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A Sunday in September

It was a Sunday in September — no one seems to have a record of the exact date, though it was such a life-changing day for me (even *I* didn’t keep record of this milestone, though I did mark it in my planner, which I eventually threw away) — when I got baptized while in college, shortly after turning 21.

It was a full immersion baptism in the swimming pool in the backyard of my friends’ parents’ house — where, unbeknownst to me at the time, I would come to live for four-plus months, less than a year later.

The day right after I got baptized was one of the most miraculous days of my life, where my public expression of faith in the middle of my secular university campus was actually a response to another person’s statement in the same spot three days prior, though I didn’t know that beforehand. (I wrote about this God-story seven years later, in grad school, when I was assigned to write a creatively descriptive literary essay about a “transformative life experience.")

When it comes to life change, many people go on “life hacking” spurts or even New Age journeys to try to change their lives and find themselves. There is an entire industry, including podcasts, books, and more, based on the concept of “your best life now.” But beyond all the different ways we can level up and try to find ourselves and design our lives,

have you ever tried repentance? How about baptism? Have you ever tried just quitting trying to be in charge of your life altogether — and letting God be in charge instead?

That’s what changed my life the most. And ironically, it’s when I stopped trying to be in charge of my own life (I regrettably took back the reins later on, in less faith-filled times, but let’s talk about my baptism season!) that I received incredible guidance, insight and clarity about my future.

In the short time leading up to my baptism and in the months that followed, as I prioritized seeking God, He gave me many downloads about my future — especially my future husband! I was not asking for these realizations; they were simply surprise gifts as I pursued the Lord.

For example, it’s during that season that I determined with the Lord what kind of engagement ring I wanted and spoke it aloud. Years later, Anthony gave me exactly that, and above and beyond, without even knowing it’s what I wanted — that’s a whole other story!

I also came to know during my baptism season that when I got married, it wouldn’t be a time of “settling down” but of getting up and going places — and our marriage has been exactly that. For the first year and a half of our marriage, it seemed like we traveled more than we were home!

So many special things in my present life sprouted from seeds in that season. But in order for those seeds to grow, they first had to be planted in the ground.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a (seed) falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24).

That’s what happens when you go into the water to get baptized. You shed your old self. You put to death your former selfish life and instead surrender to be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit.

The following verse states, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). I have seen this play out in reality!

Though I haven’t lived it perfectly in the decade-plus since my baptism, it was a decisive act that I can always return and re-commit to whenever I fall astray. And the insights I have received and the miraculous things I have experienced as a result of my baptism are undeniable. It’s like when you see something shocking and you’re like, “I can never unsee that.” Well, the same goes with God.

When you experience things with Him; you can never un-experience them! Your soul is marked forever.

There’s a life advice quote that says, “To find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.” That’s pretty close to what the Bible says. But the highest Other you can serve is the Lord. To lose yourself in Him, is to find your true self and discover the life that you were intended to live.

As Colossians 3:4 says, your true self is hidden in Christ.

If you’d like to get baptized, contact a local Bible-believing church. It’s an important commitment with God, but I promise you’ll never regret it.
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