Do you remember asking Jesus to come into your heart? I totally do. All four times. The first time I was 4 or 5 years old. I did it again about a year later in case He had left without my knowing. Again at around 8, you know, in case He didn’t know I meant it for always. Again at 16 when I bought my first Bible with my name etched in gold, and followed up with rededication and baptism at 18 to sort of seal the deal.
All good things.
For the next 20 years it was much of the same. “Are you still there? How ‘bout now? And now? How about now?”
It made for a very insecure and dysfunctional relationship. I suppose it’s much like the child who tells his mother “please don’t leave me”, and the parent always reassuring the child, “I will never leave you. Ever.” Yet the child repeats the request a short time later. Maybe after the death of a friend’s parent, or a divorce, he checks in again.
“You’ll never leave me, right?”
It’s really hard to worship that way. You know, when you’re not even sure He’s still in your heart and all. Even when He told you, “I will NEVER leave you”. Maybe someone convinced you He’d moved on. You don’t have enough faith to please Him. Maybe He heard the rumor that you’re totally jacked and decided to hit the bricks. You didn’t memorize enough Bible verses.
But I decided I didn’t want to have that kind of relationship with God anymore. It was exhausting. I was tired of wondering if He was still by my side when I screwed up. I was tired of asking Him again and again to come back into my life. I became more and more weighed down by rules and requirements He never put on me. I didn’t want to look at people in categories of “church family” and “the lost” or as “projects” at all. I just wanted to love Jesus and love people. No conditions, and no agendas.
So I turned the tables, changed my mind, and chased Him instead. I went where He is, rather than asking Him to conform to me. I spent a lot of time reading the red letters of the Gospel, and in doing so, took a nice long grace bath.
And ya know what? I changed.
Worship happened when I stopped asking God if He was still living in my heart and realizing He wants me to live in His. It’s the difference between drinking a glass of water and diving into an ocean.
‘Cause I’m a mess. It’s why I need a Mess-iah. Duh.