Jesus called me. He knocked on the doors to my heart a couple of years ago and when I opened it and discovered Jesus calling out to me, I was surprised. How could I, a woman who belongs to a family of non-practicing Catholics, who spent her early years of spiritual awakening arguing that Jesus never died on the cross, expressing anger towards the church and a full on resentment towards organized religion be consumed with such a deep love, awe and wonder over Jesus!?
Here I was, in my thirties with this burning desire to know, connect with and love Jesus. I felt so alone in this. I had no one to talk to about it and truth be told, I felt embarrassed!! After all my smack talk about religion, years of not attending church, and a family and social circle that definitely doesn’t talk about Jesus; I really had no idea how to handle it.
Call me crazy, but when I was young, being religious, spiritual and a good catholic seemed like an “old person” thing. Going to church seemed like an obligation and responsibility. Somehow I felt loving Jesus was mixed in with all that. I suppose I never truly connected with the messages of our faith and had poor understanding of what was really going on.
In search of clarity and like-minded people I went to an information night at my community church where the priest explained the workings of mass…that didn’t help. Then I went to a rosary prayer circle with the only person I knew whom was passionate about faith. As fate would have it, that night the prayer group consisted of just three of us. The gentleman who came was such an enlightened and engaging man. He himself had gone to the brotherhood with hopes of becoming a priest but felt a calling towards marriage that stopped him from pursuing it further. I discovered that we all shared the same dissatisfaction with some of the “rules” of being catholic and general organized religion.
These people were so awesome, totally cool and secure in their faith, love and religion. They helped me to see Jesus in a different light. I learned that Jesus was a charismatic young man who loved being with people, having a good time and fearlessly spoke his truth and followed his heart. He inspired people to be catholic not by asking them to convert but by just being his authentic self. Jesus was always hanging out with diverse people and always up for a party. He attended weddings, was invited into people’s homes and stopped to chat with people he encountered on the street! Taking Jesus out of biblical context and into my heart and modern mind, I learned a new way to love him and understand him that is more comfortable for me.
I feared my love for Jesus because it was so strong and I feared that people in my life wouldn’t understand. I also needed time to get comfortable with it.
It helped a lot for me to connect (even for a very short time) with people my age that shared the same passion for Jesus, prayer and faith. I know I’m not alone. I have no intentions on preaching about Jesus to people in my life but I also will not shy away from talking about Him if the time is right or share how His love has inspired me.
I have also let go of the stereotypes I had created about what it means to be “religious” or a “fan” of Jesus. It can mean anything I want it to mean. I can choose to purchase ‘what would Jesus do (WWJD)?’ bumper stickers or I can choose to quietly hold His lessons and influence close to my heart.
Whatever the case, it’s okay to love Jesus!
Photo: Akiane Kramarik’s Prince of Peace portrait of Jesus. I encourage everyone to check out her story. As a young girl she had many visits to heaven. She talks about it and paints it too! You Tube it friends! I was very touched by her and her story.