Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Act of Courage- My Baptism

I can't remember a time I didn't believe in Jesus. I grew up Episcopalian and I was baptized as a baby. I went to a private Christian school when I was younger. Almost every summer I spent at least a week at various church camps. Towards the end of high school and throughout college however, I pretty much hid Jesus in a back corner of my heart. I was too concerned with doing all the things I wanted to do and fitting in. I never talked about God openly. Honestly…I was kind of embarrassed of Him. I didn’t want to be one of those crazy Christians that can’t have any fun (Just for the record…I still don’t want to be a "crazy" Christian and I still want to have fun, but that doesn’t mean I have to hide God in a back corner of my heart).

When I moved to Raleigh, I tried out a bunch of different churches. I was kind of close-minded about it, but I really wanted to find the right fit. A friend and I started going to The Summit in January and it was great. Really it is amazing. The worship music and sermons are awesome. Every week I go, I feel like I learn something new. And it is like you can feel God in every service. Since coming to The Summit I have come to realize I needed to stop living for myself (my wants and needs) and REALLY live for Him and not be embarrassed about it. I didn’t understand that my life wasn’t mine to live; it is His to do His will. I just need to surrender and He’ll take care of me. That change took place in me over the last year as I slowly realized and recognized that in my life and started to apply it.

I started thinking about joining the church and went through their information sessions. I love their mission- Love God. Love Each Other. Love Our World. But I was scared to death of the baptism thing. In fact, if I knew that the church was Southern Baptist from the get-go I probably wouldn’t have gone at all. (Those Southern Baptists are really crazy!) I didn't want to get dunked in a tank of water in front of a bunch of people. I didn't know how it worked. When I watched videos of baptisms I thought "My back doesn't bend like that", "what if I slip and fall", "am I going to look like a drowned rat and have to stand around freezing and wet in front of a bunch of strangers". But it was so heavy on my heart that I needed to do it. I told my friend that I wanted to do it the next time the church was doing baptisms. When I told her they were doing them this Sunday and I was going to do it, she said she was going to be out of town. I was so upset. I didn't want to do this by myself! But I decided to do it anyway. I asked another one of our friends to go with me (she had been baptized as a teenager, so she knew what to expect). I was scared she wouldn't want to go, but she said yes. It was set, but I was still freaking out.

Our pastor did a great sermon on baptism. As I sat there listening I was so ashamed that I was embarrassed about this. How could I not want to get dunked in a tank of water after all that Jesus had done for me?!? It paled in comparison to the ridicule and embarrassing things He went through for me and I was embarrassed about this one little thing He was asking me to do. I am so glad I made the decision to "come out of the closet" and publicly proclaim that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am no longer living for myself, but for Him in everything I do.

Strangely enough I was one of 140 people that decided to get baptized at The Summit yesterday. (I told you those sermons are good!) There are 3 campuses for a total of 7 services- so it’s not like 140 people at once, but still! Most of the people I saw in my service had not even pre-planned like I had and brought clothes. They just decided right then and there that it was what they needed to do. That is just amazing! (You can hear pastor JD’s sermons HERE or check out his blog HERE) It really wasn't that bad (no choking and drowning or embarrassment) and it was over in like a minute. But that one minute meant a lot in my relationship with God and showed me I need to be proud of Him and His influence in my life.

So yeah, now I am one of those "crazy" Southern Baptists too! It just goes to show you, don’t judge a book by its cover/name (or in this case- denomination!)

1 comment:

Brooklyn said...

I'm proud of you for taking that step and glad I could be there to see it.