories in the face of the miracle of Easter morning.

One bright morning, 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and forever altered the trajectory of mankind.

Christ has risen! He is risen indeed!

tumblr_n43outhIs81rpwhvdo1_1280

Sunlight on the Windshield

Sun

Last night I was hit with a profound reality: Jesus loves me. I know it sounds elementary, and we’ve heard it so many times, but do we ever stop to think about how amazing that is? Jesus loves us!

This weekend has been full of reminders that I am a sinner. It’s not that I’ve necessarily been acting differently, but as my friend Sarah reminded me, seeing your sins is like when the sun hits the windshield of your car. The light accentuates the dirty spots. As I draw closer to Jesus, his light exposes the depth of my sin. This weekend I felt annoyance and frustration, jealousy and comparison, stress and fear. I tried to control people far more than I loved them. My confidence was shot.

I knew that my only hope for starting this week on the right foot was getting right with God, so I began to write confessions. Words were flying out of my pen at an overwhelming rate. One page, two pages, would the list of sins ever stop?

Right in the middle of my furious scribbling, Jesus stopped me and said, “Kelly, I love you,” and then it hit me. My slate is wiped clean. Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Do I believe that? His grace is sufficient for me! If that’s not good news I don’t know what is! So this week I challenge you to let the knowledge of Jesus’ vast love for you sink in. You are his beloved! Will you accept his love?

I Am

Lux: A Reflection

For my literature class final we did a creative response to one of the many selections we read this semester, and this is what I wrote.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This world is full of pain, darkness, hopelessness, injustice, sickness, loneliness, and despair. We are broken, broken people. Our brokenness is present in the things we say and the things we do, the things we see and the things we hear, the things we read and the things we write.

Literature especially tends to focus on the darkness of humanity. Requiem by Anna Akhmatova is one such dark poem. Requiem is set in Russia during World War II, a time when terror and darkness reigned supreme. The Russian people suffered deeply. “That was when the ones who smiled were the dead, glad to be at rest. And like a useless appendage, Leningrad swung from its prisons. And when, senseless from torment, regiments of convicts marched, and the short songs of farewell were sung by locomotive whistles. The stars of death stood above us.” (Requiem) It appeared that darkness had won.

Although the oppressive reign of Stalin ended sixty years ago, darkness has not lost its grip on the world. I am reminded of the powers of darkness every single day. When I hear about the evil deeds of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, when I see the homeless huddled under bridges in below freezing temperatures, when I read blogs about the rampant sex trafficking business in Thailand, when I helplessly wait with my family while the child welfare system heaps injustice on two precious little girls, I remember. Darkness is alive and well. Every day people die of cancer, get in car crashes, try to take their own lives. It’s not hard to feel completely and utterly hopeless.

And yet, even amidst this oppressive darkness, there is a light. What started as a tiny speck has slowly crept across the earth and brought us hope. The movement is growing, it’s gaining momentum, The darkness will fight us, but it cannot win. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7) Oh come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Silent Night