When Confession Actually Changes You
Yesterday, I went to confession for the first time in quite a while. You would think that the cookie cutter church girl leading worship and everything would be a bit better about stuff like that… but, when you do life right, you are tested in ways you never would expect.
To say I was nervous is an understatement. I had been making every excuse in the book not to go. The truth is, I had some pretty deep sins that had been weighing on my heart for a long time. It’s not that I didn’t want to own up to them… It’s that I wasn’t actually sorry. I didn’t feel like what I was doing was wrong, especially because a lot of my friends looked at my sins as a normal habit.
The real problem is that I’ve gotten so wrapped up in the world (and even ministry itself) that I forgot what it meant to truly love the core of my own mission. But nevertheless, I decided to go anyway. I supposed that I was hoping that Jesus would take care of the rest once I got there… and that’s exactly what He did.
The thing is, when you let go of control of your life and you leave room for God to work in it, there is this massive weight that disappears from your shoulders. For me, that’s scary to admit… but once I took the plunge and confessed all the sins on my heart, everything changed.
My confession wasn’t just an admission of where I’ve fallen short of God’s grace. It was a recommitment to the reasons why I’m doing anything at all. My confession redirected my heart back to the Father. I have been so consumed with the day-in and day-out that I forgot what it means to be still, to be at peace, and to set my eyes back on God.
When the priest absolved me of my sin yesterday, he asked if he could hold my hands. I said yes. He took my hands. He looked into my eyes, and took a deep breath. Then, he said, “When you get out of here, go straight to the church. I want you to sit down in a pew, and don’t look at anyone. Just close your eyes. I want you to repeat this one small phrase. It’s a psalm. Just keep saying this until you believe it.”
‘The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.’- Psalm 23
So I did exactly what Father told me to do. At first it felt like the stupidest exercise ever. But you know what? By the third time I whispered the phrase into my folded hands, I felt something. I kept repeating this phrase until I felt my eyes start to swell. I looked up at the cross, and all of a sudden, I finally believed the point that God has been trying to put on my heart for years.
I don’t need to want music.
I don’t need to want my career.
I don’t need to want a boyfriend.
I don’t need to want a college degree.
I don’t need to want my government job.
I don’t need to want fame, or money, or power.
I don’t need to want popularity.
All I will ever need, all I will ever want… It’s all in my relationship with Jesus. Gazing up at the crucifix I realized, Jesus didn’t die for me to just want things and chase them and eventually die. Jesus died so that I could choose him, every day. And that’s exactly what I’m doing, with all my heart, from now on.