the foreign path

As soon as I think I’ve got writer’s block, I get all too inspired and have a head full of thoughts wanting to be set free…

The new path that I’ve chosen…that I’m on…is so unnatural.  There and moments when I actually feel the strangeness of this new way and begin to doubt that it’s right.  Jesus continues to remind me that it’s ok.  It’s right.  It’s his way.

But it’s so hard being misunderstood.  Choosing to be misunderstood.

Pause.  Recognize you’re misunderstood.  Shrug your shoulders.  Breathe.  And live on…

But I want to raise my fists in self-defense!   I want to explain myself, so they know I’m not crazy.  So they know my new choices are good.  So so so…so they can validate me!

But then the still small voice of Jesus whispers…”you’re already validated.  true freedom means being misunderstood and being ok.  I understand you.  just shrug your shoulders and come with me…”    sigh.  

I think very rarely in the Christian world do we really know what taking the way of Jesus looks like.  I don’t say this to judge and I don’t say this to sound self-righteous.  I’ll be the first to admit that for years I was convinced I was on his path, but simultaneously was moving and living more and more deeply in bondage.  Not freedom.  I didn’t know.  Sure, my head sorta knew.  I knew my works don’t save me, Jesus does.  Grace does.  I knew works (reading my bible, sharing my faith, mentoring others women, leading bible studies, praying, etc.) “should” be but to be a response out of gratitude for salvation.

…BUT, I had no idea how well my life had been trained to believe and live otherwise.  From the moment I “became a Christian” and “accepted” this free gift of forgiveness, the works began.  So this concept of being loved and accepted, regardless of what I do, never was tangibly experienced.  It was but a neat concept in my mind.

If someone asked me, “do you think your many works save you,”  I’d quickly have responded, “no, ‘for it is by grace I have been saved through faith, not by works.”‘  I knew the verses.  So why did I feel so anxious, so uneasy, so guilty whenever I wasn’t doing something of “eternal value?” (as if that’s actually a category)
My entire life had revolved around what I do.  Before I knew Jesus at all, I was one of those church-going, do good to others, make everyone happy, teach Sunday school, abstain from alcohol, try to please your boyfriend…heck try to please the entire community of Hillsboro, ND…type of people.

This is all I had known.      Like I could actually stop doing stuff and still really believe that I could be loved, accepted, cherished, forgiven, and free?
WTF?”  That’s what my heart would actually say to the message of Jesus.  His way is crazy.  It’s absurd.  It makes little sense, even to Christians.  Don’t you think?

So here I am.  Here I am, at 25 years old, on a new road that Jesus says is his way.  Here I am learning that I can actually do nothing and be more loved, accepted, cherished, valued than I ever new possible.  Will this road always look the way it does now?…I’m pretty positive no.  I mean, Jesus is a pretty wild guy.  But never again will I do something because I must.  Never again.  Never.  

From this point on, the things I do, I will do precisely because I don’t have to.  Do you see that?  Do you get that?

Leaving the road of legalism…a road that I’d traveled for years…feels strange.  So foreign.  So out of-this-world free.

Then Jesus reminds me… “of course it does.  it’s ok. now you’re with me.”  

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