Procrastination: Pro·cras·ti·na·tion, the action of delaying or postponing something. I want you all to know Mandy, Palms of Joy’s beautiful curator and author, writes these blogs sometimes weeks before she posts. She’s organized, calculated, and knows exactly what she feels lead to communicate. I, on the other hand, am writing this on the Tuesday before my Thursday take over! I’ll probably pull the proverbial “all-nighter” as an ode to my college paper writing days. My due date is tomorrow from our fearless encourager, and the one I get to call my wife!
While I did not procrastinate pursuing Mandy, I did delay my pursuit of faith and a personal relationship with God. I probably still do delay or postpone the nudges I get from God out of fear or judgment, but what’s awesome about God is he keeps trying, he keeps knocking. I’d like to share a bit of Mandy and I’s story about what can happen when we allow God to catch our attention.
Catching my attention can be difficult at times. However, when Mandy and I were what she would have called “friends” she caught my attention. I’m not just talking about her smile that goes on for days; she caught my attention with a simple question. Mandy’s question to me was, “Top three things most important in your life?” Mandy’s top two answers were faith and family. I can’t remember her third answer but I’m almost certain it was coffee. Mine, who knows, but I’m not putting in past myself to say, “uuummm…The Falcons, The Braves, and whatever is for dinner.”
So I’m also a mind reader, I forgot to mention that. The next night Mandy asked, (seriously this is all she said), “Hey Kyle, can I ask you something?” Like a fortune teller at a crystal ball I responded, “You’re about to ask me why faith wasn’t in my top three aren’t you?” You can pick up your jaw now. This brings me to my first nudge from God, and the first time I started to listen.
About a year and half prior to meeting Mandy, I took a girl out on a date while I was living in DC, and at the end of the date she asked me the same question about my faith. I had no answer for her and she politely told me, “Well, I’m sorry, I’ve had a great time and you’re really nice, but there will be no second date. I’m looking for someone who can walk with me in faith.”
I thought, well that’s awful bold of her but this also sucks! I called a familiar friend to the blog, Kelly Hayes. She said, “Kyle, don’t date anyone for one year and lean into yourself.” Challenge accepted! Well guess who Kelly brought to dinner the next time I visited Atlanta about a year later? POJ mastermind herself Mandy Christine! She was stunning that night in Atlanta when we met for the first time.
Fast forward to about 6 months later. Sweet Mandy shared some late night fries with me after Kelly’s wedding, which lead to more talking and regular FaceTime dates on Sunday nights. Here is the second girl in a row that’s asking me about my faith. Although this time, I let that nudge move within me.
My first idea of acting on this nudge was pretty simple; there’s a church around the corner. I’ll give that a go. The City Church, now Citizen Heights, was rowdy! City Church, as many others, started with worship. What’s different about City Church is the entire congregation is up, dancing, singing along, and clapping like they all had just won $500 on a scratch off. I’m talking these people were feeling it! I on the other hand, was not.
Next, Pastor Michael Giroux, who I still have a bit of a man crush on, said, “meet 5 new people!” I felt like I had been flipped upside down by everyone’s joy in the building. I also felt like I was going partially deaf, and would have rather had a turtle shell on my back to hide inside. Everyone went to find their friends as I was standing there, attempting to regain my hearing, when the person in front of me turned around to say hello. My introverted self said, alright, meeting 1 out 5 new people isn’t bad, I’ll sit down now.
I listened to Pastor Mike’s message, filled out the connection card, but didn’t leave it because this wasn’t the church for me, these people are crazy, and they seriously need to calm down. God’s plan for me was different. The same day, as I walked home from the gym and was about to turn the corner to head home, the one person from City Church who introduced themself to me was standing on the sidewalk and remembered me! God placed this person in my path for a reason, and I felt like I needed to give this church another chance. I think I skipped home to tell Mandy about it.
I will always remember that moment as the first time I truly felt God move in my life. And when I say move, I mean it was a full on punch in the ribs. I went back to City Church the next weekend, opened my heart and mind to God, started attending a men’s small group and shortly after during a quiet prayer lead by Pastor Mike at the end of a service, accepted Jesus into my life. All along the way, I shared and talked with Mandy about what I was learning and always thanked her for asking me that night why faith was not in my top three.
I believe God is always trying to catch our attention, and it’s up to us to react. When I look back into my rear view, I wonder how many opportunities I missed. But you know what, God never stopped pursuing me. Like Mandy, I too love Bob Goff, and he writes,
“That’s what love does – it pursues blindly, unflinching, and without end.”
Much like Mandy didn’t give up on me, God doesn’t give up on us if we miss his knocks or nudges. He’s not disappointed or mad, he just continues to pursue our hearts, and when we’re ready to accept, he’s there waiting to give us the biggest bear hug we’ve ever experienced. Luckily for me, I get to experience God’s bear hug every time I walk in the front door. Through having the openness to react to God’s nudges, he gives me a daily bear hug as a reminder of his love to me through Mandy.
Do you remember the first time you ever saw the ocean? I don’t, but I imagine the first time we react on God’s nudges, his face lights up as a child seeing the ocean for the first time. I hope this encourages you to believe that you are not walking through life alone and that God, when you’re ready, can nudge you to the right job, person, or prayer that you’ve been hoping for if you’re willing to accept it.