Buried under pillows and swallowed by couch cushions, I pulled my knees up to my chest and completely lost it. Thankfully, I had the apartment to myself.
There has been a feeling inside of me for a very long time (I'm not sure how long, but I know we're talking years) that I am missing life. That in many ways, I missing everything I was purposed for and living a life of warmth and comfort. Warmth and comfort are not terrible things in and of themselves, but as I search my heart I find that I have longed for and held onto those things far more determinedly than I have desired to live my life with complete abandon; worse than that, far more passionately than I have loved my God.
I have this memory that I cannot shake. It's an old memory, but one that has forever shaped my life. I am thirteen years old and I, along with my family, sit in an evening church service. This is one of those special services. One where a sermon is not given, and instead the whole time is spent in worship and prayer. Placed at the foot of the stage is a large cross, and my pastor has asked that anyone who has something to lay at the feet of Jesus would come to the cross, write that "something" on a piece of paper, and leave it there. My pastor was making no pretense about it; this night was to be a night of surrender. So there I was, sitting in my pew, head bowed, elbows resting on my knees, realizing I had no idea what it looked like to genuinely place something at Jesus' feet. But, here is what I did know - I knew I did not want to be normal, I knew I wanted my life to count for something far greater than myself, and I knew I served a good and powerful God. So, rising out of my seat, I made my way to the foot of the cross. Kneeling among many others who were also in the midst of surrender, I took a small piece of paper, and tearfully wrote two words.
How life changing can two words scribbled on a small piece of paper be?
Though it may sound nonthreatening, I have found them to be two of the most powerful words a human being can utter.
In those words I was surrendering everything. And while at the time I did not know what all that surrender would entail, I knew it was a serious request and one that would require more than I knew I had to give.
Now, ten years later, I find that "send me" has turned into something more along the lines of "send me later". As I made my way through high school and college my initial surrender began to fade into the background of a busy life filled with classes, football games, sorority functions, jobs, and weekend road trips. The fading of those words was no accident, I loved my life. I told myself that I still wanted God to use me, just not yet. Not while I was comfortable. Besides, couldn't God better use me when I was out of high school... out of college... out of seminary? Even in all that, I have never fully been able to escape that night so many years ago when I laid everything at the cross and essentially asked God to take it all. Every so often, God speaks to my heart and says "You asked me to send you" and I am ashamed when I think of every time I have pushed that reminder away, or been too busy to listen.
But tonight was different.
God, in His great mercy hit me with the full blown weight of what I had been ignoring for so long. Tonight, I was sitting in the comfort of my living room, reading the words of Isaiah 6, and realizing that I have been missing the boat. Most of what I have done in my life has been under the caveat that it not require too much of me - that I be allowed to cling to the things I hold most dear. In this I have walked away from a Savior who gave up His very life for me. I sat and sobbed as I was brought face to face with the hardness of my heart. I thank God that by His grace, underneath all of my hardness, is a heart that still reaches for Him. A heart that is moved to tears when faced with the reality of how much time I have wasted.
In truth, I still do not know what it looks like to live a life completely abandoned to God. That kind of life is unpredictable, dangerous, inconvenient, terrifying, exhausting, life threatening, and one I will probably never master; but I do know that whoever loses his life for the sake of Christ will find it (Matt. 10:39), and that is my hearts deepest longing.
I want to lose my life for the sake of Christ.
And, it is because of Christ that I once again say two words. "Send me".
**Originally written October 2012