This past year was my three-year anniversary since I took, what I like to call, my spiritual dip. Three months shy of graduation and I had finally made the decision to stop playing and let Pops (God) take leadership in my life.
I haven't lived long enough to have it all figured out but I have learned a few things since becoming a super Saved, Sanctified, and Holy Ghost-filled, Christian. Wrote a blog post about it. Wanna read it? Here it go:
1. I'm not a super Saved, Sanctified and Holy Ghost-filled Christian.
Like, at all. I don't know what I even remotely thought that looked like but whatever imagery popped up in my head when I heard that statement, that's exactly what I thought I was striving for. But what I am is a 25-year-old young lady with a heart for God. I messed up in my past. I continue to mess up. What's different now is I actually have a desire to do right by Pops and not just do right for the sake of doing right. He's done so much for me that I actually WANT to do right by Him. I don't condemn myself when I mess up now because I know that's not how He operates.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." – Romans 3:23
2. Oh, the struggle is just beginning.
Depending on where you go to church, some preachers may package Salvation as the time of pure joy and your life is now worry-free and peaches & cream because Christ has done it all and we don't have to do anything. Naw. Not how it works. Granted, YES, we gained our salvation when Jesus died on the Cross so none of our efforts can “get us into Heaven" BUT as far as living a worry-free life, that couldn't be further from the truth. This is when life gets real REAL. The enemy is mad because you decided to stop politicin' in his shenanigans so he's coming for your head. He's meddling with relationships, marriages, your children, your job, your school. What is comforting to know is, due to my relationship with Christ, He already put me on game to the enemy's tactics. I'm equipped. I'm not immune from hardship. I just have a better way of dealing with it.
"Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." - 2 Timothy 2:3
3. I thought I was judgmental before. I am now realizing how judgmental I can really be AFTER getting saved.
I don't know if others agree, but soon after getting baptized, I had a worry that friends would start treating me differently when in reality I was treating them differently. I made it a point to express that I was no longer going to partake in things that I used to and not only am I not going to participate, I am going to make you feel bad about continuing to participate. That arrogance was nasty. I don't know who I thought I was but I quickly got put in my place. No one forced me to make that decision for Christ and it is not my place to force my friends to do the same. I still associate with the same people I did before getting baptized. Maybe not as often and eventually some of us grew apart, which is okay. The only thing I could/should do is be an example in my ways without the intent of imposing my ways on other people. No one likes an overly righteous, pompous religious freak.
"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of your brother or sister." - Romans 14:13
4. I wanted to sin, more.
Please don't take that in the wrong context. Listen. Again, I thought making the decision to come to Christ was like an enormous eraser wiping away every ugly thing from my past and my present. Wiping away every nasty thing from within me, immediately. I was trying to “stop sinning" from my “own power" only to realize how weak I truly was and how easy it was for me to slip back into the very things I was praying to get rid of. Self-righteousness leads you right to failure because your focus is self. It was like a mental game I would play with myself to see how long I could go without getting a drink, going to a party, having sex, etc. Why was this a competition? My focus was strong and wrong. Only God can rewire my interests and desires and overtime that is exactly what He did. The only thing I trust myself to do is fail. I trust Pops to work within me to succeed.
"But I wipe away your sins because of who I am. And so I will forget the wrongs you have done"- Isaiah 43:25
5. The fire I had for church when I first got saved died down.
Over time, I just got tired. Honestly, that's normal. You go through phases and changes, a lot of self-assessment and learning, and simply going through a journey that realistically never ends. Somethings felt like a routine to me. Waking up on Sundays to go to church, go to the altar, come home and get ready for school, go to Wednesday night bible study, repeat. It felt dry and I got bored but that was all my doing. I wasn't enjoying my time with Christ. I made it out to be a homework assignment to be checked off on my planner. That's not how relationships work. I was treating God like a requirement. Over time, I have gotten better. I don't “play" church and I don't only have “church" on Sunday's. I have my devotionals and I have my quiet time by choice. I've even gotten involved with the youth at my church to become a youth leader for Sunday school. (Only for the teens though, I'm good on the little kids).
“Seek first the kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added unto you."
6. I don't have to like everything Christian (movies, books, music, etc.)
For some reason, I thought that would make me "more Christian." Forcing myself to listen to gospel music all day every day, only reading books by Christian authors and watching Christian themed movies. Granted, I did find some awesome musicians, music, and books but it's okay for me to not like it. Some gospel music I just can't get with. I respect the message because it is ministering to somebody, just not me. Honestly, my song to Jesus is So Amazing by Luther Vandross. Definitely not a Christian artist but his words spoke to how I felt about Jesus. Whitney Houston: news flash! She wasn't singing about a man-at least not one in human form. And I still love Bone Thugs & Harmony and Boosie. Like love. When it's time for me to get rid of the secular music, Pops will let me know
"I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me." - Psalm 13:6
7. I would've stopped at 6 but 7 is the number of completion.
I'm in a season of newness. I'm getting my spark back. I'm being put in positions to where I can only depend on Jesus (or whine and doubt) but I'd rather pick Jesus. With the loss of a lot of family members, especially my grannies, I see Him in a different light. Those women never lost their zeal for Christ. Never. I want to be like that. I'm on my way.
"Set a fire down in my soul that I can't control. I want more of you God." - song by United Pursuit
For those who are on the fence about taking that spiritual bath or feel complacent about life in general, try Him. What do you have to lose? You tried everything else.