I grew up in the Baptist life as a child. I went to church every Sunday with my family – forced strongly against my will to wear dresses and act like a lady one day a week. I sat through all the kid’s Bible stories in Sunday school, went to youth group camps and outings, and did community charity events.
I was a believer. Mostly because I was told to be one. Culturally though? I liked my heavy metal music, art, Halloween, scary things – there was a clear cultural difference. Especially in the 80’s where anything that was remotely fun was considered ‘evil’.
I believed in evolution and science and studied art, biology and technology. I watched science fiction movies and played ghost in the graveyard, bloody mary, practiced levitating, toyed around with an Ouija board at sleepovers, and a bunch of other fun spooky stuff. It’s just what kids did back then.
I was told once that I couldn’t skateboard at church, and that I need to act more like a lady. That pretty much ruined everything for me and put the nail in the coffin on religion. So the rebellion began.
I was a follower of Christ. I was kind, respectful, loved my neighbor and my enemy. Probably too much. I never felt acceptance through church, which is unfortunate.
Needless to say, because of the intense judgement and scrutiny from Christians, I couldn’t stay in that life for very long. I had to venture out on my own – an open minded, free spirit – unattached to the things of this world.
Fast forward 25 years.
I found myself – married, kids, an awesome job, and financially pretty well off. I did all the things I wanted to do in life and things I was ‘supposed’ to do. I meandered a little here and there along the way with a couple of lame boyfriends, and got myself in a few unfortunate circumstances, but I made it through alive and became an adult. I found my One, settled down, bought a house, had a couple kids, and a couple of dogs – sitting pretty.
There was just one thing…
I was STILL bored with life. Very bored.
I was working as an engineer at location data services company run by Germans – creating traffic software to monitor traffic on the roads and for in-vehicle navigation systems. I worked on big projects for the biggest car companies in the world – BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Audi and more.
I was sitting at work super bummed, thinking to myself WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? I should be out there helping people!
How did I end up an engineer? As cool as it sounds, I never set out to be an engineer – although I really do love problem solving and building things. I took a hard look at how I got there.
Turns out, I was doing it because other people thought I could, and to get revenge on an ex-boyfriend who constantly told me I was stupid. He wanted to be an engineer – not me, and he didn’t make it. ( …and I did, HA! )
Anways, this was still was not where I planned to be. I wanted to be an artist and designer since I was 4 years old. It’s crazy that I was thinking these thoughts with everything that I’ve achieved. I was an ungrateful, spoiled, brat, in great need of REPENTANCE.
I remember sitting at my desk staring at my screen, looking at the news. I threw out a thought:
"Lord, How do I live through my higher self?"
I didn’t really think twice about it, I just threw it out there. I didn’t even know it at the time, but it was actually a prayer. The events that unfolded after this prayer were not instantaneous, but were nothing short of miraculous. ( I will explain in detail in later posts )
First Things First
I stopped scrolling Facebook and social media and turned it over to Wikipedia. Which eventually lead me back to the life of Jesus.
If I was going to embark on this journey again, I first had to drop all the beef I had with the Christians from my childhood and clear out all of my unconscious biases. I approached their subject with new eyes – like a scientist. I wanted to get down the the roots of these stories in the Bible, for myself – MY TRUTH. In order to start doing this, I framed the whole story of Jesus as fiction first, and I brought down the status of the Bible to just being a book. An old, ancient, science-fiction novel. This idea got me excited.
No big deal. I can read a book.
This was a good start for me to get going. The initial thought process went a little like this:
Jesus seems pretty cool and look at all the stuff he could do. He made his own wine. He’s a very skilled fisherman, knows how to divy up that bread, was a fairly adept businessman. He’s an innovator, move over Steve Jobs! He speaks in metaphors, which I find quite poetic.
Other items on the list: walks on water (expert surfer), hangs out in the wilderness (mountain biking, hiking, and camping), good with kids. Basically, he knows how to have a good time.
The prostitute thing is a little sketchy. I decided to check out Mary Magdalane. Were they dating or not? It’s hard to tell. She seems really cool. I’d kick it with her too. I really don’t want to think he did anything with them. So I’ll leave it at that.
I still wanted to follow Jesus, but there was still a lot of unanswered questions. Like, I knew very little about his mom and dad, and where he was from, and what exactly was he doing between the ages of say birth to 30?
As I got to know him a little better, He felt like an older brother to me. That guy who I love hanging out with, but who’s always going to be better than me. Gah!
Some healthy, brotherly competition. Just what I needed.
But how can I, a female, be like Jesus? I can’t do half the things he does with as much talent. I’m a woman, with obvious differences – like the upper body strength of a 12 year old, and hormones that keep me on edge and slightly irritable at times – craving chocolate like none other. I also have kids, which makes my brain go a bit crazy trying to keep up with school and schedules. Jesus didn’t have to worry about these things. It was easy for him to be chill and focused. It’s just not fair!
I Decided to Start With Just Me
because let’s face it, I’m not Jesus.
And that’s OK.
I looked at my things and saw how they related to those of Jesus. Turns out, we have A LOT more in common that I thought!
- I skateboard, snowboard, and try to surf -so basically I walk on water
- I had switched careers to my original calling: Product Designer
(Who’s the ultimate designer? GOD)
- I know many computer programming languages. I have the human-computer-interaction nailed down ( I’m working at getting better at human-to-human interaction.)
- I have long hair
- I like wine
- I wear sandals
- I like the outdoors
- I hang with the sinners
- We don’t like useless rules
- the list goes on
When I got to this point, Jesus was really feeling like one of my best friends.
This relationship definitely has helped me get through the emotional things a lot easier, and with much more Grace. I really like that word.
I’m not going to lie, following Jesus feels like I’m being crucified at times. I know it’s because people just don’t really understand what it’s about. Many churches don’t even understand what it’s about, and really suck at teaching it – in my honest opinion.
I’m going to continue doing life the way Jesus did – in MY OWN STYLE. Just like he insisted I do. (Seriously though, he told me, he wouldn’t want it any other way)
This part was just the beginning
I drew a portrait of me as Jesus. I keep it in my mind all the time whenever I need to chat with someone and no one else is around. ‘She’ is my BFF, my ‘Ride or Die’, the One that can relate because she’s a She and she knows me – all the hormones, body issues, brain issues, and everything. She’s a badass and everything I want to be.
She gets me to do things that I couldn’t do on my own. She’s my coach and comforter. I hear things through Her. She shares her brother’s line. They talk all the time.
I like her A LOT.