As those who know me know (and those who don’t are about to find out) I grew up in and around church my entire life. As a child, I came to know a faith in Christ. It was real, but not something I held close into adolescence and young adulthood. Truth be told, God was still there – 100% of the time. It was just that I allowed myself to drift further from Him than I’d like to acknowledge. I always had “faith” and always knew God loved me. I never fully turned my back on Him, but neither did I allow Him to have all of me. I took way too much time to do my own things – and follow my own paths. Let me tell you, walking a path alone – without God by your side, gets to be very lonely.
It wasn’t until recently that I made the life-changing decision to give God my all. Not just my Sunday mornings, and not just praying before meals – but all of me. It very quickly became a necessity to get real with myself, with other people, and especially before God. As I have mentioned before, this sort of transforming life-change was made possible for me by a church with a God-centered, people-loving vision. My life was changed from the moment I walked in the doors. I was not completely without God before, but my life lacked much determination, focus, drive, and ultimately purpose. To find those things through the extended hands of love made such a big difference. Getting connected with people, learning to open up and let others in while also reaching back – that is a work in progress, but has made a tremendous difference in my life.
Today was a very special day for me. It signified my decision to take that next step, to make my faith public, and to be baptized in water. This is something I did as a child. Yes, I was old enough and knew what I was doing. However, since I spent so many years walking in varying (non God-centered) directions, I decided that now was the time to make this decision for myself. As an adult, to make the decision and to let my church family join in celebrating with me. What I was not prepared for was what happened internally as this took place. I was slightly nervous prior to it being “my turn” to get baptized. I knew what to expect, but I just wasn’t sure. As little sense as that makes – all I am saying is that I was excited beyond belief to be making that step, but nervous maybe just being in front of the whole church. That said, the instant I walked out there, God’s presence filled me with an overflowing joy – from the inside out.
In my head, this signified so much more than just getting dunked into a tub full of water. It signified a new season in my life. It signified life-change in a beautiful way. I said to myself, and to all watching that this was real. I did/do not care who thinks that what I did was silly, unnecessary or any other negative connotation that may come to mind. This was not their choice. It was mine. I did not do this for anyone else. This was a personal, but public display of my faith and following of a God larger than life. I do not have to seek another persons approval. I am made complete in Him. The same can be true for you, that guy next door, or that random stranger walking down the street. Live your life less for what everyone else expects, and more for His plan and purpose for your life.
No matter what situation happens in my life, no matter what heartbreak I face, and no matter how uncool things appear at certain points, I will not let anyone steal the joy of this day. This day marks a new start. A fresh start. A real faith in a real God.
If you do not know Him, I urge you to just think about the words I have said here. If you have any questions about water baptism, about what I mean by faith in a God larger than life, in what it means to be a Christian, please do not hesitate to post below, or to contact me privately via my “contact me” page. I’m here, and would love to discuss whatever is on your mind. I welcome your thoughts, comments, replies and/or any prayer requests you might have.
Be blessed, friends – and make today a day worth remembering.