Have you ever witnessed one of your friends, maybe a sibling, perhaps a stranger, who has recently fallen in love?
Why are they dancing on tables, being all weirdly joyful and stuff?
“Must be nice…. but it will ware off. They won’t be in the honeymoon stage forever,” we think to ourselves.
When you realize that you are loved, it seems like a natural reaction to love those around you, right?
When the guy or girl you’ve crushed on for like ever finally admits that they like you back, isn’t the first thing we do is call our closest friends, proud as ever, to share the good news?
Been there, done that.
But this blog isn’t about high school crushes, boyfriends, nor girlfriends.
This blog is about Jesus.
Not only He whose love defeated the grave, not only the love that continuously brings new life, not only the love that brings beauty from ashes, not only the love which our human brains can’t even fathom, but also the love that enable us (every single one of us) to be and live free and loved.
Let me backtrack a little….
For almost eighteen years, I lived as a prisoner to the world.
Even though I grew up in church, attended private school, and “knew” that Jesus loved me; my relationship with God was no more than words read from a book. You could refer to my spiritual life as “head knowledge.”
Knowing, but not doing anything about it.
Being aware, but not letting it take play in my life.
Well you see, recently this has all began to change. This past ten months I have been set out on a journey in which I’ve began to truly discover this “love of Jesus.” A transition from God’s love being “just head knowledge” to God’s love transforming me as his love has become my HEART KNOWLEDGE.
Earlier I referred to my past as being “imprisoned to the world.”
You may ask, what does that even mean?
I think it can vary from person to person.
For me it was letting my past and the people that once hurt me determine how I lived. It started out as living under a fear of getting hurt, and trying to control my atmosphere along with the people in it. I acted out of hurt and was often overcome by anger. To be completely honest there was even times that I lived in hope that everyone who once rejected me, would pay.
As time went by this evolved as I began placing my identity in guys, my “reputation,” and how many likes I got on Instagram. Later I found myself supporting myself and working three jobs to prove a point that I could do it all on my own.
Then the fall of 2015 came, and I got a little reality check.
Over a course of several events, I was slowly broken down as I started to realize, that the life I was living was not the one intended for me.
The motives, values, and habits I had created for myself most certainly didn’t line up to the the person I knew I was deep down inside.
Though God had continuously been knocking at the door of my heart, it wasn’t till I hit my rock bottom that I finally gave him a “yes”.
The incredible thing is, this single “yes,” was all He needed.
After a few months going back and forth, I had finally decided to give God a chance (kinda); committing to do a discipleship training school in Davos Switzerland. I referred to my decision as “kinda” giving God a chance, because I wasn’t all the way in just yet.
I knew I wanted to get out of my hometown for a little bit. I knew I wanted to immerse myself in a new lifestyle. And I really knew I wanted to ski in the Swiss Alps. The rest, was just the readiness I had to step into the unknown.
This along with the provision and peace God provided was all it really took for me to get where I needed to be.
January 10th, 2016 I stepped onto the YWAM base in Davos Switzerland.
Did I just make the best decision of my life?
“Wow, giving God a yes was a pretty good idea. From this point forward I think I’m gonna start answering God with “yes” more often…”
A yes to living my life to his glory and not my own. (It didn’t work out that well doing it my way anyways)
A yes to turning away from my past, and stepping into the lifestyle God had intended for me from the beginning.
A yes to accepting his goodness and love, even though I knew I didn’t deserve any of it.
A yes to forgiving people I had held grudges against for way to long…
It hasn’t been all that easy easy, and I can’t say I’ve been anywhere near perfect. But I am learning, learning how to do these things more and more everyday, learning how to position my heart in a way that makes “yes God” a more and more automatic response.
Which brings us to today.
Today marks two weeks that I’ve been in my SOMD (school of ministry development); a secondary school with YWAM, which has brought me to LA, California.
This week we had our first guest speaker, Kenny Peavy; who spoke to us on identity, as well as spiritual leadership. I experienced God’s presence so powerfully, gained many new insights, and took lots and lots of notes.
Though all this was totally awesome, from Monday on, I started getting a sense that God was calling me to “step out”.
In lectures the following day Kenny even ending up saying something along the lines of, “you don’t need faith to walk on water, you need faith to step out of the boat.”
Me: “and step into what Lord? I’m already here in SOMD, literally sitting in class? ”
Sarcasm rarely helps.
The week went on, till Thursday afternoon came.
As my reading group was going through Deuteronomy, something Kenny said earlier that morning was really resonating with me;
“Beloved, means to be loved, and when we start living like so, every day life begins to change.”
“Okay God, so I know that I am loved, and I that I’m no longer a slave of the world, I am free.”
Ever since DTS this statement had been at work in my life, but what did this have to do with “stepping out?”
By the end of Thursday there were four words that I couldn’t get out of my head.
“BELOVED,YOU ARE FREE.”
Over and over, these words sank deeper into my reality.
It all came together Friday. We had a teaching from our school leader, Lisa Jones; on self deception. Through this lecture she pointed out two ways we walk through daily life.
Treating/viewing/thinking of people as people OR
Treating/viewing/ thinking of people as objects
Well here I am, sitting there in class amused by this idea.
“Yeah, okay, maybe I had treated people like objects in the past… Once, maybe twice… maybe a couple more… okay fine! I do it all the time”
And there it was again, “step out”
God’s words breaking my heart in the most beautiful way, as I began to see where this was all going.
God wasn’t only asking me to view every person I came in contact with as an actually person, but furthermore as a son/daughter. The son/daughter in which He created them to be; loved and free.
So here I am, feeling as if I’m been sailing on the boat of “I am loved, I am free.”
AND suddenly, I see a shore not to far off. In the sand it’s written “You are loved, You are free.” There it is, my destination.
The knock on my heart was to not only know that I am loved and free, but to proclaim it to the people around me. By living it out every day. By treating people as so. By taking that step out of the boat and onto the shore; what I had discovered was to be made known.
Memories begin to run through my head.
There had been so many times I had withheld a kind compliment, a loving smile, or a “good afternoon”….. Was it all because I was too caught up in “I’m loved,” in “I’m free.”
Forgetting that I’m not the only one Jesus died for. I’m not the only child perfectly made in God’s image. I’m not the only one with a heart that longs for this never ending love which only Jesus can offer.
So yeah here I am. The time is now. This is me stepping out to share this truth with you.
God’s love isn’t just a onetime thing that give us butterflies and causes us to be nice to our friends.
It isn’t a love that is only available for particular people, chosen people, or “good” people.
God’s love is real, it’s true, active, and pure.
It’s a love He has for each one of us who he’s created (which btw is you.)
It’s a love that brings freedom into our lives, that we no longer have to live of the world.
A love that frees.
This love has set me free. I know that’s for sure.
That’s why, from this day forward I commit to being bold in the life I now live, and the Jesus that I love.
That’s really why I’m writing this blog.
Because, I wanna be that friend, that sibling, that stranger. The one people look at funny cause they’re dancing on table tops because they’ve fallen in love.
To hold that joy that fills rooms with love and changes atmospheres.
This relationship God longs to have with each and everyone of us doesn’t have a “honeymoon stage.”
The moment we begin to realize God’s love, it should be a natural reaction to love those around us, right?
Shouldn’t the first thing we do is call all our friends proud as ever and share the good news?
That’s right there, is what I’m ready to step into.
To love people, because they too are; Christ’s beloved.
To proclaim the good news, and live a life that leads.
I’m not quite sure what this is going to look like, but I hope this is an okay start…
YOU ARE LOVED,
and new life awaits at each one of our shores,
give God’s love a chance,
and all it takes is that “yes.”