When Are you Going to Follow Jesus and Get Your Life Straightened Out?

Before I fell headlong for Jesus and became a Christian, I was not a calm woman. I did a bunch of ridiculous (and dangerous) stuff. I also had completely stupid ideas about life, which I won’t bore you with.

During this darling phase of my life there was one particular woman who drove me bonkers. Every time she saw me (a lot) she asked, “When are you going to start following Jesus and get your life straightened out?” She was relentless, and because she was my mom’s friend, I couldn’t find it in myself to tell her to bug off. I may have been an immoral hellion, but I was still a Southern girl with Southern manners. And by the way, her question is a particularly Baptist (and Southern) one.

Christians are always harping on you to get your life straightened out and of course, they have the answer for how to do that (and no, I don’t mean Jesus). Stop doing this. Stop doing that. Stop. Stop. Stop. Law. Law. Law. They care more about propriety than they do Jesus most of the time. She wanted me to get my life straightened out foremost and first of all.  There were several people rooting for that change of direction, including myself.

Its like my anxiety attacks. I’m told, “Well, just stop them. Just stay calm.”  Loved ones assume I have some measure of control and if I wanted to I could just quit the panic attack mid-stream. Like here I am refusing to stop a panic attack because feeling like I’ve got the stomach flu while having a heart attack is so much fun. Who would want to stop that?

Turns out I am quite literal. So, one day I piped up and said, “Which one of those do you want me to do? Follow Jesus or straighten out my life?”

I’ll give her props. She was dead honest. She said, “Well, I’m supposed to say follow Jesus, or both, or something like that, but really I’m just so sick of watching you make an idiot out of yourself that I want you to straighten out your life.”

Geez. And, I was worried about my Southern manners.

But then she dropped her guard and said, “But sweetie, if you never get yourself tidied up, you still need Jesus.” Truer words never spoken.

I am a bit tidier today–well, a lot actually–although I still have a lot of really insane ideas about life, but I did need Jesus. Not to straighten up my life, although he has helped me do that because I really couldn’t do it myself, but to be my friend, my confident, my comforter, my help and my Savior. Yes, my life needed all sorts of help, but my soul needed more. I needed someone to stand in my place before God and say, “She’s mine.”

Because ultimately her question was spot on. If I could not straighten out my life (and I could not) then how would I ever stand before a perfect, holy God? But, Jesus can. He can stand before God in all His perfection, and say, “She’s mine.” And that is good enough for God. So, by following Jesus I am given his righteousness. Which is Grace. Grace. Grace.