This small group gave me an eye-opening look at what it means to live in the freedom of Christ's love. From the Creation Story to present day, I realized that we are constantly trying to do something to prove our worth to be leaders in our spirituality. If that's how it worked, then my anxious suspicion would have been true: I would not have felt free by adding more "do not's" to my life. So why not just remain ignorant and keep doing what I want and not worry about it?
Answer: Because I still didn't have a game plan against the wandering, rejection, and poor self-esteem.
So, we met every Monday night for about three months to figure that out. Our curriculum changed my focus. It taught me that literally nothing about what I do can qualify me. What qualifies me is what Jesus has already done. That was a game changer. From that point I realized that my works here on Earth are all about helping other people believe and receive the free gift of salvation. Suddenly, I saw the people in my life the way God sees them and my ill-feelings were demolished.
I also started a new habit. I used the verses in our Freedom curriculum as declarations over my situations. When I felt rejected and weak, I prayed 2 Corinthians 12:9 back to God: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." When I felt nervous, I reminded God that He said "For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance" in Psalm 94:14. The more I prayed God's Word back to Him, the less I felt like I had to figure out. I began to believe that the Cross had truly solved everything I would ever question in my life. And with that thought, I asked to be buried (again) in baptism and raised to a new life on April 28, 2018. The best part? Josh felt the exact same way.
I had been baptized in my home church when I was nine years old, but I made that choice out of pure desire to not go to hell. This time I made the choice to invite Jesus because He had already invited me... a million times. I never meant to say "no thanks", but I just felt so inadequate. Phases of my life dictated the inadequacy. I told myself "this isn't for me" or "when I grow out of this, then I can..." or "I can't lead people that know what I do outside of church." Being baptized was just my shameless invitation for Jesus to join me in every area of doubt.
Life has not gotten easier. In fact, I would say it's gotten a lot harder, but I now walk with two things I never had before:
Peace for Today and Hope for Tomorrow.