After completing my last post, I felt that I had only touched the surface of what I wanted to say or what I wanted to explore. After thinking about it, I felt that the post, did not go far enough, but was just the beginning. It was perhaps a first step in our walk with the Lord, so I am going to go ahead and pick up and see where it goes. If you want to read, what I consider part I, it can be found here.
At the end of the last post, we are left with the Jesus we needed. We are face to face with the person that we needed in our lives at that moment. For some that was the father who loved us without question or condition. For others it might be that husband figure who saw us as beautiful or was the perfect example of who we wanted to be in our future marriages. For others maybe the Jesus you needed was just the friend who would listen. I can only speak from my own experience with Him and when I found Him (and I mean truly found Him face-to-face), He was filling a role that I needed. He filled a need, I had. I met a longing I had. It sounds selfish, but He was who I needed Him to be.
After this initial, phase, it would seem to me that over time, Jesus can (and did in my case) become more and more of someone I was supposed to emulate. I started to study Scripture and tried to find out how to “be like Jesus”. It started a list of things to accomplish and complete. It was a matter of reading about Him and trying to do those things. I found myself trying to force happiness, force humility, forcing myself to turn the other cheek, and any number of other things. I honestly believed that I could will myself into being like Christ. The Bible become a how-to manual. Life became a matter of acting like Jesus. I slowly drifted away from Him being who I needed, and tried to force myself to mimic Him.
I slowly tried to be the person that I read about in the pages of Scripture. I read the parables about Jesus and work hard to be a branch connected to the vine. I tried to die to myself daily and be a good follower, but over time, I found myself not loving Christ. I found myself chasing and ideal that I could not attain. I found myself believing that following in His footsteps, meant just that…trying to put my foot down in the exact place He did on everything.
I wish I could blame this behavior on something outside of myself. I wish I could say that I was not caught up in the “What Would Jesus Do?” hoopla of my time, but I cannot. I cannot blame it on any particular church that I was a part of because I was roaming from church to church – trying to be with everyone. I wish I could blame my parents, but I can’t…I was doing all of this on my own. I was pushing, and trying and striving to be perfect. I was proud of myself because I honestly thought that if I acted like Jesus, then I must be growing in Him. So I was proud of my non-drinking, non-cussing, non-tattoed, non-loving, judgmental self. Because at least, I was better off than all those other people.
Jesus had gone from being who I needed Him to be in my life, to being someone I was desperately trying to imitate. He was no different than another clique that existed in school. Where everybody wears the same thing, acts the same way and they are all secretly unhappy and hiding from the truth. I was no different. I was hiding from THE TRUTH.