Jesus Freak

This blog title is the name of a song from the mid-90s that has long since given me the heebie jeebies. I didn’t want to be associated with those types of Christians; the ones who wore black t-shirts with a cross made of big nails (no offense if this was or is your jam). When they put their hands in the air, to me, it made the Christian life appear easy and seem like there was zero room for doubt. More than that, they wanted to share this good news with a passion and that seemed uncomfortable. I don’t like uncomfortable and especially don’t like to make others feel it. So, any expression of faith that I’ve ever had, for the most part, has been timid. As I’ve said 2,001 times on this little blog, I tend to be a people pleaser. Honestly, I have cared way more what the humans around me think of me than I do the big God I believe is the Creator of all things. That’s a big embarrassing. 

Just like with politics, religion is a sticky topic and ripe for ugly discourse. I poked my little nose into a faith-based or political hornet’s nest a couple of times and ran away with my tail between my legs because I hate the feeling of disapproval. One of these times was several years ago when out of nowhere, I had the notion to “share the Gospel” with a few family members that do not believe the God of the Bible to be real or relevant. This was very unlike me and because I felt such a strong feeling in my gut about it, I thought it was possibly the Holy Spirit nudging me. (Yes, I said it. Holy Spirit. I also refer to Satan, the Deceiver, from time to time, too. He’s a nasty one). I wrote a letter and, along with a Lee Strobel DVD (because I thought the idea of watching something would be easier than reading an actual book), I mailed them to a handful of these family members that repeatedly came to mind. It was terrifying. For you Jesus Freaks out there, this is a piece of cake, but you could call me a Jesus Wimp! I had sweaty palms as I dropped them at the Post Office.

Sometimes when I think of it, I’m proud of myself for having the balls (“yikes. should she be using the word balls in a post about Jesus, for crying out loud?”) to send them in the first place, but other times I just feel icky. The response was mixed reviews. One led to a VERY high-stress (I’m talking really sweaty palms here) string of email communications to debate the issues, which was ultimately ok with me because it meant dialogue. The most difficult response came in the form of a stern letter (unopened DVD included) that advised me to not push my beliefs on them. Although I wouldn’t call it fruitful, any potential behind the scenes heart and mind changes are things that only God will know and ultimately (and thankfully) not my responsibility.

I’ve read a lot of stories of other believers that have prayed for years and years for their loved ones’ salvation. This encourages me to continue to pray for those people that come to my mind; that they would have softened hearts and minds towards Jesus. In an attempt to be actively praying this for my family members and friends, I created an alert so that their initials pop up on my phone each Friday as a reminder to pray. I may never see changes in my lifetime, but I’m believing that I’m honoring God by praying and maybe He’s working on me through it.

Praying has been as far as I’ve gone in recent years in an attempt to help others know God. I don’t have the natural boldness that others have, but I think a big misconception I’ve been carrying is that we should feel bold in order to be bold in our faith. My current bible study (through BSF) is on the New Testament Book of Matthew and I’m learning so much on this topic. It’s encouraging me to practice loosening my fear of looking like a kooky Jesus Freak and moving toward my confidence in Christ. Faith is not simply a soft and cuddly positive outlook that everything will be ok. My BSF notes on Matthew Chapter 8 boldly define biblical faith as, “relational trust in God – not just that He exists, but that what He has promised is true and worthy of personal commitment”.

As we dive headlong into the Christmas season, it is easy to glide along listening to carols, frantically shopping for gifts, or cursing the loneliness with bottle in hand. Then there’s the mall Santas telling us we better be good and the damn Elf on the Shelf reminding us that we can never get our act together in remembering to move it (I banned the Elf on Day 2 of Christmas 2015). Mindlessness and avoidance can be the name of the game and before we know it, the season is over and it’s back to “normal”. I don’t want that. There just has to be more to this life. Thank God, there is. It’s Jesus.

Questions to ponder this Christmas season: Is Jesus really the “Reason for the Season”? Is the Christmas Story fact or fiction? The history, the archaeological evidence, the supernatural occurrences…What would it mean for you, in your everyday life and for whatever happens after you stop breathing, if Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God? It could be a Game Changer. Worth the ponder, but don’t stop there. This evidence demands a response, one way or another. My Christmas prayer for you, dear reader, is that you would know God’s love for you and that your heart and mind would be softened to hear and trust in His truth.

Love, Emily

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