I became a Christian in a traffic jam on 66 East.
Well, lots of traffic jams, actually (reason #487 why I will *probably* never move back to Northern Virginia).
My 98 Dodge Neon didn’t have a CD player, so I was stuck with radio. Normal, AM/FM radio. Since WPGC seemed to have the same four songs on rotate, I somehow found my way to WAVA, the local Christian broadcasting station.
I grew to love listening to the pastors’ messages, filled with funny stories and big God moments. The people who spoke seemed kind and trustworthy. At the time, my view was that Christians were boring and backwards, and that God was super strict and all about rules. I had never been a great rule follower, so I always thought I’d do the “Christian thing” later when I had mom jeans and a sensible haircut.
However, spending time with these people each day in my car and listening to their messages filled with hope, love, laughter, and joy tugged at something in my heart. Even though I was doing life according to what I thought would be fun and make me happy, I wasn’t. So, after ten years of rejecting God, I decided to give my life to him and see if he could do it better.
Ten years later, I can say without hesitation it’s the best decision I ever made.
I’ve still never worn mom jeans and I hope never to have a sensible haircut. I’m still me, and I love to have fun, but Jesus makes everything that was in black and white turn to color. Life means something. I know I am valuable, and I am able to see the value in others. My future is so bright, and I want everyone I know to experience the hope and joy that comes only from a relationship with God.
It’s not always sunshine and roses (see Monday’s post), and being a Christian requires challenge, growth, and discipline. It can be hard, but it’s always worth it.
Today I was listening to a podcast from the pastor who spoke to my heart all those years ago, Chip Ingram. He is still passionate about teaching Christians to live like Christians through his program “Living on the Edge” , and his challenge today was to “pretend as though Jesus lives inside of you and love people the way he would love them”, which actually was a prompting to live in the reality that Jesus lives in us and loves through us.
Even though this message is convicting, it’s exciting! It’s an opportunity to grow and to see God at work in new ways. That’s what I love about the Christian faith: it’s not static. It’s dynamic! It’s not a list of rules and a far-away God. It is a family relationship with Jesus and others and a way of life: a never-ending interaction with the God of the universe and an invitation to push back against evil and injustice.
When you truly open your life up to God, the one thing it won’t be is boring.