Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Journey: Part 4a

I wanted to write this a few days ago, and it wasn't until I had written half of a story that I realized it was not the part of the story I had intended on writing. Funny how that happens. It must have been heavy on my mind.

So here's the fourth part of my journey, the part I had intended to write several days ago.

I have said for a long time, mostly to myself, but sometimes to others, that I am part crazy. Don't call me crazy, because I'm not all the way crazy...just partly. It comes out in small bursts. Sometimes in what I say. Sometimes in what I think. Sometimes in what I do.

It reminds me of this Scrubs episode where Elliot is having a hard time hiding her crazy from her new boyfriend and is afraid she is going to mess up another relationship. She turns to her best friend Karla who tells her let it out in small bursts to total strangers, until her boyfriend is committed enough not to jump ship at the first sign of crazy.  She ends up telling the chief of medicine that she used to peel off her scaly sun burnt skin, put it in a pile, and eat it. I'm not that crazy. No really, Elliot is crazy. I am not... At least not that crazy.

But sometimes I do things that make me question my sanity. Like how I moved to one of the biggest cities in the country where I did not know a soul. And how I wasn't near home. And it wasn't like college where you live in a dorm surrounded by hundreds of people your age. I moved into a one bedroom apartment, to live by myself. I started grad school. And have you heard how much I dislike school? I felt a little crazy.

And other people made me feel crazy too. Like how my first week of school, I was so desperately trying to make friends, but everyone else seemed only concerned about learning to do this whole grad school thing. Or how I went to church and Bible study at that church, and people couldn't understand why I was there to meet people. Wait, so you aren't here to learn more about Jesus??

About the grad school thing. I started in on the track on crack. My plan was to get it done in two years, and while some people can do that, I wasn't one of them. Especially, after what I mentioned earlier. I was taking 7 grad school classes and I knew no one and was by myself all the time studying, reading, writing. Not healthy by any stretch.

That was the loneliest, hardest semester of my entire life. It was also the semester that everything I knew got turned upside down. I started going to a church almost as soon as I got to Atlanta. When I walked in those doors, I could literally feel the Holy Spirit in that place. This was ironic, because I was about to find out that I didn't know didly-squat about the Holy Spirit. I felt more free to worship the Lord than I had felt in my whole life. Every once in a while, I would just cry, and I never worried who was watching. It was the most honest and passionate place of worship I have ever been.

Enter Thursday night discipleship.We were studying the book of Acts, and I was there almost every week to study chapter by chapter, verse by verse. It was the first time I had ever studied the book of Acts all the way through. And it changed me. And by changed me, I mean messed me up. How had I missed this? The God that I knew was so small compared to the God of Acts. And what did I know about the Holy Spirit? Apparently nothing. It was too much for my Southern Baptist brain to comprehend. Now, I've never been too tied to my Southern Baptist roots, because I feel like no one denomination has it all right. But this has been very difficult for me.

Now, before you started thinking the wrong thing about what was happening, this is NOT my journey from becoming a Southern Baptist to becoming a Pentecostal. In fact, sometimes I cringe to even speak in those terms, because God does not live in denominations. He lives in His followers. But my heart was growing and the ideas I held about God and the Holy Spirit were growing. And all too fast too...

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