(a guest blog by Lea Holt)
Well Hunter, I wish you had sung this song by my bed when Jesus called to me and I accepted him. Cause, um, Jesus didn’t tell me that it was this difficult. He called to me in such a grand and quiet way, and then He left me quiet to decipher everything... He left me to decipher all the things that go with accepting Christ as my Savior. Cause the spirit that called to me and spoke to me wasn’t the bad ass Jesus in the Bible, if I may be so bold as to say. The Jesus who spoke to me and got me hooked was the Jesus who comes to you in times of trouble. He was quiet and gentle and all-forgiving. He was the bed-side Jesus; the all-sweet and loving and “this is what you have been missing” Jesus. The Jesus who spoke to me wasn’t the Jesus who requires you to study and think and change your life. To reconfigure your life... To question how much beer you drink and the occasional cigarette you sneak and smoke on the back deck after said beers, and how often you go to church...That Jesus didn’t tell me to quit gossiping and He didn’t say that the catty, funny remarks I say about people who are wearing sad sweat pants and Uggs or leggings when they should be wearing pants, are bad, and send bad karma into the atmosphere of my being and the world in general. That quiet Jesus didn’t tell me that by accepting Him so wholly, it would pretty much screw up my whole personality.
|The sweet, easy Jesus
So this is where Hunter’s song comes into play. I wish I’d had a storm warning. I wish I’d had a sign. A little heads up, a little lead way, a little more time. Cause dang that Jesus, the bad-ass side of Him is in my head now, too. The Jesus who died on the cross in front of his family and his people-- the guy who just said “Yep, this sucks for me, being tortured and killed, but I see a much bigger picture. And my sacrifice will save so many of you.” I was all in for the gentle, caring Jesus...who spoke so dearly to me, who said “Come on, accept me in your very soul and you’ll never need to feel alone or lonely again. I HAVE YOU.” But now the gorilla guy is there too. The warrior Jesus. The Jesus who died on the cross for me. The guy who was forsaken by his best friends, the guy who was tortured and scorned and endured such physical and spiritual pain in order for me to have a shot at heaven. This isn’t what I thought I’d signed up for, when He so sweetly called me to accept Him, deep in the night. I said “um ok” before I stopped to consider what He had actually endured, deep in so many of HIS nights... and that He might expect me to do some of the same hard, life-changing things.
So here I am. Reconsidering how I live and breathe. How I talk... How I think. Am I kind? Am I generous? Do I try and do the best for my kids? For my husband? For my job? For my friends? Lots of times, I know the answer is yes. I think that the reason I could so wholly accept Jesus at this point in my life is that I knew about Him and have lived on the edge of true acceptance for many years. I knew the right things to do. I understood honor and sacrifice and love and that sometimes doing the right thing is hard, but that somewhere down the road, you will be richly rewarded, even if it’s not in your lifetime. But the Jesus who has stormed my heart of late is asking me for more. He is asking me to live fully in His teachings. To go the next step. He is saying to me “Yeah, you’re a good person, you do some good things. But what if you heard me in your head all day long? And what if you actually listened?”
|Jesus showed His other side when He went
all, um, Roman... on the money changers.
Truthfully, hearing Jesus in my head all day long is a pain in my ass. The young co-worker who needs to be chewed out for being a jerk now becomes “maybe she doesn’t have the knowledge or the skills to deal with stress. Maybe that’s how she was raised and she just doesn’t know any better.” When what I WANT to do is to be just as nasty and petty as she has been and tell her off and finally put her in her place. Warrior Jesus, and kind Jesus, keep me silent. Warrior Jesus tells me that I am older and wiser, and that my strength and experience in life will keep me from being as mean as she is, and that in time, I can kindly, and perhaps helpfully, lead her to a better way by example. Kind Jesus tells me that she has been hurt by life... that it isn’t about me. That we are all flawed and imperfect, and that we all need love and acceptance. Damn that guy. Cause it sure would feel good to tell her off and say what I have been holding back and what no one else will say because she is a bully and... Then Warrior Jesus kicks in, and HE SAYS “Really, are you that weak and petty and haven’t I taught you better than that and given you more strength than that and the mental and spiritual tools to deal with someone like this?” And He laughs at me. Kindly. But He is still chuckling. And so I sit back and say DAMMIT!!!!
I can’t speak my mind and be as crappy as my co-worker, because both Jesuses are pulling and talking and poking at my heart at the same time. Be kind and loving. Be a warrior for the youngsters that she is crapping on... Be forgiving and non-judgemental, because you are also so very flawed and it’s not your place to judge... God, when you sent your Son down, I guess you knew you were creating a shit storm. I know many a Christian wouldn’t call it that, but for me, that’s pretty much what it feels like. Not fun. Not easy. Easy answers? I think not. In fact, the answers were a helluva lot easier to come by when I just lived on the edge of Christ’s love. That was a pretty cut and dry life. This is right, that is wrong. But now... warrior, kind person... stand up for your beliefs, be forgiving and patient. Christ in the manger, Christ on the cross... I guess you gotta love a God who challenges you so deeply. Yeah, that’s it. You gotta love that. Yep. Love it. Tell yourself you love it.
Well, obviously, I ain’t lovin’ it. I think it sucks actually. Because the combination of the Christ in the manger and the Christ on the cross is telling me to study and think harder and feel some stuff I’ve shut down and to become a version of myself that I haven’t yet envisioned or seen. A version of myself that is unfamiliar... He is asking me to be uncomfortable in my skin for a while.... to perhaps think of a version of myself that might be better. To think of a version of Him that combines his child-like goodness with His warrior bad-assness. No wonder this guy saved the world.
Back to Hunter Hayes. I wish I’d had a storm warning. I wish I’d had a sign. A little heads up. A little more time. I didn’t know this Jesus business would be so exhausting. So consuming. So life-changing. Would I have accepted Jesus had I had a warning? Yeah, probably. There really wasn’t much other choice. But kind Jesus didn’t tell me that warrior Jesus would swirl like a hurricane wind around my everyday... around my thoughts and my heart and the way I make decisions and in every damn thing I do. So if you truly sign on and give your heart to Christ, here’s the Storm Warning: You’ve signed up with the kindest, wisest warrior who ever lived, and it’s gonna be a helluva ride. And I know I’m hangin’ on for dear life.