An Anniversary to Remember

I wrote this post on Friday (September 11th). I planned to do a final read-through and then publish it, but instead Jeremiah and I started watching documentaries about 9/11 on the History channel. We say we need to “never forget” but we do. That has become more of a slogan than a reality. I don’t dwell in the 9/11 mindset, but it should not be taken as lightly as we’ve allowed it to become. I’m digressing from my point, so I will just say I chose to hold this post until now so I could allow myself time to grieve something that was literally so close to home (I lived an hour outside of NYC).

The post that follows is not relevant to the attacks whatsoever; it is not political; it is purely spiritual. It seems wildly insignificant after reflecting on the magnitude of 9/11, but it is still important to what God is doing through my life, and I don’t want to let certain moments be passed by. May this speak to your spiritual growth, and may we all keep our country, our military, and our brothers and sisters who were directly affected by 9/11 in our prayers.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Today marks a very special day in my life. Yes, it’s 9/11; yes, the nation is remembering tragedy; yes, this is a day about much bigger things than me.

Which is what makes it pretty perfect that this day, for me, is all about losing myself.

Exactly ten years ago today, I started walking with Jesus, and the most beautiful part about it is that I recognize how much of myself I lose with each passing anniversary.

On the September 11ths that have followed my surrender in 2005, I have said goodbye to people I’ve cared about, I’ve given up things that were leading me to a future I did not want to pursue, and I’ve seen God remove barriers from my personality that have kept me from drawing closer to Him. I feel like God uses this anniversary to remind me of my passion for Him and to take me to a deeper level of relationship.

Today was no different.

My day was littered with reminders of God’s promises for my life, as if He was sending spiritual embraces in recognition of how far this journey has already brought me (and of course He used the most unsuspected people to do this). But there’s more progress to be made, steps forward that still need to be taken.

Faith has no finish-line.

I’m in a season of tremendous growth. It’s not easy; my faith-muscles ache with soreness, and my sleep is disrupted by spiritual growing pains. Today, God added a new muscle-group into the mix, leaving me with an endorphin-high of accomplishment and the unease of the next-level exercises to come.

I’m not a confrontational person. I hate debates of any kind; I fear misrepresenting something so badly that I will end up affirming the other person’s belief. I have no problem with people thinking differently than me, but there’s a lot of pressure in knowing I may be the only bit of Jesus someone ever sees. If I misrepresent Him, that person may never experience the freedom I have, and that is completely heartbreaking.

But God has placed this call on my life to write and speak. Obviously, being in the public eye that way and with this message means I will face plenty of confrontation. So today, He brought me there. It was only a step, but it was still felt like I was miles from my comfort zone.

I was asked about my beliefs during lunch at my work. A full hour (and a very parched throat) later, I left the break room with my head reeling about what had just taken place and praying that I had represented my faith well.

I had five coworkers all asking me different questions about my faith, my church, and my experiences. Why do you attend this church? What kind of growth are you experiencing? Why do you say faith and not religion? Have you heard all the media about your church? How is your experience different than mine? What kind of things are you learning about? How do multi-campus churches work? Are you able to build relationships?

He must become greater; I must become less.John

Different circumstances would have had me running for the hills, but God is faithful and with us always. He let me feel the fire of the hot-seat, while keeping the discussion light. The others were very respectful in their approach, and were gracious to the fact that we are all human and obviously can’t have every answer. In the end, I gained invaluable experience about how to approach certain “taboo” topics, and as a group we appreciated the insight we were all able to experience from our opposing viewpoints.

It may not seem like much, and I realize I didn’t delve into the nitty-gritty of the actual conversation, but that’s not necessarily the point. What really matters is that this had a profound impact on my walk with Christ. God uses moments like these to help us break down the very walls we built that keep us from our calling. I have no doubts that someday when I am up on a stage speaking about faith, I will look back to this day and tell the people how God helped get me out of my own way so I could start the adventure of a lifetime.

One step closer to “goodbye Chrissy”; one level deeper of Christ in me.

Happy anniversary indeed.

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