Updated: May 7, 2019
"So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." Romans 5:11
I’ve been going to church my whole life. I’ve sung the songs, gone to the camps, read the devotionals, and attended the Bible studies. One of the first things my parents taught me was about this God who loves me unconditionally and who sent His son to die on a cross for my sins.
At first, I don’t think I fully understood everything my faith means and who God really is (and I still don’t), but eventually the grandness of our God became more amazing to me and His love became more exciting. I was an 11-year old on the playground telling people about Jesus. I was a high schooler leading prayers before basketball games and cross country meets. I was a senior speaking at our school’s baccalaureate service.
I was excited about my Savior and I wanted others to know Him too. I wanted others to live with the same joy and confidence I had.
Then I became a freshman who was uprooted, scared, and trying to manage and adjust to a new life away from home. God was still very important in my life, but in a different way. Instead of being excited about Him, instead of loving Him and wanting others to know about Him, He became a crutch and a pressure at the same time.
I seemed to have forgotten about His love. I would pray everyday and ask for the strength and guidance to accomplish everything on my to do list. I knew I still needed to depend on Him, and so I did. But I also felt this pressure from Him — a pressure to live perfectly, compile accomplishments to add to my resume, and check everything off the list that was His plan for my life.
I got a job with our athletic department, I joined the staff our school newspaper, I started a business, and I wrote a book. I’ve always felt this calling on my life to write and be my own boss and do all of these things, and I figured if God was telling me to do these things, He must mean do them all at once, right now.
Well, it’s been about a year of doing that and I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I can’t say it feels how I thought it would. I feel more stressed, more burnt out, and a lot less excited about the God I once had such a passion for. For about the last year and a half God has been someone I’ve not only tried to serve, but impress.
Who in the world is going to impress God? He created the world, He’s done it all and seen it all. He made it all! Why did I think I needed to impress Him? I think I felt like I needed to earn His love and His blessings. I tried to earn what I’ve had since I was born into His family.
Last week as I drove home late Saturday night, I heard this silly song on the radio about cartoons being saved and the various ways they would sing “hallelujah.” I started laughing at its ridiculousness. Then I started thinking about conversations I would have with my parents when I was younger as I wondered about God. I was the one asking silly questions like, “What if cartoons got saved?”
Why? Because I was curious about God. I was excited about His love. I was in awe of Him and I wanted to know more. I was a child living out my childlike faith and that carried on throughout middle and high school, but I seemed to leave that at home when I left for college.
That was a huge mistake. If we forget about God’s awe-inspiring, oh-so-amazing, never-ending love, we forget the core of His character. Serving Him becomes a duty, rather than a privilege.
I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited during an Easter Sunday service as I was last week. That silly little song reminded me of what it’s like to be a child of faith and the joy and excitement that brings. Easter Sunday reminded me of God’s power and incredible love. Christ’s resurrection reminded me that my life is saved, and my life is His. I can trust Him and I can stop trying to achieve everything all at once.
I can live day by day walking alongside my Heavenly Father, step by step, with a joy and excitement for life. He’s a good God. And He’s no less powerful today than He was 2000+ years ago. That’s something to be excited about.