In honor of Columbus Day: What’s the Greatest Discovery You Ever Made?
Sadly, I’m unable to share of some fabulously tangible discovery such as a new world or a sunken treasure boat that afforded me all the luxuries the world has to offer. But as this writing project is generally about self discovery, it certainly seems fitting to write about the discovery of a valuable life lesson. Jeff wrote yesterday about discovering the value in teamwork, after years of believing He was fully capable of accomplishing most everything on his own, and Gil wrote Monday about Learning to Let it Go, moving beyond the past and others expectations, to choosing his own path. I’d encourage you to check those two posts out first. Go on, I’ll wait!
If you have read any of this blog, prior to today, you likely expect me to write something along the lines of “it not being about me”. I can assure you that was the first thing that came to mind, however, I’ve touched on that quite a bit already and as I think of other life defining discoveries, I think I’ve got an even greater one to share.
I grew up in Presbyterian country club church, in the bible belt of North Carolina. We went to church every Sunday, sat in the same pew every week and generally made it to Wednesday night suppers. Church Choir, Vacation Bible School. The whole nine yards.
I was active in the youth group as a teen and served on the Diaconate Board of the church as a youth representative my senior year in high school. Summer church Camps, Fun In the Son, and Young Life showed me religious life outside of the bounds of my church, but it wasn’t until I transferred colleges during my junior year to a small Southern Baptist School that I heard the words, “personal relationship with Jesus”.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t get what that meant for a very long time. It would be years later before that truly made sense to me, and before I began to see Jesus as a friend, confidant and eventually as a Lord.
I believe my greatest discovery is that faith is a journey to a personal relationship. A journey to developing a personal relationship with Jesus, that extends the expectations of behavior and decorum set by the church and our faith based communities. I truly believe that God cares more about the condition of our heart, than our behaviors here on earth.
Some of us are so cut off from Him, be it from the pain of past failures and failed expectations, or simply because we have never been exposed to the goodness and love that He so freely gives if we are willing to open our hearts just to receive it. It’s such a hard message to hear because the world around us tells us other wise. For years, the reason why I couldn’t get to that personal relationship with Jesus, was because I trusted the world more than I trusted Him. I trusted the messages that the world sent me, more than what He told me.
I believed I was lazy, fat, dumb, unworthy and undesirable because of being left out as a child, being picked on my friends and family for my wildly curly hair and pug nose, and because I was different than others around me. I allowed those messages to control me for years. Hardly getting through college, getting married far too young because I didn’t feel like I was smart enough to do anything on my own, and ultimately being overweight simply because I already thought that I was.
For years, Jesus held out His hand to me. Saying: “Come with, I can make this all better”, but I wouldn’t listen. I didn’t need Him. I was fully capable of living my life own my own, despite the misery I was in.
But then, as so often is the case, the world came crumbling down around me. It seems cliche to say that He brings us to our knees, to get us to look up, but that’s exactly what happened in my case. It wasn’t until I lost absolutely everything that mattered to me, my home, my life, my family, my husband and best friend, that I had no other choice than to look up and take His hand. I simply could not recover on my own.
Ultimately, maybe this is the great discovery, and the message I most want you to hear from these words today. If you’ve been hearing that “come with me”, and have been struggling to let go of those worldly voices, and haven’t yet embraced having a team mate who created the world and can totally heal your heart and your past. . . GO TO HIM NOW. You don’t have to wait until the world comes crashing down around you!
You have been chosen by God, and are trusting those wordly voices, more than the One who tells the oceans where to stop on the sand. He can and will take it all away just to get you to realize that in fact, you are not capable of doing it on your own. Is it worth losing it all, just to be stubborn and self reliant?
I lived in a garage apartment of a co-worker, for the better part of the year. I even lost the kitchen sink, living in a dingy and uncomfortable little apartment because I wouldn’t take His hand. It was by far, the worst year of my existence. Nothing made sense, I hadn’t done anything wrong, the earth was gone under my feet, and I was deathly lonely. My direction started to shift though, when I finally heeded a small little instruction form Him, “Start looking for an apartment”. Finally taking that one small step and doing what He was telling me to do, brought me to that personal relationship I had heard about in college. The little things that He provided, starting with an amazing condo for less than market value being the first, helped increase my faith in Him and helped me learn to trust Him more than the world and more than myself.
Thais personal relationship with Jesus, isn’t about organized religion at all. It’s a process that starts just by opening your heart and listening. It is there, that a whole new world is discovered.