I honestly didn’t know what to expect going through Orthopraxis for the second time. It was a hesitant, unsure decision, but something in me urged me to do it and so I decided to do it with faith. I realized when I first took Orthopraxis 4 years ago, my heart was guarded and unwilling to change. Part of it was a self-defense mechanism, while another was just a spirit of unrepentance and fear. I wasn’t allowing myself to take a close look at what was really going on deep inside. What happened throughout the course of these few months wasn’t some significant change or transformation that took place, but rather a change of heart in the way I viewed God, others, and myself.
There were moments where Orthopraxis seemed repetitive and monotonous to me because I knew I had once “digested” the material before. But everything I read, whether for the first or second time, made me realize how I wasn’t the same person that I was even a year ago. I was re-learning and re-applying everything I’ve always known in my mind, but never put into practice with my heart. It started off with remembering what God had done for me and why He had to die for a sinner like me. Only then was His grace able to be much sweeter and personable to me. How could He love someone like me? What did I do to deserve His love? And why was I continuing to live a life that didn’t reflect that revelation? It was so easy for me to forget. All those moments where I felt like God was so distant in my life, He was there – but I always mistook His silence for absence. I wanted to live a life that remembered what He did on that Cross and reflected the power of His love, truth, and healing. Re-experiencing the beauty of that truth was so simple, yet so profound. It was a reminder that I was bought at such a high cost and that how I lived my life actually mattered. Simply put, it was a realization that my life was not my own to live.
That is when it hit me that discipleship really wasn’t about the 5-something months of intensive reading and teaching. It wasn’t some prerequisite of becoming this “radically transformed” Christian. It was a change in my attitude, posture, and lifestyle. It was reminding myself daily of what He had done on that Cross and remembering the beauty of the covenant relationship He had established with us.
So really, the journey is just getting started. These past few weeks were merely a starting point in discovering and co-writing this unfinished narrative God has for me. Thus, Orthopraxis is an ongoing, lifelong process of learning and practicing the art of becoming more Christ-like through both the mundane and extravagant, everyday moments of our lives. It is being given a chance to express what the Cross means to us through how we live our lives and allowing it to affect and penetrate our relationships with Him and others. It is Him allowing us to have a say in how we want our stories to be written, and as a good Father, He wants us to do it well. How amazing is that?
Esther works at a law firm in Orange County and is currently preparing for grad school and her future as a high school English teacher. She enjoys laughing at people who make jokes (instead of the actual jokes), buying books that she plans on reading but never finishes, and having fun as one half of the dynamic duo "Polyester" with her boyfriend Paul (get it?). She currently leads Orvine Ekklesia.