wanting to fly

When I was 14 I didn’t like church very much. Or God, for that matter. I knew a lot of Christians who seemed unrealistically happy and well-balanced in appearance, with smiles on their faces and always talking about the next fun social event or pizza party. I must confess that I was fairly judgmental toward them – I thought they were shallow and didn’t live in the real world, where life is full of angst and rage and injustice. They seemed perfectly content to live their happy prep-school lives. I didn’t feel that way.

I wanted to fly, to see the world for how it really was and not apologize for seeing.

Music was a big thing for me then, and many of my new friends just couldn’t get enough Christian music. But the lyrics from Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith didn’t make any sense to me, didn’t grab me on a deeper level. Those songs spoke of some idealistic world that in my adolescent mind surely couldn’t exist – not with what I saw all around me. I felt more understood when listening to Nine Inch Nails and Pantera, so I filled my head with those lyrics and doodled their name logos on my book covers in blue pen and pencil.

On a deeper level, I didn’t want Jesus to take me into some kind of false fenced-off reality. I didn’t want Jesus at all.

Obviously a lot has changed since then.

The following year, when I was 15, I was sitting in the back of my parent’s van on the way to church (yet again), and I felt very weighed down by life and my own actions. Everything felt so dark. Out of nowhere I felt the words “I can take it from you.”

I say that I felt the words because it wasn’t really audible – it wasn’t like a loud voice from heaven. It was more like how you can “feel” the bass in a song – the voice reverberated deep into my soul.

I knew that voice – I had been running from Him for about three years. I didn’t start crying or blubbering, I just said okay, Jesus, you can take my life and my sin. I give up.

What happened next can only be described as supernatural – the dark, weighed-down feeling went away completely, and in its place I felt a perfect lighthearted peace.

That’s when I began following Jesus.

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

16 thoughts on “wanting to fly

    1. Thanks Larry!
      My parents are Christians, but we didn’t attend church regularly until I started getting in trouble in junior high. That’s also when I started going to a private Christian school.

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    1. Hi duke1959 — thanks for stopping by! You know I haven’t always been comfortable giving my “testimony.” There are parts I still don’t want to discuss. But I’m learning more and more that sharing those things is part — a big part — of how I’ve seen God’s power in my life.

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  1. We always must be careful about being pressured about tell our life’s stories. There is no rule that says you must. Two questions that through the years are these.
    How long have you been a christian? (Like God keeps a scorecard) and the other is “What is your testimonial? Like it is really anyone else’s business? Just Hang In There!

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  2. I agree that whether a person gives his or her testimony, it is up to the person and should not be a legalistic point.

    But why should a person give a testimony? Just so other Christians will have their ears tickled. No, emphatically not.

    Revelation 12: 11 – “And they overcame him [Satan] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

    Testimonies are offensive tools which help defeat Satan and break his hold on people’s lives. But there is also a second part of the verse: “they did not love their life even when faced with defeat.”

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  3. We always have to be careful when pulling out one verse of the bible. The important thing is that she is comfortable with who she is.

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    1. “comfortable with who she is”

      This is an interesting statement.

      Being comfortable with who I am NOW is entirely different from being comfortable with who I was then. Sharing my story is the integration of both — “owning” not only what I’ve done but also what God did to change me.

      So am I comfortable with who I am now?

      Yes, but not too cozy, because change is always around the corner! 🙂

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  4. hi duke1959 and Larry —
    I see both sides as valid, at least in my experience. On the one hand, not all people or situations are “safe” for sharing. Certainly it’s important to have discernment.

    On the other hand, it’s not really my story. I realized this earlier this year, when I felt God calling me to share at a retreat. It is the story of what God has done in me, and when I don’t tell others about it (again, with discernment) then I am hiding part of God’s glory.

    Anna

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  5. Now you have touched on a subject that not many really want to face. In the end it is your choice and yours alone if you decide to tell your story. I know in certain places that is not real popular position to take. I think sometimes we get caught up into a belief that we must act a certain way.
    I am getting ready to writer about something on my blog that is soemthing I am struggling with.

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  6. Was that Sunday the very same Sunday that I suddenly felt the Irresistable Urge to turn to you during the invitation? (You—the angry, rebellious and hostile teen who had replaced my smiling practically-perfect preteen daughter)

    I wondered how to say the “RIGHT” thing, the brillant inspired thing, the words that wouldn’t get a sigh of resentment, or sound like I was talking down to you. I didn’t have those words; but as the singing went on around us I just blurted out, “I want to see you in Heaven when I get there and I think that you’ve given your heart to Jesus. If you would like to go up front to tell everyone I will go with you. Do you want to go?”

    And then we both started crying and hugging. (Finally we were crying in happiness, not anger! THAT felt so good.) And do you remember? Daddy’s big blue eyes were as wide as saucers and he looked at our tearful faces with true alarm! And then we were walking up front holding hands…and you did it. In public.

    “I will follow Jesus.” After all we’d been through it felt like a dream.

    Our pastor prayed with you and announced your decision to the congregation. And as we both stood up and turned to face the crowd, some of whom had been praying for this decision to happen; I for one, didn’t even realise until weeks later—-that the clapping was much heartier than usual and that in some parts of the auditorium people were actually standing up and cheering. I will never forget that day.

    Was it on THAT Sunday? Whether it was or not, it is always true a miracle when any one of us turns away from making our own stubborn way, depending on our own weak resources, and cursing the darkness.

    And that was just the beginning of course. God’s not done with you yet, and certainly not with me or your Daddy. If you had not “started getting in trouble in junior high” though, your father might have never become a Christian. Our God is an Awesome God in the true meaning of the word. I’m so glad He will always be there for me, even when I am not always there for Him. And I thank Him for giving you to me. You, your brothers and your Daddy are my Treasure on Earth.

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    1. Hi Mom! This supernatural encounter actually happened on a Wednesday night, about two months before the Sunday morning I decided to go up front. I knew something had changed in me, but I was too prideful and stubborn to admit it to you for a while. Sorry :-\

      Of course I remember that Sunday morning. Dad was a bit freaked out, wasn’t he?!? It was a good morning.

      I’m glad God isn’t done with us yet, and that He’s always there for us. And you know I’m glad you MADE me go to church and private school, but I would have never said so then!
      Love,
      Anna

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  7. Hi Anna,
    Very blessed to have read this post when I did. Gave me a lift at a time I was needing one. Where doubt and uncertainty come from at times I don’t know but usually it comes when we are about to step out and do something for Him.
    Devil, flesh, fear, not sure but was encouraged at the time.
    Concerning your testimony, I am always amazed at the quiet hidden nature of His work. Just a few words from Him at the perfect moment will effect a life for eternity. It is profoundly wonderful.
    Bless you,
    Tim

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