Repentant non-initiator



July 25, 2012, 8:35 AM

I have never been an initiator. Yes, “never” is a strong word, so I just spent a moment reflecting on the matter to see if is true and it is. I can find no instance in memory when I have initiated a relationship. Even this present online writing job was not gotten by my initiation, and neither was the print magazine writing job. (Sometimes God has condescended to my weakness, just like He did for diffident Moses, except that I’m no Moses.)

But, you know, it says in the Bible that I am a new creation. And the Bible has a lot to say about love, too. My impression from my reading is that love is nothing if not initiating and risk-taking.

Still, there is the force of habit to contend with. But contend we must. We will never know the limits of our “new creationhood” if we do not try it out, right? If your auto mechanic says he just put in a new transmission and you pick up your car and sit in the driver’s seat without turning the key and wonder if he really did put in a new transmission, then you will never know for sure. God has put a new “transmission” in me, but I won’t know it experientially unless I take it for a drive. Nor will I know any of its souped-up capabilities if I just sit around second-guessing whether I am a new Spirit-filled model.

So today, defying many decades—pre-Christian and post-Christian—of personality inertia, I texted a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. Just going through the motions of an unaccustomed action feels strange, but I found it wasn’t as hard as all that. I left a brief message that I hadn’t seen her and was wondering how she is. (It’s the kind of thing you normal folks do everyday—I say all this to my shame.)

She could have blown me off. She could have said to herself, “Too late for that now. You never bothered much with me before. What makes you think I care if you suddenly call me now?” And if she had done that, what’s the worst that would have happened? I would have felt the same feeling that thousands or millions of people feel who reach out to someone and whose overtures are unrequited—and who survive it.

Lo and behold, she replied to my text almost immediately, and natural as you please. She asked if I had a bike these days and suggested we go riding.
So there you have it, folks. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Because there are no old dogs in the Kingdom of God, just new creations.