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crying in the bathroom

Filed under: books,God's movement,willow — 5:48 pm

In one of Sufjan Steven’s greatest songs (Casimir Pulaski Day), he sings a haunting line admitting “I was crying in the bathroom.”  Well, I did that today.

This week, I’ve had the thrill of leading worship at the WCA’s Transformation Intensive conference.  In many ways, it’s been an un-conference….unplugged, understated, and all about the content.  I couldn’t love it more.

Dallas Willard

The first teacher was Dallas Willard, one of my heroes.  He gave a lecture about transformation that shook me to my core and reminded me again why the invitation of Jesus really is the greatest news on earth.  (I’ll post the notes on my blog soon).

But this morning, I got to nervously share with him the 60 second version of my story:  “Dallas, I got cynical in college and my faith stopped working for me.  Christianity as “how to go to Heaven some day” was no longer compelling and I was thinking about leaving the whole thing.  But then someone recommended your book, The Divine Conspiracy, and while reading chapter 2, I was born again again.”

He got a little embarrassed and looked down, but I kept going.  “Dallas, I’ve never met you, but you’ve been one of the primary voices for why I’m a Christian…and why I still want to be.  Thank you.” He sheepishly said thanks and I shuffled out the room.

But as I walked down the hall, I could feel something building inside me…and so I walked over to the downstairs bathroom, sat back by the empty showers, and bawled my eyes out.

I cried because I almost missed out on LIFE to the full.
I cried because I was so thankful that someone like Dallas could show the gospel to be as beautiful as it really is – when all I could see was ugliness.
I cried out of thankfulness that God didn’t leave me to wallow in my cynicism, but rescued me.

If you know me, you know how rare this kind of thing is.  My Scandinavian male ability to bury my emotions is usually spectacular.  But today, I’m just so thankful to be a part of such a great Story:  getting to join God in what God is doing to restore all things.

“When we are invited into life in Christ Jesus, we are offered the
greatest opportunity of our lives –
the opportunity of a vivid companionship
with Him, in which
we will learn to be like Him and live as He lived.”

-Dallas Willard


  1. Okay I think it’s time for me to pick up Divine Conspiracy again…

    Comment by Nate — May 5, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  2. Hi Aaron… I’m so glad you had that moment with Dallas today. I remember how much he meant to you when we read his book “The Spirit of the Disciplines” in our staff book club at Mars Hill. The book was a little over my head at the time, but listening to you share your thoughts with us in the group was inspiring to me. Grace and peace.

    Comment by Margie Brenner — May 5, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

  3. Aaron: Thanks for sharing this. This is the type of passion and emotion we all should strive for in our relationship. I too am glad He rescued me and I am living life differently!

    Comment by Jim — May 5, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

  4. Hi Aaron,

    I am one of a staff of 8, blessed to attend the WCA Transformation intensive. Our table is right next to the stage – table 28. We all were sharing tonight at dinner how much your team’s worship have moved us and brought us to worship, to that place where we fade and God’s glory just takes over and envelops us completely.

    I am reminded of the song Sweet, Sweet Sound. “I am an instrument of the living God, my life a melody to his name. More than the songs I sing, worship is everything, I live to glorify my king.”

    As our team has been here, your worship has been truly a worship. A complete surrender to God, and it’s clear that you all GLORIFY God in your worship. We have been moved that from where we sit (and stand), we have felt no sense of performance. Or show. Just pure worship. Thank you.

    Andrea Paulson
    Director of Youth Ministry
    Atonement Lutheran Church, Fargo ND.

    Comment by Andrea — May 5, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

  5. i cried in my family room while reading this blog post…thank you.

    Comment by jami kok — May 6, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  6. Aaron – Thanks for sharing this story and for daring to be vulnerable. We need more of this.

    This is a book I’ve been considering reading for a while. I think it’s probably time to take the plunge and go for it.

    Comment by curtis — May 9, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  7. My friend, thank you for this post, I am so grateful for your honest heart. This is a beautiful moment. – And I’m thanking God that He rescued you in the way that He did, because there have been many moments while being led in worship by you that Steve and I have been made new, our faith restored, thanks to your leadership and passion for His glory.

    Comment by Sarah Carter — May 22, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  8. […] and the gospel is literally one of the main reasons I’m still a Christian.  (read more HERE)  I’m currently re-reading “Renovation of the Heart” right now, which is […]

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  10. very cool that you were able to tell Dallas about your experience!
    thanks for posting this! it reminded me that God has kept me close & not let me walk too far when i’ve considered walking away…you made me cry, dude! thanks…


    Comment by Don — July 1, 2011 @ 10:24 am

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