When I was in high school, I had so many friends, I always had something to do or somewhere to go. When I was old enough, I went to as many parties as my parents would let me. My phone was always busy with incoming calls or messages, so many that sometimes I ignored calls or just left my phone in my room so I wouldn't be bothered. I was one of the lead dancers in the company, I was captain of my school's volleyball team, I had pageant titles and awards to my name...Things were pretty great for me...
I thought I was happy. Well maybe I was....but it definitely wasn't the kind of happiness I was meant to have.
I entered USC searching...I knew I believed in Christ but I wasn't where I needed to be. I still had a foot (well more than that) in the things of the world. I was trying to do things for myself, on my own. I didn't see the need to rely COMPLETELY on someone WAY bigger than me.
Then in 2009, I was touched by the Holy Spirit during Week of Prayer but I was hesitant to answer the call. I didn't feel like I was ready...I wasn't ready to give up the things I knew I would have to. Plus, I was too concerned that people would think I was making a decision because of where my emotional interest lay at the time. So i ignored the call....
March 2nd 2010...I couldn't ignore any longer...I knew the day would come but I didn't expect so soon. Thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit again, I was moved to be baptized. On Sabbath March 6th 2010, I gave my life to God. I was rescued from above!
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
I thought the transition would be hard....I was right. Suddenly my sister said more horrible things to me, trying to get a reaction...suddenly stress invaded more frequently, trying to break me....suddenly I wanted to quit Portraits of Excellence...suddenly Chemistry didn't make sense to me..... The devil hated my decision to become a child of God so he tried whatever he could to make me regret it....Sadly, at times I did...
I had to give up dance because rehearsals were on Friday evenings, and because I wasn't using my talent to glorify the Giver of such talent. Since I had to quit volleyball due to injuries, dance was the only "passion"...the only "recreation" I had left...and I had to say goodbye... My "friends" were no longer my friends because I wouldn't go liming or partying with them anymore, and they wouldn't go to church with me. I constantly heard that my boyfriend had converted me and I was changing...
Needless to say, I did NOT make this decision because of my boyfriend in any way. He was probably just as surprised as my parents were when I gave them the news about what I was going to do.
Anyways, I must say that my new life has been interesting....many ups....quite a few downs. I've been broken down and rebuilt by the Master Potter several times.
I'm at a point in my journey where I don't have any of the things I had before (I don't have friends who share my interests* hence I don't have a social life and I feel alone most of the time (even in a room full of people), I don't dance, I can't play volleyball (yet), I've given up my dream of becoming Miss Universe, I don't feel like I fit in at church**) yet I don't feel as anxiety-ridden as I felt about all of this months ago.
*I know many people and have many acquaintances but not many FRIENDS. I no longer have a "crew" that calls me up whenever they're going out. All I have outside of my family are my two best friends: my boyfriend and my Bajan sister! (Love u guys!) I pray and have faith that God will send me the right friends soon.
**The church where I placed my membership doesn't even know yet that I'm a member because they haven't received my info. I don't go as often as I should because I don't feel like I'm needed. I go to my bf's church from time to time and I'm faced with fake smiles and unwelcoming glances like I don't belong...*sigh*
BUT, the point is....despite all of the above, I feel at peace. I'm certainly not yet where I need to be (not even close) but by God's grace I'm getting there. I don't yet feel the joy that some persons who've grown up in the Christian faith experience, but I'm getting there.
He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I don't know what the future holds but I know that my past is undesirable and in some ways repulsive to me now that I have been made new. There are still character flaws that emerge periodically, but I have faith that God will iron those out in due time. I don't yet know His plan for my life but I know the plan Satan had for me and it isn't one that I'm cool with.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9, 10)
I certainly don't deserve the love that Christ has shown to me.....none of us do. But I willingly accept His sacrifice of love. I willingly accept the direction He has mapped out for my life. I willingly surrender my life to Him. I may not have as many friends as I had before, but I have the Friend that matters, the best friend anyone could ask for; Jesus Christ. I may often be alone, but I am never lonely.
The following was taken from the online Bible Study that inspired me to write this:
"Joyfully I begin to experience, for the first time, glorious freedom from guilt and condemnation. I begin to see how empty my life has been without Christ. Rather than feeding on husks under the table, I now feast at the banquet of the King. One minute with God provides more happiness than does a lifetime of serving the devil. What an exchange! Why did I wait so long to accept it?
Many feel that the Christian life will not be a happy one because of restrictions and self-denial. The exact opposite is true. When you accept the love of Jesus, a fantastic exuberance springs up from within. Unbelievable peace and joy permeate your life. Talk about excitement! There is no comparison to the old life of selfishness and failure. Like a bad dream, the painful past fades away, and you experience life "more abundantly," the way God intended it should be."
So how can you be rescued from above? How can u start your new life?
Just admit three things:
1. I am a sinner. "All have sinned." Romans 3:23.
2. I am doomed to die. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23.
3. I cannot save myself. "Without me ye can do nothing." John 15:5.
Then, believe three things:
1. He died for me. "That he ... should taste death for every man." Hebrews 2:9.
2. He forgives me. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." 1 John 1:9.
3. He saves me. "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47.
I hope that opening up about my experience thus far has helped in some way or the other. Whether it be in sparking your faith, or reigniting it, I trust that it has not been a waste of your time reading this. We are called to spread the Gospel and testify of God's greatness and His blessings to us. I am taking steps to do my part. Are you?
May God bless you richly!
Editor's note: This piece was originally written on July 31, 2010.