Saved

I was saved the other day.

I’d been thinking about how much I’d like to begin afresh, to start over with some aspects of my life, to wake up one day and not be the same angry, neurotic basketcase I normally am (on the inside, at least.) I was thinking about how it might feel to be “saved” in the way you always hear about, “reborn” to a life in Christ. What sort of energy would that give a person toward being a better, more useful human? I thought about how much I’d love to have that kind of renewed spirit.

In the 13 months that we’ve lived in our new home, we haven’t once had anyone come to our door spreading the Good Word. Well that very evening, after I had the roundabout wish to be saved, a preacher from a local Baptist church came to my house.

In previous encounters in past residences, I have politely but firmly sent them on their way. But he was a much older man and it was hot outside, so I offered him a glass of ice water. We’d just gotten our new porch furniture, so I was able to offer him a seat outside and sit with him for a moment.

He gave me his schpiel and didn’t say anything that would have made me stop listening, such as talk of the devil or hell. I do not believe in them and I will not allow someone to harangue me on the subject, unless I’m having a philosophical conversation with a trusted friend.

His sales talk led him to ask me if I’d like to pray with him to be saved (I am paraphrasing everything he said, because I’m not familiar enough with the Evangelical lingo to parrot it exactly.) For a second I flashed on the story of the man trapped on the roof of his house in a flood. He prayed to God to be saved. A man rowing a boat came by and told him to hop in, but the man refused, saying God would save him. A helicopter flew by and threw down a rope, but the man refused, saying God would save him. A while later he died in the flood. When he saw God, he sadly asked why God didn’t save him. God said, “I sent a boat and a helicopter, what else did you want?”

I wasn’t going to send away this rescue mission, having just hours ago requested it.

So I said I’d like to say the prayer with him. He asked me to repeat the words after him and to believe them as I say them. I remember answering, “If I believe them, I’ll repeat them.” I wasn’t going to say anything I didn’t actually believe.

The prayer was about accepting and trusting Jesus, following him, stating that he died for our redemption, that sort of thing (again, I’m paraphrasing). I really did believe everything he said.

Then we exchanged some further niceties, he said he’d see me in heaven, and he left.

Afterwards I was very aware of how I was feeling, and what might have been different. He had talked about how now I was saved and forgiven of all my sins, past, present and future. I’ve always rejected this idea, because it seems like a carte blanche to engage in all kinds of less-than-holy behaviors, and it also seems to eliminate accountability for future errors.

But I felt a bit lighter, and it occurred to me how much Catholic guilt I’d been living with my whole life, and that this might be an experiment in letting go of all that. I’d operated my entire existence under the assumption that I was a horrible sinner who had probably committed some awful sin when I wasn’t paying attention and if I got hit by a bus, I’d see that my tally sheet was woefully in the red.

According to this man, I was now saved no matter what. You can’t earn heaven, he’d said, it’s a gift, and all you have to do is accept it.

How would my life look and feel different if, instead of feeling this constant, nagging guilt, I had a sense of lightness and joy? If I had a sure sense that Jesus really did save us all with His selfless life and sacrifice?

In the days since I was saved, I have mostly forgotten to remember that I am saved and to live accordingly. Old habits die hard. I’d love to live in joy, even if I feel pain. I’d love to always come from a place of love, even in the face of challenges. I’d love to trust completely in SOMETHING, anything, even the ground under my feet.

Have you ever been saved? How did it change your life?

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14 responses to “Saved

  1. Simple Theologian

    Honestly, it’s a journey. Hang on to Jesus. The inexplicable feeling of God’s love will continually grow that more you rest on His shoulders!

  2. No. But I did ask to be shown the path I was meant to take, to be shown the job I was meant to do: seven years later and after becoming completely obsessive-compulsive about my research and my version of saving the world, I have finally worked out that you have to go ‘through’ stuff rather than block it or be overwhelmed by it. Make of that what you will! :-)

    • Could an accurate analogy to this experience be diving under a too-large wave, rather than simply standing up to it and letting it slam you on the sand? I’d love to discuss it further, as I am also coming to understand the wisdom (and utility!) of working with/through things instead of employing our instinctive fight or flight impulses. (Am I even close to what you’re talking about?)

      • Yes spot on. It’s all about connecting with the sensations of your body and just letting them be. Actually quite hard to do, I’ve found.

        • Actually woke at 2am!!! thinking about this. On reflection think it’s more learning to go with the wave, keep your head above water and not be engulfed by it. Not surfing it, being in it and allowing that to be OK – but also keeping conscious of the process. Grief, I’d better just finish the book!

          • Sorry to have distracted you! ;)

            Sounds very Buddhist, maintaining awareness, embracing what is, transforming oneself or one’s environment (which is actually one and the same!) by harmonizing with what is and moving forward while deeply connected to the present.

            Closer? :)

            • Probably. Due to sleep deprivation my brain don’t work good. :) It’s about really feeling the sensations in our viscera and muscles and keeping conscious even when those sensations are incredibly intense. Is that what the Buddhists mean? Really must do coffee some time!!

  3. Simple Theologian

    I would like to add the one thing I have come to understand about being “Saved” is that we abandon all false hope in ourselves and solely rely on Jesus, a lifestyle devoted to Loving God and Loving others in the manner that Jesus did!

    • Yes, I agree that this is an essential part of it. Buddhist philosophy would call this the death of the ego, or achieving egolessness, where we cease to believe we are a separate entity (which is an illusion) and we fully embrace Oneness. As the preacher who saved me said, we can do nothing to earn or lose our salvation, it is a “gift.” Our belonging to the All is not something we have to work towards, or deserve in some way, we simply have to wake up to it and live it!

      Thank you for adding this comment, and if you think of anything else please come back and add it too!

  4. I say the prayer often and each time I am renewed, restored, refreshed and made brand new! I also was baptized as a child, but I was led to be baptized in the ocean last summer. It was not only an outward physical ritual but a life changing, Spirit-filled, mystical, ineffable experience of the Power and Presence of the Most High! I wrote a lengthy description on my blog (although words fail to convey the mystery). Since then my Life has become even richer and the depths of our Infinite God keep revealing to me the unbelievable riches of the wisdom, presence and unsearchable Majesty of our Creator. God bless you!

  5. Hi, Elena. I found my way here through the rewild.info forums :). I almost did not read this post, but I am glad I did because it is not as proselytizing as I expected. I’m glad that you had a good experience. It’s interesting to read about other people’s perspectives.

    I was not raised in a religious household, but I have had friends try to convert me. To me, being saved feels like going to a play or reading a sci fi novel: a certain suspension of disbelief is required. The Christian worldview does not fit with the way my senses tell me that the world works.

    • Glad you found me here! The Rewild forum is not as active as I’d originally hoped, but I check back every once in a while.

      I agree with you that I cannot subscribe to something that doesn’t make sense to me or doesn’t resonate. That’s why I appreciate and study Buddhism, because it specifically validates that each individual has the right (and obligation?) to process everything through their own filters of intuition, experience, etc.

      I will never join the church whose pastor “saved” me because I know that when I say, “I don’t believe in hell” they are going to either try to talk me out of that or throw me out. When I state unequivocally that I do not believe homosexuality is a sin, same thing. There is just so much about what they say that I refuse to accept.

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