Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 3: My Introduction to the Artist


As I discussed yesterday, purpose begins with God -- our Creator, our Artist, our Poet. Yet it's not enough to know about God to tap into our true purpose in Him. We must know Him personally. Instead of giving a four-point outline of how to come to know God personally, why don't I just tell the story of how I began a relationship with Him...

Douglas Memorial Community Church

As a child, I attended church every single Sunday morning with my family. My church was known for its activism dating back to the civil rights era. It was full of ambitious black folks that believed in higher education, political activism and social justice. We were a culturally rich church. While morality and personal ethics were appreciated and taught, however, there wasn't a huge emphasis on Bible study. I learned how to be a good person and faithful church member, but not how to begin and nurture a relationship with God. (Praise God, over the years my parents' church has grown much in its emphasis on the Bible.)


So it was in that spiritual state that I entered Howard University, a historically black institution of high academic standards. But with those high standards came students from all over the country and world, with a melting pot of beliefs and practices. When I think back I remember two distinct cultures at Howard. By day, the campus was full of bright, highly-motivated students, studying hard to achieve their dreams and the dreams of our African American forebears. By night, the dorms were full of mischievous and downright lewd activities. And it seemed that many of the students that had been raised in the church underwent a metamorphosis of sorts. Having lived sheltered lives, they'd apparently let loose and shaken off their parents' expectations.

I teetered somewhere in the middle -- not completely losing my mind, but not living for God either. I remember for the first time feeling a void in my soul. Something was missing in my life. I just didn't know what it was.

Fast forward a couple of months into my freshman year. My cousin, also my freshman year roommate, and I ended up in a weekly meeting of Campus Crusade for Christ. We'd seen a flier advertising that evening's topic: "Sex and Dating." We were amused and intrigued. What were these "holy rollers" going to discuss about sex and dating?

Well, to our surprise the meeting was enjoyable. The music was good, and the speaker was too. And for the first time, I realized God had quite a bit to say about sex. Who knew?

As good as the meeting was, we certainly didn't plan on attending on a regular basis. We filled out cards with our personal information, unaware of the purpose for these "follow-up cards." So when we began receiving visits from a Campus Crusade staff member, we would scramble to turn off the lights, television, radio or anything else that would identify us as being home. We even had a lookout girl that would call us when she saw the lady stepping off the elevator. By the time she made it down the hall to our room, we'd be as quiet as church mice.

At some point I guess we got tired of this game of "ducking out the missionary." So one day we let her in. When we did, she explained very clearly how we could begin a personal relationship with God. Now I believed in God, but a personal relationship with Him? I had always seen Him as a faraway God that loved me, but chose not to interfere in the small details of my life. He was the distant Father, living abroad, sending money back home to take care of my needs. He wasn't the Father nearby that I could touch and talk to. One Whose lap I could crawl into when I was afraid or lonely.

I didn't know a lot back then in that little homely-decorated dorm room. But I knew I wanted the God that this lady talked about. I understood that Jesus was the way to this God. I knew that if I opened my heart to Him and asked Him to come in, He would always live there. I knew if I gave Him control of my life, He would fill the void in my soul. And I knew for sure that I'd spend eternity with Him when I died.

I didn't know that almost everything about me and my world would change that day. I didn't know that my relationships and my aspirations would change. I didn't know that my reason for living, my hopes and my dreams -- they would all change. The day I began a relationship with God, He transformed my purpose for living.

Has He transformed your purpose? Why not ask Him to today?

Purposed For Him,

Carla

8 comments:

  1. Your blog is so encouraging to me and it's exactly what I need to hear right now!!

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  2. So well said, and the image of you hiding away in your room cracked me up! I am completely enjoying reading your posts :)

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  3. Thanks Sherrie! You don't know how encouraging that is to hear!

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  4. Thanks Michelle! Enjoying yours too, Girl...

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  5. Carla, that is so funny that you girls hid from the missionary lady! LOL Who would've thought you'd be in fully time ministry with your family.
    What a great post!

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  6. I loved reading this post! It makes me miss you and Pastor Anthony more! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  7. Thanks Sheryl! We miss you and all the STBC fam too. You have no idea!

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