When I Decided Jesus wasn't Freaky

Photo by Emily Fletke  @fletkefoto

Photo by Emily Fletke @fletkefoto

I had a lot of questions about this “Jesus” people seemed so crazy about. Friends were obsessed with him, like a first boyfriend or something. To be honest, it kinda weirded me out. A relationship with an invisible man? They must be really desperate.

I knew a lot of facts about Jesus, but faith had been more of a fable growing up. My family went to church on Sundays, like all the other “nice” families did… We smiled and waved at people across the room. I did my best not to act up during the service, and I prayed the time would pass quickly so I could get to lunch.

In college I attempted to “draw near” to God. Still, it was more of a comforting and familiar ritual than a life-altering relationship.

I often heard people talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus, but my friendships filled that need just fine. The Bible seemed to offer nice sayings and wise life advice, but not much for my day-to-day life. I was being a “good” person and that seemed to be working out alright. Then:


A couple of years out of college, a friend visited me and prayed for me to receive the “Holy Spirit.” My church upbringing had not prepared me for this. Yet, having just come through a dark season of anxiety and depression, I was open to receiving all the help I could get.


The Spirit wasn’t a docile white dove, but an all-consuming fire that played no games with my shame from past wounds and personal failures: sexual abuse, attempted suicide, multiple broken relationships, sexual mess-ups.

The Spirit seared through the toxic shame, and my soul felt its worth for the first time.

I had my first vision of Jesus.

Jesus sat on the white hospital bed in the unit where I was taken after an attempted suicide. With my eyes closed while my friend prayed, the scene played out in my mind’s eye. The hospital unit had haunted me for months — a source of deep shame and self-contempt. But, seeing Jesus comforting the people around me — well, it broke me. I understood his love for me. I saw how much it hurt his heart to see people hurting. I saw his sincere desire to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up their wounds.

The “invisible” Jesus became visible. I understood he is alive...right now!

The next morning I woke up with supernatural hope — a hope I had never felt before. Somehow, miraculously, life felt worth living again — and nothing has been the same since.

Do you feel shame and self-contempt?