I was talking to my Aunt Lucia the other day about baptisms and confirmations and I was reminded of the day I was baptized after taking confirmation classes at Fletcher United Methodist Church.
I was in 6th grade, I believe, and had taken weeks of Confirmation classes with Pastor Chivington. They were with fellow students at Miami East and we each got to pick a mentor to help us through it; my mentor was Gayle Beard- a very good family friend. The Sunday had finally come- we had all passed our "tests" and were going to be baptized and accepted into the church in front of the congregation filled with our loved ones. As I look back on this event, I realize that, at some point, I had not been paying attention in class as I completely missed the part where we were going to be fully submerged into a tank of water as part of the Baptism process . . .
As we lined up behind a sort of screen, so that only Pastor David and the one being baptized could be seen, I watched the first person be "dunked" into baptism and church membership; my mom still talks about how, through the quiet of the congregation, everyone could hear me say, "Oh my!"
When it came to be my turn I stood in the water and let Pastor David lower me into the water, but once it started closing over my face, I started to try to come back up. As you can probably guess, I provided a great amount of humor to the congregation as I just about submerged Pastor Chivington in water with all my kicking and clawing.
As I was thinking about this, though, I realized how closely this resembles the tumultuous relationship with God I have today; I believe in God, I know He is present in every sunrise, every sunset, every breath I take in and then release, but I have a very bad tendency of allowing everything else to take over my time and my life instead of letting God consume my existence. I have a very bad tendency of occasionally giving Him the glory when things go right, but sprinting straight to Him every time something goes wrong. I do not attend church every Sunday and I have a tendency to make sure He knows when I am angry with Him. As someone who has accepted Jesus into my heart and life I find the greatest difficulty to simply read His word, give Him the glory, and lead by example. Why do I find this so difficult?
I feel as if my relationship with Christ is very much like that Baptism water- He is the water and He wants me to be bathed by Him- and I let Him, until I just don't . . . then the flailing begins, the kicking and swinging starts and it all boils down to one simple thing: control. I do not like not having control. My mom is always telling me: "lay it at His feet, Soph . . . it's so simple. Leave it there and walk away." Guys, nothing, and I mean nothing is more difficult for me than this. And NOTHING makes me feel more at peace than when I am able to do this. I am a walking contradiction, folks . . . what up?!
I feel like this has turned into a lot of rambling so I will attempt to narrow it down here: I am in no way, shape, or form perfect. I am pretty far left of perfect. And I believe in God- every bad thing that has ever happened in my life has been recovered ten fold by the blessings He rains down, but I have a lot of trouble giving Him the wheel to my life, the keys to my heart, the control over my journey. In the society that we live in I maintain that it is a difficult path to walk, when you're walking with Jesus, but I have realized that there really isn't any other path I want to be on. It has occurred to me that perhaps I face the adversities I face and walk this line of being unsure so often because He is up there waiting for me to talk to Him before I try to fix it on my own. He wants me to want Him in my life. That's pretty huge, right? The Maker of the universe wants MY attention, MY love, MY appreciation. He is just sitting there waiting for me to hand Him my heart and say "work it out." And my whole life I have let control get the first seat instead of Him.
So here's what I plan to do: I am going to immerse myself in His word, I am going to learn to be quiet and listen for His plans, and I am going to let Him know what I want out of my life, after I'm done listening, because He cares and He wants to know! There is nothing greater than having someone who is always on my side, who loves me through every screw up, every curse word, every bad mistake, who waits every night to hear about my day- whether it's just been two hours or two months since I told Him last- He's there waiting . . . knowing that I will come around eventually, and this time I plan on sticking it out.
Here I am, guys, arms and legs spiraling in water . . . Pray that I can be still and just let it wash over me.