God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
I grew up a Christian. When I turned 18 I decided that I didn't want to live the Christian life-style any more. So, I didn't. I went my own way and did what I wanted. I did that for about 10 years.
One day, I was sitting and pondering God and I heard him say "I want you to come back." My response was not the "Yes, Lord." kind of response. It was a "No, thank you." I did explain to him that I didn't want to follow a bunch of rules that didn't seem to be helping anyone. He said, "Don't worry about the rules. Just come get to know me."
That was an intriguing request and honestly, what did I have to lose? I entered into this agreement with a list of things I would never give up. I was going to be who I was and I was going to do what I wanted. God, in his infinite wisdom didn't try to change that.
What he did do was show up in our relationship. He gently showed me who he is and changed my thinking about him. He didn't push me or try to force me to be who he wanted me to be. He gently loved me and in return, I fell in love with him.
And now, now I sit here all these years later and marvel at all those things I gave up to be closer to him. There isn't anything I wouldn't consider changing so he could do what he wanted with my life. I guess the thing I marvel at the most is that he did it by loving who I was where I was at the time.
I want to be more like God was when he called me. I want to accept and love people where they are and then maybe, just maybe they'll see Jesus in my actions and fall in love with him too. I sit here and know there are lots of things I still have to give up. Pride, judgemental thoughts, well.....if I typed out the list we'd be here all day. Lucky for me (and all of us), God's is still showing up and loving me right where I am.