Running with wolves.

I gave my testimony the other night before the women’s group at my church. It was surreal. I hate public speaking, and crowds, and people focusing all their attention on me (which is why I’ll ask you a million questions so I never have to talk about myself), but I prayed hard that the Holy Spirit would take the lead and boy, did he ever.

I’m pretty sure I blacked out, but everyone said I did well so there’s that.

Following Jesus means doing hard things. It sometimes means giving everything about yourself for little return. And here’s the rub: why am I even holding my hand out, waiting to receive something in the first place?

This isn’t about me. It’s about Him.

In Luke (14:25-34), there’s a passage that talks about counting the cost of following Jesus. I’ve encountered people who seem to think church is just a weekly commitment, a Sunday ritual that’s as familiar as making a morning cup of coffee but not much more.

Why even go?

I don’t go to church to socialize. I HATE socializing, which again, is why I have to pray every second I’m there that the Holy Spirit takes over and softens my heart. I tend to be a cynical creature and have to ask God on the daily to tame my acerbic tongue and steady my eyes in my head lest they roll right out of their sockets.

The old Ericka was a real peach, FYI.

I go to church because hurting people go to church, and I want to know those people. I’m a “fringe seeker.” I want to know where the pained ones congregate so I can be there, too. I want to hear their stories. I want to pray with them. I want them to see what’s happened to me, behind what looks like a relatively put together person. Because we all have that: our outward persona. It’s our inward one that’s worth sharing.

Jesus said to be shrewd (Luke 16:1-13). To keep our eyes out for the wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 10:16). I think this is something that most Christians forget about. People generally just want to be nice, and make friends, and not rock the boat. But I want truth. I want to use my brain and heart to navigate towards those who are truly called to seek God.

Because that’s the thing: not everyone at church is.

But again, I have to also give my thoughts and words and mind and heart to Jesus. I am not the judge here. I keep my eyes open, but I also have to keep my love constantly available.

Because I used to be the problem, the wolf likely to devour a few beating hearts.

And if I can change, well, so can anyone.

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