Watching The Polar Express has made me think of the first year I was a Christian. I was so in love with God, and I wanted Him, craved Him and sought Him, but could never quite get Him. He was always just out of reach due to my lukewarm performance. I thought that if I would just learn to get this Christian life down consistently, I would have Him. I thought that if I just faithfully, zealously, and with my whole heart, read my bible every day, prayed everyday and loved people enough, I would have that closeness with Him.
Sin was ever in my consciousness. I was afraid to hang around unbelievers for fear that I might get caught up in the moment and act like I used to. I tried so hard to get away from temptation, but the more zealously I tried, the more the desire rose up, despite my scrambling to keep it suppressed. The problem with that was that eventually, my flesh would tire of acting holy and would want to indulge in it's passions that were made stronger through the law I was putting myself under.
Go back and read my older blog posts in 2007. I'm sure there were times I masked it, but don't be fooled; the ever-present anxiety and dread always loomed. I would search and search for grace and grace alone, but every time I took hold of it, it pulled away from me. Or rather, something pulled me away from it. You see, whenever I was taught grace, the law followed soon afterward, thus shattering my hopes of a life where I was freely given a totally, unconditional peace with this God that I so longed for.
And then I did it. I actually did it. I sat at my computer, logged onto this blog, took a moment, and got brutally honest with myself, with no-holds-barred introspection. I didn't sugar coat one damn thing. Read here if you don't believe me. And then I did what I had previously considered rebellion. I jumped without warning. There was no thinking, I just did it. I refused to go any further in the direction I had been heading, which had been circles. I could go back to that time and honestly repeat the Scripture as so:
"...And Matthew believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness."
I did it! I got crazy enough to actually believe what God had told me and had been telling me. I embraced grace and grace alone, without one hint of law or fine print added.
It was all down-hill from there, right? Ah, I wish. But don't let that discourage you from leaping into the arms of Jesus. It is most definitely worth it.
But what I really had in mind when I sat down to write out this particular post was that after all of that, I still find myself wanting to go back to how it was before. To that place between dream and reality. The, "darkness before dawn" so-to-speak. It's not that it wasn't without it's good times. I really had some fond moments in trying to get to know God.
I guess being so introspective and fearful had given me a great awareness of God in the world, and now being free from condemnation and fear, I long for something to give me that same awareness of His Being. Am I making sense? Perhaps someone can relate, and if not, at least I believe God tried to get something across to me tonight in watching The Polar Express.
The kid, at the beginning of the movie, was hesitant about climbing aboard the free ride to the best place on earth for a kid: The North Pole.
As I watched that particular scene, I felt like God was trying to tell me that I'm being silly. He was apparently telling me how ridiculous it is to be in a place where you desire to behold the train with wonder, dreaming of what it would be like to go to the North Pole, more than you desire to actually BOARD the train and EXPERIENCE the North Pole.