The chief biblical analogy for baptism is not the water that washes but the flood that drowns. Discipleship is more than turning over a new leaf. It is more fitful and disorderly than gradual moral formation. Nothing less than daily, often painful, lifelong death will do. So Paul seems to know not whether to call what happened to him on the Damascus Road “birth” or “death” – it felt like both at the same time.

William Willimon

Can people see your discipleship? When you are in a queue or someone upsets can people see you reacting differently? What has changed in your life since Jesus became the major part. I am an introvert and if my leadership style was named it would be quiet. I have always been an introvert and I will be until I die unless Jesus moves me out of it into something else.

There are things that were a part of my life and now no longer exist. There are things in my life now that never existed before. This is the transformation process in action. I have let go of the burdens of sin and the burdens of the things people have done to me. I have been forgiven and I forgive.

But some of it was painful, some of it had me on the floor wracked in tears, convulsing in sorrow, my soul aching for release. It took time to move out of the pit and onto solid ground and I did it, not through my strength but in His. I relate so much to Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians where he describes the thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) where he shows his vulnerability in that weakness and that allows the strength of the Lord to shine.

In the last two years as I sat in isolation I hungered for laughter, for something that would grab me and convulse in laughter so my sides would ache. And I wanted Jesus at my side. I had a few belly laughs but not many. Since coming home the frequency has increased. Is there something about relationship that gives the relaxation to laugh like that.

My past and present collided one night at a Bible study many years ago. It was in laughter I realised I had to work out a new way of living. A couple of years later, again in a Bible study it happened, I laughed convulsively. It did not go down well. But when I found my tribe, people I could relax with as I led us through a Bible study on Ruth, we all laughed one night. There is pictorial evidence that comes up each year on Facebook showing the group laughing out loud in celebration on the final night.

As I look forward, I wonder where will my laughter be? Will I be the introverted earnest one all the time? Will I ever relax enough to lead people in laughter? Will my life show my discipleship?

I am an empty vessel ready to be used today by the Lord to bring Him glory – are you?

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14, RSV