This past weekend I finally put to rest something that has been nagging me for years. I was baptized. Yes, as an adult.
You see, I became a believer at an early age. Yet, I was never baptized. Not that I remember anyway.
I grew up in a Methodist church (they sprinkle) during my elementary years and then went to a Southern Baptist church during my high school years. I don’t remember a strong emphasis on baptism at either. It’s possible that I either wasn’t listening or I was ignoring the next step. Who knows? My memories from childhood are somewhat fuzzy at times.
We have been attending our current church for about 9 years and baptism is a common event. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually started to question whether or not I had been baptized. I kind of just assumed that I had and the memory had been lost with all of my other childhood memories. If I’ve been saved for this long then surely I was baptized somewhere a long the way. Right?
But it seemed that every devotional or Bible study that mentioned baptism caused a little tightening of my chest and flutter in my stomach. I finally started paying attention and realized that the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me something.
2014 has been a year of me saying “yes” to God. I’ve learned through the example of others (like this family) that saying “yes” the first time can be rewarding and amazing. I don’t have to worry about the details of what the Lord is asking me to do. I simply have to say “yes” and follow through. And believe you me, He has asked me to step outside my comfort zone quite a bit this year.
Anyway, when the Lord put baptism on my heart again a few months ago, I said “yes” and made a commitment to find out for sure if I had been submersed or not. Ultimately, I decided that even if I had been previously dunked, I was going to do it again anyway. Baptism is special and a milestone to be remembered and celebrated. I wanted to have a memory to hang on to.
I wasn’t quite sure how other people would respond to me being baptized at such an age. I even worried that people would think I had just recently become a Believer and that would somehow nullify every decision I’ve made previously to let the Lord lead my life. Bottom line, it was prideful and I had to let go of those silly details. My decision to “get wet for Jesus” was God directed and my only task was to go through with it.
I thought I would be nervous come baptism day but I wasn’t. At all. I was really excited! Okay, I was slightly worried that I would be the person who inhaled the water and became a flailing, choking mess. You know, because Murphy loves me. 😉
I’m pleased to report that the whole process was quite relaxed and pleasant. I enjoyed chatting with folks from the baptistry committee back stage. They were so encouraging! I also love that TDF let’s you get baptized in your street clothes if you want. Wearing robe would have felt a little too ritualistic for me. I was able to walk into the water wearing my jeans & t-shirt, all with a flower in my hair, of course. Click for video.
Speaking of the water, it was gloriously warm. Like bath water. I’m not quite sure how to describe the feeling of being baptized. Is magical too much? I was laid back slowly, just enough to cover my face and then gently raised back out of the water. In the video you can see that I have a huge grin on my face, upon resurfacing, because it just felt so cool.
WHY GET BAPTIZED?
It’s symbolic. It represents being buried with Christ (death to sin) and born again to a new life in Christ.
Jesus commands it. Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” – John 3:5
It’s submissive. Baptism has been called the first step of obedience. If you are going to, as we say around here, “let God pilot your life” then that means following His desires, not our own.
WHY DID I GET BAPTIZED?
Because God told me to. But, you know what, I should have said “yes“ a long time ago. The whole experience was so exciting and peace-filled just knowing that I was being obedient. Following His plan for my life really is freeing and liberating for the control freak that I am. I think I am just now starting to understand the meaning of “his yoke is easy.” If it’s His plan then he already knows the details, which means I don’t have to worry about them. My only task is to say “yes” and follow through.
QUESTIONS ABOUT BAPTISM?
Feel free to reach out to me in the comments, on Facebook or through email. If I don’t know the answer I can point you in the right direction. Lifetrack is also a great place to start.