God is quite the motivator.
There I was. Just sitting in church watching 33 people be baptized, cheering them on and listening to their stories, interested in what was happening, but not totally thrilled about it or convinced of what baptism means for me or anything.
My sister kept looking at me down the row throughout the service and I didn’t really get why at first, but once the baptisms were underway I began to have a nagging feeling that I should think more deeply about where I’ve been with Christ recently.
So I did.
I was convicted. I’ve been feeling anxious, depressed, confused, disgusting, unworthy, overly emotional, and over-invested in everything but God. I’ve been more interested in other people’s problems, in the world’s ordeals, and in musicians and artists than my Lord and Savior. That’s messed up.
I knew I needed to change something, but I didn’t want to admit that I’ve been falling further and further away from my once close relationship with God because of distractions that briefly amused me. I’ve been unfaithful to some extent and I’m glad I’m snapping out of it now rather than later, because I could tell that it was going to keep getting worse and worse if I had just remained there.
I’ve struggled with relinquishing control and letting God take over for a long time, but I keep going through spots where I convince myself that I’ve done it and I’m fine and I trust Him completely, but nothing ever really felt quite right about it for some reason, and I never wanted to be honest about my flaws with my relationship with God. So against ny resolutions at the beginning year, I’ve been lying about the most important thing anyway… my trust in God. Don’t get me wrong, I know and I believe that He is capable and that He loves me dearly, but I never truly let go of anything. It’s hard for me to let Him take charge over everything because I have this stupid desire to try to be enough on my own.
So as I was sitting in that pew this morning, I felt more and more convicted and I couldn’t fight it off with “reason.” After the last baptism, the pastor did something a bit insane, which.. to be frank, he does fairly often. He began asking extra people to make that decision. He wanted to give others the same chance because he felt like there were a few still in the congregation who needed to take that step.
The count off began as people started walking up, grinning and waving arms high.
My heart was racing. I was trying to regulate my breathing. Something was pushing me. It felt like the pastor was urging only me.
I looked at my sister and the rest of my family. She had this knowing look spread across her face as I uncrossed my legs and looked at the stage again..
..5…there’s 6!! There’s 7!!….
I almost didn’t stand up. One more person might need this more than I do…
No… maybe he’s talking to me afterall…
I stood up and began walking.
“…I still feel like we can do a few more…. 40 seems like a great number I think!…”
I was almost to the stage when he made eye contact with me, beamed, and excitedly counted me off as the 40th to go up.
The clothes I got from them were massive and I had the synch the shorts up as tight as they could possibly go to sort of fit me at all. But I defeated the sizing issues and headed out on stage to get baptized. They asked me to explain why I was doing it today and I talked about how it was kind of an impulse thing. I said that as he was talking, my heart was pounding and I didn’t really get why. I told them how I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety issues and stress and I felt like I needed to change something. I said that I wanted to rededicate myself today. They encouraged me, prayed with me about anxiety issues, and baptized me in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy spirit. I had been crying before I went under, but I came out smiling and soaking wet. It was worth it.
The story I didn’t hear until later was that as they were getting ready for this service, they bought extra outfits for anyone who wasn’t prepared. He asked his wife how many they needed and she said to buy 8. So they ended up buying exactly what they needed for baptizing a total of, I believe, 42
people, in a single service.
I never understood what baptism was about. I never really cared, either. But today’s step was a change that I needed to make in my life. I’ve noticed that I feel more refreshed already, and I feel a bit more like myself in my mood again. God showed me what he was doing in those 33 people’s lives, and he showed me that he can do the same for me. He showed me that I was ready to take a step towards him and away from everything else that has been distracting me from His love.
So here’s to the next milestone! 🙂