vulnerable and to go that low.
There's another thing I already knew. I knew all along -- knew it most clearly last summer -- accepted the possibility of it January 1, 2012:
I wasn't born anything but Bailey Elizabeth Bergmann, possibly one of the most raw babies ever born on the sidewalk. Every time when my extended family gathers, they tell stories of how I could throw the hugest tantrums at the least moment's notice. I never meant to be anything but good, yet I came in fighting. I was always ashamed of my passion -- sensitive, vocal and reckless.
I never thought that could mean anything but trouble. Now I'm reconsidering. I sat with my best friend on a picnic blanket this summer and told her I felt that I would end up doing something that would change my life at a moment's notice. She said she knew it too -- me and change and future Big Things.
I've always thought I could change the world. And I'm different. I know I am. I'm not great or terribly smart or anything else to brag about, but I'm different. When I was little, I organized my own family Bible study, just for one night. I wrote letters and columns to the paper because I knew I had something to say. I spoke my mind at family meetings and at church and in adult circles. I never stopped believing things could change -- starting with me. There is nothing more unbearable than pursuing greatness for its own sake. But I know I am going to be called at any moment to follow Jesus to a limit I never knew and others rarely attempt. And He will get the glory. All of it.
The other day I surrendered everything to Jesus. A few weeks later, I knew -- I don't get to have a normal life. He's called me to be radical. What that exactly means? I don't know. I'm pretty sure I'm going into ministry full-time (of course every Christian ought to be, but you know what I mean), working with the poor and broken-hearted.
In my surrender, I had to accept that I may end up single, alone, used up, far away and maybe even dead, like many Christians who went radical and made a difference. And that's not incredibly exciting. I like life. I like love. I like comfortable.
But you know what? God is worth so much more than marriage, friends, comfort and the temporal. I cannot get enough of Him -- I cannot stop this reckless flight toward Him -- I cannot not happily embrace my cross and cry, "Let's go!"
At the same time, I think I'm nuts. I hate dying to sin, dying to dreams, dying to self. To be honest, one of my biggest dreams crashed last night, and I didn't take it very well. I haven't been very strong or spiritual lately. Sometimes this faith walk goes so fast that I want to explode in terror: Not that, Jesus -- don't make me go there, don't make me give that up. And I haven't even covered the tip of the iceberg of my sin or of His calling for my life.
But it's still amazing. Because He's here, living within and working without.
I always wondered why I was different -- why He'd given me so many talents in so many different areas. Now I know: He wanted me to lay it all down. For Him. He wanted me to empty myself out so He could fill me with His power -- not my talents. Strange, that He would give just to take just to give again.
I have never felt so dead -- never felt so empty -- never felt so weak. Paradoxically, I have never felt so alive -- never felt so full -- never felt so hopeful. I take this life. I am called, and I choose Jesus.