Life is a spiritual journey. I have known this for a long time, but sometimes the farthest distance is from the head to the heart. I am in my mid thirties, yet I have always had an interest in God and the bible. From my youngest days I can remember enjoying the children’s bible. Then in middle school I attended a Christian boarding school and professed to follow Jesus. I thought that I had invited him into my heart. Not until nearly thirty did I realize that there was a disconnect between my head and my heart. I still don’t understand the nature of that disconnect, nor how Christ wasn’t in my heart when I thought that he was. I can only chalk it up to brokenness – a word that our human ego seems to deny and defy. It isn’t a pleasant word. Ironically, it goes against our broken nature to view ourselves as broken human beings.
After twenty years of following Christ and emerging myself in Christian learning and culture, I arrived at seminary for what I thought was the next elevated step in my Christian walk and growth. I didn’t know that it was only the beginning. That first and only year of seminary had no other end in sight but to be a part of my journey towards having Christ in my heart. A local church with a huge ministry for people who don’t know Christ, and a large sub-ministry for people who have earnestly sought him but somehow missed the mark was a key piece to this puzzle as well. Uncomfortable conversations about my faith plus a review of months of personal journals while in seminary resulted in me asking God the bravest question of all: are you in my heart? An enormous vacuum of silence confirmed what had been shaking all my carefully constructed pieces of intellectual and biblical understanding. It was as good as a “no”, but due to the quietness, it was no harsh utterance but something gentle to my fragile broken ego.
When I did revisit that prayer of invitation, I was in full awareness of what I wanted and what I was doing. That was my moment, my transaction. I traded my life and my sin for Christ’s life and presence within me. This time was real. This time I felt washed over and clean and free in ways that words cannot describe. It was the experience I had been yearning for with ever increased urgency. It was the union with God I had been wanting with progressive intensity. My journey up until that point had been defined by straining towards God. After that clarifying and fully engaged moment, I was impressed upon by the words “rest” and “real”, which almost felt literally deposited in my soul. I also had an acute awareness that I could love. I thought that I had loved throughout my life, despite the discrepant self acknowledgment that I wasn’t even sure what love was. The closest I’d ever come to defining love were words like adoration and affection, tender feelings and care for another. Suddenly God-love was placed in me, and the potential to actually give and receive it was born in me as surely as I was spiritually reborn.
Now I am on a new journey with God, an intimate journey with Jesus. It is intimate because he is within me. It is fun and adventurous at times. It is quiet and peaceful at other times. I still have intellectual growth and enlightenment. However, my heart has joined hand in hand with my head in this journey. I don’t walk with a restless spirit anymore, striving to keep up with Jesus or to catch him. I see pictures sometimes in my head, and the single most image that recurrently graces my inner eye is one of Jesus’ smiling face. His eyes are dark and twinkling and his smile reaches his eyes. It takes nothing for this image to be in my mind. And it probably isn’t a real picture of Jesus, but something he has given me to show me his character. He is easy-going, calm, patient, glad, and full of love. That’s how he looks at me every day.
Since that moment of invitation a startling near 7 years ago, I have grown and I have strayed. Grace is a new experience. Grace has kept me for the past several years, years I could have spent growing in leaps and bounds. But I don’t have to search for it anymore. I just close my eyes and take a breath and I am there, before Jesus, who is kindness incarnate. He never left me. And I’ll take his hand again. My journey led to a moment, and my moment lead to my journey. This blog hopefully will not remain blank. I hope to chronicle about my new journey, and I hope it inspires and encourages others.