As soon as I walked into the doors of the church you could tell from my awkwardness that I did not fit in. On most days, other peoples perception and judgments would be the first thing on my mind. Anxiety and just feeling like I’m not fitting in would have crowded my mind. Today was different because of two things. It was Christmas Eve and I was there with my brother and his wife and for the first time, I wanted to be there. There were no feelings of obligations, but rather I was desiring something to happen. I expected something extraordinarily to take place and expectations were beyond met.
I was skeptical of church and what it represented. It was very interesting to see the majestic traditional Catholic churches that my parents grew up with and the enormous contemporary churches of the newer age. Stepping into a traditional Catholic church fills you with this sense of humbleness because in it, you were small and everything around you was adorned with God’s touch. It always felt surreal.
The church that I was visiting was contemporary in that it wasn’t like the traditional church. It was very basic and nothing striking and the power came not from the ornaments in the church, but rather the rejoicing voices and spirits of the believers within. This feeling, I thought I could get used to. I’m not a big fan of materialistic goods because goods eventually diminish. To me, things that are not materialistic will stay forever.
I know it was Christmas Eve, but the aura of the church was supernatural and you cannot give credit to a holiday. I felt a sense of acceptance and excitement. Those are words that rightfully describe Christianity. Unfortunately, to those outside the truth, Christianity represents the exact opposite. I felt that way for a long time but there was always something deeper to Christianity that I was attracted to and I grew that something that day.
I’m not sure if my pastor saves the best sermon for Christmas and Easter, but that seriously what this sermon felt like. We sat on the upper balcony and I was crying within 10 minutes of worship. The first song that really spoke to my heart was Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. It called to action for my heart to cry not in sadness, but in happiness. Now everyone seems to have Reckless Love as their favorite song, but this song really did mean something special to me. It was the song that made me realize that it was okay to cry.
Sometimes crying can be seen as weakness in society, but I believe it is a value that is not appreciated enough. Whether it is for happiness or sadness, crying shows extreme amounts feelings. They include empathy, happiness, gratefulness, sadness, and everything like that. It empowers the individual to feel what they feel to the fullest. Sometimes it can hurt us when we are sad. However, when you are happy it becomes the catalyst that propels you to remember the past.
In the case of this service, I was flooded with memories of uselessness, regret, sadness, helplessness, and plain weakness. The tears flowing from my eyes were happy tears. I realized that those feelings were fights that took place in the past that I overcame. The fact that I was alive and thirsting for Him was evident that I am beyond blessed.
God’s Way :
From the night that I was called to be his Warrior, I wanted to be engaged with him with one hundred percent effort. My brother was part of a group at the church and he suggested that I find my group. The idea sounded nice but mustering up the courage to actually move forward was difficult. I didn’t know anyone in the church! My brother directed me towards Jordan. Jordan is the youth pastor and is just full of energy. Sometimes, it can be intimidating when you are shy but it is very contagious.
I awkwardly stumbled towards him and introduced myself. Remembering it makes me cringe every time. I didn’t know how to talk to people! Here I was, telling him to set me up with God! The thing is, sometimes we think there are easy and set ways to meet Christ but there isn’t. I’ve come to believe that you must trust in Him to allow Him to set you up with Him. That is not saying that you don’t have to be proactive. I’m saying God’s way will be different from your way. Trust in that. It turns out that when I gave Jordan my phone number, he never contacted me. I was waiting for the call but it never came. Something greater happened.
As soon as I made my awkward exchange with Jordan, I actually saw some very good friends from work! I was so excited to see them at this church that I was called to go to. It would be this man, Dominic, that would bring me to the arms of a new family. This was a family centered around God. It would be a family that I could call upon when times are weak and when I could be called upon when my siblings were weak. Even though Jordan had never called me back, there was another brother in arms who did more than call me. He brought me hand in hand to the gates of his Kingdom. He was the brother who helped me overcome my anxiety to bring me to fellowship with Him.
I do not know what would have happened if Jordan would have called me back. It could have resulted in something amazing or it could result in nothing. What I do know is that my destined meeting with Dominic meant more to me now than what could have happened with Jordan. I would have it no other way to come into fellowship with Jesus Christ. The path set forth by the Lord for you to follow is unknown to us but our God knows it very well. This is the path that I trust. If I were to force my “path” it could have been detrimental to our relationship. I may take the opportunity for God to work in my life.
Pray, Receive, Carry Through :
We all fall victim to believing that our “path” is right. Sometimes we may be confused and believe that our “path” is the path being told from God. Worse, sometimes we are tricked into our “path” and we justify it. This confusion will usually lead to a dark place. The only way to really know our path is to ask and to keep asking for more. Not only ask, but to listen and to listen deeply. Then when we have listened to Him, we have to act and to act always with Him as our purpose. It is a process of molding you into His helper, but it is a cycle and it becomes easier with experience. I have found that when we act for him, it is easier to then ask more from him. Through Jesus Christ, our tapping of his power and usage of his Love is only limited by our own actions.