I can remember so much of my life, even as an adult, I’ve been walking around like I was asleep. You ever walk around in the woods when it’s foggy out? How seemingly calm and quiet that is, how dark and kinda scary it can be as well, how sleepy it makes you feel?
At some point in time, I woke up.
I think I can actually point to the exact time it was. Well, actually, I think it was a series of events. The first was my sister’s death. That shattered my world and shook me to my core. The second was a men’s retreat I attended in April of 2009. It was an event called ‘Boot Camp’. That is when I met this man named Jesus. He spoke into my heart, my mind, my soul and I was and am forever changed.
Until then, I was asleep at the wheel, I think. It sorta felt like shoving your head in a bowl of jello, ya know? That bleh feeling of feeling nothing. Despair, anger, depression…just blah, nothing. There would be flashes of something. It’s like that feeling of ‘wait, did you see that….nah, it was nothing’.
Then, I met Jesus.
He began to wake me up and tell me that He came to set me free. To show me a way of life that was the answer to all those questions I had, all that nothingness, all that blah. He told me that He had not come to restrict me to lists and stuff but to give me life abundantly. Here. Now. It was a revelation that I was not at all ready for.
Don’t get me wrong, I had experienced emotion before then. But, it changed dramatically after that. I used to try to deny my passions because I thought all that passion was wrong somehow. I mean, so many of the churchy people I had been around were so dry, crusty and quite frankly boring. It was like feeling anything was against the rules. Then, I began to realize that those passions and emotions that He created me with were who I was, how He made me. He didn’t want to turn those off; He wanted to purify them, to harness them. I was free, free to be who I was, to be unashamed to cry, laugh, sigh when I saw a full moon, a great sunset, read a great poem! I can’t even tell you how freeing this was for me and can be for you.
Jesus didn’t come to “tell” you how to live. He came to set you free to really live. I’ll prove it, it’s in the Bible. Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”
Prisoners freed! You are free, free to be who you are, who He has made you to be! How cool is that? This is the first verse of Scripture Jesus quoted in the synagogue when He began His public ministry. Then later, He said that He came to give you abundant life. I’ll prove it. It’s in the Bible in John 10, verse 10. Jesus says, “The thief’s purpose it to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” I also love the way Eugene Peterson’s Message translation puts that last part, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they can dream of.”
Notice He didn’t say He came to make us rich or popular or a super model. He came to give us life, more and better than we can dream of. It might not be an easy life but it will be more than we can possibly imagine. I don’t know about you but I can imagine a lot. I think it is way cool that He’s going to do more than that!