Rachel Heath

Intentional Living: learning to be fully present

On Reading Stories About A Stranger

So, I recently realized that I don’t know Jesus.

… I know, that’s a pretty surprising statement. Let me explain:

I know God the Father, and I know Holy Spirit. I couldn’t explain the mystery of the Trinity to you, but I do know what my Heavenly Father’s face looks like when He’s proud of me, when He smiles at me, and when He expects better of me. I know the sound of His voice, both The Still Small and The Audible.

I know how it feels when Holy Spirit whispers to me, urging me to do something that’s new for me; how it feels when He comforts me; how my heart thumps out of my chest when I know He’s giving me a word or a song to share.

But Jesus?

I guess I know some stuff about what the Bible says about Him and what other people say about Him; I know the Sunday School Answers. I know that I feel an aching jealousy when I hear people talk about Him like he’s a real person that they really know. I know that when I read the gospels, I feel like I’m reading stories about a stranger, and I know that I feel guilty about this, all of this.

I can’t put my finger on exactly when or why I noticed, but over the course of the last two months, a hole has been growing inside me; the unshakeable feeling that I’m missing something important has been weighing on me like cement around my feet. It dawned on me that I pray in His name, I speak of His deeds, I sing songs about His beauty, but Jesus is far less real in my life than Gandalf or Sherlock or even Michael Scott. He’s little more than a character to me.

I believe that Jesus is the Christ, my Savior, who loves me so dearly He died for me. I’m just not sure that I could have a conversation with Him.

Here’s the thing. Jesus scares me.

I’m scared of what He would say about my life and my heart and my priorities, and of what He would ask me to change. I do know enough about Jesus’ life on earth to know that He made a habit of turning reality upside-down and challenging people’s theological boxes, their perception of right and wrong, of personal responsibility, and of the real-life workings of love.

On my birthday two months ago, I asked God to teach me to live fearlessly this year. Wouldn’t you know, this whole Jesus Thing is how it seems He’s decided to answer. Absolutely every voice, influence, and circumstance in my life is pushing me toward Jesus, as if I had been carefully picking my way down a slope of loose rocks when the very ground beneath me began to give way and rush me uncontrollably into him. I can’t slow down. It’s at once terrifying and exhilarating.

God’s spoken to me about the next season of my life and about what the next 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months hold for me and my family, and I’ve said yes. Yes, let Jesus make me uncomfortable and let the Bible make me squirm, yes, let me be scared and challenged and completely out of my element.

I just have to know this crazy man for myself.

As always, I’ll be sharing every gory, uncomfortable, wonderful detail here as I careen headfirst into… well, whoever Jesus is.


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