Okay, I realize that the last two posts have been about the presentations that I made for Redken in Las Vegas. This will be the last “Symposium post” for a while; other topics that I want to share with you are getting log-jammed in this noggin, but I feel that this one needs to be next.
During the second day of classes, a woman in her, I don’t know, maybe in her mid-thirties, tentatively approached me after one of the programs. It seemed to me as though she wanted to speak to me, but wished that she were standing somewhere else; anywhere else, other than where she was!
It was when I extended my hand to introduce myself that I noticed her reddened eyes and tear-streaked makeup. She in turn extended her hand, but didn’t raise her eyes to meet mine. I stepped a little closer, took her hand in mine, and asked if she was okay.
She paused for just a moment, looked into my eyes, and said “I didn’t expect this.” I asked her to define “this”, and she replied, “When I signed up for this class I suspected that one of the topics may be faith, but I didn’t expect it to be so bold.” I offered her an apology, explaining to her that sharing my personal walk of faith wasn’t meant to offend anyone. Never looking away, she replied “No, I wasn’t offended. I admire the fact that you will stand up and profess your faith to a room full of strangers. In fact, I’ve wanted to make a commitment to Christ the way that you have, to walk that walk every day, but I’ve been afraid to.”
I inquired as to what it was that she was afraid of, and she replied that the people she worked with would give her a hard time.
My response to her was actually something that I’ve been meaning to share with you for some time now. I believe that there a lot of people in the world today that would like to make that commitment to Christ, but for various reasons, are afraid to do so. If you haven’t figured it out yet, until just over two years ago, I was one of those people.
I feel compelled to interject something here. Look, I don’t have all the answers to all the questions. I don’t know that the answers that I have for some of the questions are the right answers. What I try to do through this site is share what is in my head and on my heart; what you do with what I share is up to you. As my friend Diane says, “You can take what you want and leave the rest.” That being said, I’ll continue…..
This is what I’ve learned in my walk….
You don’t have to change who you are to walk with Christ.
If you make a commitment to Christ, you will eventually change the way you think, and the way you do things, but that doesn’t mean changing who you are. I’m still sports nut (Roll Tide!), and I love to laugh. I enjoy having a drink socially, and every once in a while a curse word may escape from my mouth. What I’m trying to say is that the majority of things that once were meaningful in my life still are. Walking with Christ is an awareness that He is with you every day. It is through this awareness that your life will be enriched in ways you can’t conceive.
No one has to know.
I choose to wear my faith on my sleeve, but that doesn’t mean that you have to; in fact, most people don’t. I don’t think that God will mind one bit if He is the only one that knows you are devoted to Him.
Only two matter.
At the end of the day, when all the votes are counted, there are but two “people” that you have to answer to: God and yourself. When it comes to salvation, to eternal life, who else is gets a vote in regards to your final destination? No one.
Don’t be afraid.
For years I was afraid of what I’d have to “give up” to be closer to God, as if I were already a perfect version of myself! You can laugh if you’d like, but if I asked you to make a commitment to God, to walk with an awareness of His presence in you, to look at the world through Christ’s eyes, to feel life with His heart, to walk boldly through life with His Spirit, would you do it? Could you make that commitment? Right now? At this moment?
Now are you thinking about what you’d have to give up, or how much you would have to change? I thought so.
Here’s the thing: You really don’t have to give up anything, at least not anything that really matters. I’m usually a little hesitant to offer an opinion on something abstract or intangible, but I’m going to say this without question or pause…..If you make a commitment to walk with Christ, what you receive will make your life so complete that anything “lost” or “left behind” along the way will be but a fading memory.
I’d like to go back to the young woman in Las Vegas…..
She had been fighting back tears while I was sharing my thoughts with her, seemingly on the verge of losing control of her emotions. I placed a hand on each of her shoulders, looked into her eyes, and said “I want you to take a couple of really deep breaths. As you do, welcome God into your life. When you exhale, I want you to imagine all the fears of being close to Him slipping away. Just let go and let God. And by the way, it’s okay to cry.”
I stood there with open arms, offering her safe harbor, not knowing if she needed it, or wanted it. She stepped forward and we embraced, both of us crying. It was a beautiful moment, a special moment, a pure moment, and I stood there, holding this woman in my arms, thinking that if God brought me to Las Vegas just for her, it was worth the trip.
God is good.
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