I hate to admit it, but growing up as a pastor’s kid there were times that I let what other people might think of me hold me back from a deeper relationship with God.
As much as I loved worship, prayer, intercession, and would cry and open up before God in private, I struggled with allowing myself to be broken, vulnerable, and desperate before God when I felt called to respond to many altar opportunities.
Fear of people, appearance, and what they might think:
“Oh, I wonder what’s going on with the pastor’s kid” “I wonder what sin is going on her life” “What did she do this past week?” “What is she so broken over?” “What is wrong with her?”
My fear of what other people thought, and my pride, held me back from delving deeper into my relationship with God. I allowed my fear of appearance to hinder my exclusivity with God. I allowed the “need” to have appearances accurately reflect a reality, rather than allow my relationship with God to just speak for itself. But, when we don’t allow ourselves to go before God and open up, the reality of our true relationship with God may not yet be unveiled!
I desperately needed God!
I thought I was so secure and confident; I wasn’t.
I thought I had figured out who I was in Christ; I hadn’t.
I have made many mistakes in my life, but this is at the top of the ones I regret the most. Honestly, had I allowed myself to draw nearer to God in a more open, real, and humbling way, I may not have found myself in situations or struggles that I battled later on.
When I look back at specific moments, I think, “Girrrrlll…you needed to go up! Even if you felt you weren’t doing something wrong, you should’ve been up there, and you know it! Quit your human reasonings.”
One story that I really don’t like to think about, which is humbling for me to share, was when I was the only teen who didn’t go up to the altar at a Lake Geneva Christian Center Family Camp event. I remember exactly what I was thinking and feeling. I felt that if I didn’t “have to” go up, had a great relationship with God, didn’t feel conviction about actions, etc., that going up would somehow harm me or inaccurately reflect me. I felt I was in a pretty mature phase in my life. EEK! How prideful! How immature. How selfish. What a hidden form of self-idolatry. Yuck.
I understand my thinking and intentions, and I certainly didn’t mean to exude or attain those characteristics, but nonetheless, that is what it was. I had unseen growth and refinement that yet awaited me! Seeing myself back then, from the standpoint of a much-older-me now, I shake my head and think, “You missed out on so much. You missed the point. You missed the meaning of the altar. You missed out on what it really meant to draw nearer to God, and how to allow him to embrace you closer.”
This is something that doesn’t just apply to pastors’ kids. It applies to any Christian during their walk with God.
Don’t allow this tricky thinking to hold you back: God doesn’t have to meet me at the altar; he’s powerful and can meet me right where I am at. If my heart is right, it doesn’t matter.
Having to justify our thinking in that moment already reveals what is in our hearts and minds.
I don’t say this to shame you. I say this because I don’t want you to miss out! That type of thinking caused me to “justify” and miss out on a lot of things.
Wherever you are in your relationship with God,don’t let anything hold you back when you feel that pull to go to the altar and meet before God, just you and him.