The joys of Christmas morning. The oohs and ahhs in excitement from all the booms and claps of fireworks every Fourth of July. Sweet surprises and celebration time. Pleasant gestures, a bubbling up of the most genuine, contagious smiles. Blissful kisses, heartfelt connections, a strong embrace through all the difficult times. There’s something about these moments I’ve listed and described. Yet even with them all combined, there’s nothing quite like the heightened encounters I’m picturing so vividly in my mind.
A gaze—so fixed on the unnatural, tethered to the incredible—I’ve been ruined for anything less than an incomprehensible delight. My expectations have grown so high because ever since I said “Yes” to Jesus, He highjacked my sense of purposelessness and woke me by surprise. The “Yes” I’m describing, however, is more groomed and intentional than the initial prayer at the altar following a courageous strut down the aisle. It springs from a place much deeper—from the internal battle against my God-given desire to “fully” surrender the entirety of my life.
God has always been present and in plain sight. Though for many years, immaturity and deception kept Him too hidden in disguise. It wasn’t until I found myself too desperate and broken down, from years of carrying weights heavy-ridden with stupid lies, that I began to understand that I was helplessly stuck in the wrong fight. His rescue, by design, only solidified the foundational truths planted in me since I was but a child.
All these details are important because they’ve become the meat of my heart’s cry. Without letting Jesus infiltrate the ugliest parts of my life, I wouldn’t have the clarity of vision to see and experience what I was always made for—the life-long, day-by-by/moment-by-moment connection with the Father. It’s a miracle quite divine.
See, what I’ve learned since that “Yes” (the best decision of my life) is that there’s not a single moment that passes where I can’t tap into the kind of free-thinking that excites the Father when I submit and try. See, I’ve discovered the life-changing truth that I wasn’t created to “just get by.” This power and presence that I speak from—it’s the indestructible, pure-love, intimate relationship I get to have with Jesus that has long since taken flight.
With > For
Learning to live with Him (Jesus)and not merely for Him has changed my life completely. The eyes-wide-open kind of gloriously rich, encounter-filled reality isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The thing that abruptly arrests my heart in real adoration is the realization that I get to live this way, every day. E-v-e-r-y-d-a-y. The things that I hope for, even the dreams my heart is after—seeing them accomplished means nothing if I lose my place by His side. Truth is, His pursuit of me put me in awe, but it’s the living with Him that keeps me in such a state of awe and wonder that I couldn’t force if I tried.
My life—my days have only gotten richer since I’ve decided to leave no space untouched by God’s redeeming grace. So much so that I can’t contain the excitement of how He changed my life forever for the better (since on the cross He took my place). To be able to look around and see Jesus in everything—it’s what puts the sparkle in my eyes. More captivated than a kid in a candy shop, I can’t take my eyes off Him. Even more extravagant than the wonder portrayed in the original Willy Wonka film, “I’ve got the golden ticket” giving me access to see and experience more of Him in ways that are honestly too marvelous to describe. More colorful and vibrant than the highest of high definitions could portray are each one of my experiences out on display. Only He could paint such a portrait. But it’s an honor to let my life, my way of living, be an attraction of some sort, a welcomed invitation for others to come alive.
The more I grow and open myself to God’s way of thinking, the more I’m awakened to believe that the truths I’ve been given are valuable, more precious than the finest jewels and gems only the richest can afford to buy. I didn’t used to live this way. In fact, before I was truly awakened to who Jesus is (not simply for me but in me and through me), I don’t really understand how I got by. Besides an occasional high, the laughter and slight joy would quickly subside. I was empty and burdened, too dead to appreciate the light. This is the reason I can’t rave enough about the work He’s done down inside. I’ve watched Him take a very unsure and confused young girl and turn her into His masterpiece. The way He put life back into me—it was the start of all things stunning and beautiful that catch my attention today. Had He not woken me up from a depressing daze in my most depressing days, I would’ve missed so much. Because to have the ability to see all the intricate details of the work of His hands, I had to first become aware of His goodness. I had to slow down enough so I could recognize and appreciate the way He looks at me and smiles.
To live in awe is to live aware. And it’s to let God do what He does best. My hope is that a simple tasting of a reflection of my experiences would drive you deeper into your own. If you haven’t yet, don’t wait to let Him invade your space and make things better. Truly, His presence is enough. From that point, if we really let Him change us from the inside out, there is no turning back to the old, boring ugly lives we’ve been accustomed to. Imagine wells of life and stunning reality just waiting for us to engage them. Reality is, they’re all around us hidden in plain sight. There are countless treasures of all sizes and kinds, ready to put us in a state of awe.
In our lives, whether we see and appreciate it or not, there are endless reasons to be thankful. The second you say “Yes” to Jesus with intentionality to follow in His mysteriously, blessed ways, He’ll open your eyes just as He did mine. And with that kind of awareness, He’ll keep outdoing Himself. He’ll blow our expectations through the roofs of small thinking. I plead with you from a generous place of awe: let Him in more and learn to seriously live with Him in every single moment. Hand in hand with Jesus, I promise you won’t ever regret the privilege of continually living in awe.