i was minding my own business, wiping down the bar for the 529th time. and then something caught my attention.
i heard in a small voice from one of the kids in the group asking an older gentleman-
"are you afraid of Jesus?"
my first thought was, 'what a ridiculous question, how could you be afraid of Jesus?'
but as i thought about it more, and more, and more, i realized that this ten year old kid was asking a really valuable, heavy, soul searching question.
and why i chose to follow Jesus.
even when i was afraid of Him.
there have been moments throughout my life where i have thought,
"is this for real? what if none of this is real? what if this whole God and Jesus thing is just a story? what if i'm wrong? what if what i've spent my entire life knowing, isn't really reality? what if i'm living in a fairy tale? what if He isn't really there? maybe we're just all crazy."
but each time i've let my mind wander into an alternative reality, i am brought back by this one thought, and every time come to the same conclusion.
if none of this is real, then life is meaningless.
if Jesus isn't real, if the God i have walked with for the past 8 years isn't real, if life after this isn't real- then what is life?
life without Jesus is nothing.
He is the very purpose in all of creation.
He is the hope of every heart.
He is the heartbeat.
because if not then what are we even doing here?
i wouldn't want to be alive if it weren't for the love, presence, hope and life of Jesus inside of me.
and i've walked through seasons with my back towards Him, and death consumed my heart.
in those seasons and every moment i've let doubt wander into my mind, i was afraid of Jesus.
because Jesus isn't a safe God.
so surely following Jesus has to be dangerous.
real, all-in Christianity, is not safe.
surrender is not safe.
if requires you to give up your will.
your l i f e.
surrender demands everything.
surrender asks you to willingly become a servant.
death to everything you've ever known in exchange for the life of Jesus.
its not an easy death.
its not comfortable.
its not safe.
but this death brings life abundant.
i could choose the safe route.
a well paying nine to five desk job, a husband and three kids, a mini van, and a house with a white picket fence.
the "American dream".
but i don't want the American dream.
i want God's dreams.
and that requires going beyond the limits of "safe".
because if you ever truly want to go into the depths of all of God's heart, presence, love, and the "plans I have for you" in Jeremiah 29:11-
safe isn't an option.
i had to come to a moment of recognizing that life could no longer be safe.
i wanted surrender.
i wanted to know the plans God has for me.
i wanted to know Him.
i wanted something and someone greater than anything i could ever imagine.
and i found Him.
he is Jesus.
i was afraid of Jesus.
i was afraid of the fire in His eyes.
i was afraid to let His love cover the shameful parts of my story and life.
i was afraid to give up my comfortable prison cell of sin.
i was afraid to give up the identity i found in my weaknesses and failures.
i was afraid to be bold and believe what He said about me.
i was afraid that i wouldn't be good enough for Him.
i was afraid i would fail Him.
i knew i couldn't love Him the way He deserves.
i was afraid to give Him control of my life.
i knew that once i did, i couldn't rely on my own strength because His plans go beyond my ability.
and i liked being able to control my life and what happened next.
following Him would cost everything.
but there was no other option.
i came to the all inclusive decision and truth that Jesus is the only Truth.
He is the only way to life.
He is the meaning of life.
i fell in love with Him.
and following Him might be dangerous, but there was no other choice.
dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
and in surrender, in submitting my heart to the dangerous path and all consuming God, there was freedom unspeakable.
and freedom for every day.
and a love, a hope, a joy, a Savior who makes every day worth living.
sometime i think what my life would look like if i had chosen the easy route.
if i hadn't signed up to have a target on my back that says "kill" to the enemy.
if i had not listened and responded to the constant beckoning of my King.
and i don't want it.
any of it.
safe is not the path we are called to.
we are called into dangerous living.
dangerous to the kingdom of darkness
and wrecking every heart that might surrender to the Lion of Judah.
cause if you want to walk with a Lion, you have to be willing to risk what others are not willing to risk.
so let me ask you the same question that this ten year old boy unknowingly challenged my heart with.
[ are you afraid of Jesus? ]
and what is it that you are afraid of?
are you willing to exchange your fear or hesitations for a life that cannot be contained or imagined?
don't be afraid.
there is freedom in surrender.
and the dangerous path might not be easy, but you regret one moment of it.
the goal of life is not to arrive at death safely.
the goal of life is to L I V E.
"Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” - C.S Lewis