My life after meeting Jesus looked markedly different than the one before. If there was one thing that is true now and was true those first years in college was that not only did I believe in Jesus, I wanted to spend my time on this earth living for Him. I quickly etched out a regiment on what I believed that looked like. Things like reading the Bible daily, praying at all times and in all circumstances, waiting for a husband that had the same goals and love for Jesus, giving my time to investing in other people, serving the hurting, leading and ministering bible studies, women's studies, and being an active and committed part of a local church.
Looking back on this list there aren't many of these things that I believe are wrong- in fact there is strong argument from the bible that each of these things should be part of your life. But they became my life. As a pastor recently mentioned, "serving God became the central focus and priority but loving Jesus took the back seat." I soon found myself in the very same place I was before. Empty, yearning for something more, confused, and hopeless.
Here I was, supposedly having the very Jesus that promised me full life and yet I felt that full life was still slipping through my fingers. I had replaced Jesus with business in His name. And lost my love for him. I was defined by my own rules and regulations for what I felt it looked like to follow Him and had enslaved myself all over again.
So I wiped the slate clean. Started all over again. Putting Jesus continually in the center. And here is what I have learned: I don't have a definition of what a godly Christ followers life is 'supposed' to look like. Can they ski? yes. Can they live on a beach? yes. Can they have 10 kids or no kids? yes. Can they live by themselves in the middle of nowhere? yes. What about the big city? yes. Do they read their bible daily? They probably should but not cause they are better for it. But because they want to know better this person/creator that walked the earth for their sake. Here is a big one...are they allowed to have fun? Just for the sake of fun? YES. And until this point I didn't think that was true!
So that is where I am at. Learning to really live for loving Jesus and not knowing at all what that will look like for my life but knowing that God does not intend for it to look exactly like the person next to me. Right now iI believe I am loving Jesus in moving to Salt Lake City. Not that in order to love Jesus you must move to SLC but that right now, in this moment, that is what it means for me. And I am praying God fills in the margins of my life as we walk this path and makes it more clear what loving Jesus means to me daily. I pray my devotion increases.
I was struck by this thought today: Legalism snuffs out devotion. That when life presses in on those who claim Christianity only out of duty, they will abandon it. We weren't created to thrive in relationship done only from obligation.