In my wallet I carry this quote with me: "It is never too late to be who you might have been." I think we all reflect on what has gone on in our past spiritually and emotionally and think what we should have, could have, and would have done differently. Some things can never be changed....however, opening yourself up to a relationship with a forgiving and welcoming Jesus Christ always remains before us. In some strange way, time stands still when it comes to our relationship with God. Not too long ago, after a lengthy absence from a spiritual reconciliation, I was immediately accepted back without judgment and greeted with two of the most underrated words one seeks to hear: "Welcome back." For me, it proved that Christianity in its loving and forgiving nature, is always there waiting for us. Regardless of where you are, who you are, and what you do: now is the perfect time to open your heart, de-stress your soul, and reach out to the love and freedom that a relationship with Christ presents.
I feel like I have a strong faith in God and that I am, for the most part, a good person. I pray and I try to think about my actions and attitudes. But having a relationship with Christ is not an active part of my life. I know from past experience that, when I have been called by God to do something, his request of me can feel incredibly difficult. But when I do it, an entire world opens up inside me. I don’t actively follow Christ right now, but this question resonated with me so I thought, okay, maybe I should try this. Ready or not, I’m going to step into it. It may not be easy, but I know that if I can do it, it will lead me someplace new and amazing.
Are you ready to follow Christ? I think inherently, most of us will say yes. Of course I am ready to follow Christ!! But two things stop us from beginning that journey--first, I often think many of us are waiting for a sign that Christ is here and we are to take the next step. And secondly, we don't know how to stay on that path, without getting off at the next exit.
As I see it, there is no clear-cut route you need to take. Not all of us end up on the same road, as following Christ can take on a different meaning for each of us. Sometimes, we are looking for guidance in helping with a problem or difficult situation we are going through. Sometimes, we need to feel loved or comforted when we are alone. Sometimes, we want to be good disciples, following in the footsteps of our Lord.
For me, it was a combination of all of those things that led me to get back on the road to follow Christ. I was someone who got off the wrong exit years ago, but I can assure you that getting back on that road is easy--you just need to turn around and start the journey, because Christ is waiting for all of us to take his lead. I remembered the feeling of fullness, completeness, warmth, and love that surround me when I am following in his footsteps.
Being involved in ministry at St. Luke has been my re-entry to a journey I started long ago, and it was just like seeing an old friend who loves and knows you for who you are, always accepts and believes in you.
I love the way this Sunday’s Gospel starts: “The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert....” I clearly see Jesus as a passenger, with the Holy Spirit behind the wheel heading into a world full of temptations and wild things but yet always protected. That’s today’s world too. I trust the Spirit will show me the next road to take, but first I need to strengthen my relationship with him. This year I feel as if I am returning from the desert, and I need to pray, talk to him, and ask for the courage to open myself more to his loving guidance. Lent is my special time to do this and be renewed. I say “yes” to his invitation and look forward to a new road trip with the Holy Spirit as my guide and friend. How about you?
Are you interested in offering one of these responses in the coming weeks? We’d love to include you! Please e-mail Kathy O’Leary (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details on how to participate.
Take your next step: Find fifteen minutes when you can be uninterrupted. Grab a piece of paper, or a journal if you have one, or open up a new e-mail and address it to yourself. At the top of the page or e-mail, write: “Am I ready to follow Christ?” Write what comes from your heart. If you feel ready to take this step, take a few more minutes to talk to God about what you have written.