I am 25yrs old, have been a Jesus lover for 25yrs (like everyone, certainly with highs and lows in my journey)… I believe all babies know their creator and I made it official at the age of two..yet now I have decided to get baptised! Yes! I am scared..and it may seem surprising that I have not already been dunked in a big pool. I had water sprinkled on me as a baby and I am so thankful for God blessing me with parents who brought me up to love Jesus for myself, I followed my sister in getting confirmed as a teen (though found it all very odd and the bishop genuinely hurt my head when he laid hands!) yet this Sunday night I will get baptised.
Why? Well this is where my thoughts unravel.
There’s been a lot of things that have brought me to this place. I actually questioned it over a year ago in a blog I wrote ‘Why believe? Crazy Christians’ (https://hannahbettany.com/2014/06/08/why-believe-crazy-christians/) Most times I watch someone choosing to be baptised I get a stirring in my stomach and a wierd ache that I haven’t done it. Yet, in honesty, I would hate to get wet in front of a load of people. So I squish it.
A couple weeks ago my friend Pete spoke at church about the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. When he spoke about the older brother he said maybe it wasn’t jealousy that made him so angry that his Dad threw a party for his little brother who had come home after time away wasting his inheritance. Maybe it was rooted in his own ‘complacency’. He had become complacent.
As he spoke I saw a picture of a bright, light room. For someone who has been in darkness, to walk into a bright room, it is daunting, striking, beautiful and a contrast to everything else. Yet the longer you stay in a bright room, your eyes adjust, you can become accustomed to the light. You can forget the power and purity and goodness that is held in the light room and become complacent. It struck a cord with me. I sometimes forget the power I have, the freedom that I can walk in, because I carry inside me a very bright light. The light of the world-and darkness can never put it out.
The Father says to the son in this story in Luke 15.31 ‘Why are you so angry, you have been with me all this time, everything I have is yours’. If only we knew the honour and had the true gratitude of knowing how amazing it is to be with the Father. I felt this was a challenge to me. I have been with the Father for all this time, I love Him. Everything of heaven is gifted to me, John 15 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Sat with all this going on in my head. I felt excited at the idea of getting baptised. Yet didn’t know exactly why. I am genuinely worried about being wet in front of loads of people. So told Jesus ‘I don’t really need to because i am already a Christian, already filled with your Spirit and.. I’m ok, why would I need to.’ I felt Jesus say ‘Well I am Jesus, and I did it’.
Often it for relating to the prodigal son that people get baptised. For me, it is his brother. Though, with my fear of falling and not wanting to get wet..I still will think and pray about it. Something in me is fighting it.
A few things since then triggered the feeling again. A song or a podcast. Most things I am listening to at the minute, even if the title is about something lovely the message keeps being ‘die to self’. Oh man. That is the part of Christianity that is hard to sell, as you can only understand it when you love someone enough to die for them. One was about how to ‘die to self’ may not look like martyrdom, it may be turning off facebook and spending time in the word. Ultimately in all these things for me I have kept thinking ‘It might look like getting wet’.
Then today I heard a Ted Talk, it is one I listened to years ago from a researcher called Brene Brown, a super clever lady. Her talk is here (https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en) and so good when you have 20mins to watch. The point is that at the core of us, we need to be vulnerable in order to have connection. Vulnerability is the scariest thing to do, super uncomfortable, yet actually-once through-it is the key to all good things, to joy and peace and true relationship.
I really enjoyed this talk and remember when I heard it a couple years back it was really helpful. Yet today I had 3 children to look after and so couldn’t process it through in my head.
Tonight (friday 16.10.15 night)
Then tonight I went to a women’s conference at an awesome church called ‘Audacious!’. Speaking, was Sophia Barrett, she spoke about Dependance. Then everything clicked into place for me. Condensing a 45 minute talk into 5 seconds she said:
‘For there to be power in a relationship, there has to be a dependence. We think it’s being or having independence that gives power – but it’s dependence. For me to receive God’s power fully, I have to be fully dependent on Him. When we walk with Jesus we sign over our independence, my life – my all – is His.’
In our weakness He is strong, vulnerability is a good thing. Not to feel lowly or be whiney or weak. Yet to know that through giving up control, I am stronger than ever. I have all the authority of heaven behind me. Because when you dig deeper into me, you see a dependant women. A woman dependent on her God, knowing He is the answer to all my needs.
She spoke about the woman in Mark 14 who poured out all she had, poured the most expensive perfume on Jesus. Like her, we pour out our lives to Him. We give him everything. Pour security, pour our future plans, pour our ability to take control, pour our independence.
To others it may look like foolishness. Yet Jesus’ words are ‘Leave her alone, she is doing a BEAUTIFUL thing’.
These are all things I know. Yet I love how we can go to deeper and deeper levels of knowing and experiencing it. It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me. Making me fearless because it’s not about me.
So if Jesus has one ounce more blessing to give me by me choosing to get wet in front of people, then I want it!
Yet more than that I want to give Him something. Like the woman in Mark 14, I want to publicly pour myself on Him, even if people think me foolish, all I have and who I am to Him. To give it all to Him by entering the water and saying I want release from anything that is not of him. A release of fear, sin, sickness, pride, independence, hurt, judgements..etc.. and a releasing to be anointed afresh and declare that I deny myself and choose to go where He leads.
Like I have said in my heart for the past 25 years. I will not become complacent, living in the bright room. I will ask for the lights to be turned up brighter, to expect more and to pour my Love on the one who loved me first. and when people look, I hope they see a women who is dependent, fully dependent on her God.