I have been so overwhelmed by obligations, spontaneous camping trips, mega-fort-making with friends, and selfish sleeping. I have lost sight of God and His love.

But today. I met Him in a Buddhist temple. 

Sitting between two of my favorite friends and life-adventure buddies, I experienced a church service like one I never have. 

The pews were only 30% filled, the age range completely diverse, and the minister before me 4-feet-something with the most wild, inspiring eyes I have ever seen. 

She opened her mouth to explain a Buddhist teaching, and I was captured. 

At times, I wasn’t even sure what she was saying, but the light, the love, the authentic look in her eyes caught my heart the way most things don’t.

She talked about our greed, anger, ignorance, and ego that drive us. Instantly humbled.

But it wasn’t like any other convicting message I had heard before. She gently spoke about her own struggles with these things.

She was humble — but she challenged me. 

I was convicted not with guilt but with gentleness. It was a firm yet gentle awakening.

Everyone has an ego. We are all selfish. And its okay. Its just about working on becoming less about ourselves and more about other people.

That’s right. I don’t want to be consumed with myself. I don’t want to be in my own head, listening to my own thoughts all the time. 

I want to be freed from my selfishness and I want to love others and pour out gracious compassion on everyone I encounter. I don’t want to try and convince people of anything, I don’t want to take from them. 

 I want to just be with them, and have a glorious, messy relationship with them. 

Lately I have been so wrapped up in my own busyness in my own life that I haven’t had time to just be still.

I haven’t stopped and looked outside of myself. 

My mind is swirling around and my body running to go to everything and be everywhere and experience all these new things. 

My heart is drowning in schedules, my spirituality wilting under my selfishness. 

But today, in that temple as well as during the two hours following the service, standing outside staring at the green hills and hummingbirds with great company, I felt something new. 

A new joy that was contentment but also a joy that pushed me to be better. 

A spark of inspiration that said, slow down. You, in this moment, are where you are supposed to be. And you are growing and you are tripping sometimes but remember why you are here: to love and be loved.

I’m done hiding in the past. I’m done being fearful, I’m done being consumed by my mistakes and feeling bad about my selfishness because there is grace for me and I can choose stillness and I can choose to not be so busy. 

And God is here now. 

And church is camping and being in nature and crying in honesty with my roommates. He is in it all.

I am just floored that I can walk into a building of a religion that I don’t follow and still experience God in a unique, personal way. 

I am reminded that God is everywhere.

And I couldn’t be more pleased to be in relationship with such a mysterious, mind-blowing, religion-breaking God.

And I couldn’t be more pleased to let go of my selfishness to love the people around me and to love myself.

I am proud of who I am despite my mistakes and I am proud to be someone who finally believes that she is worthy of God’s love. 

-Madi Wiese // @madiwiese

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