7 Things I Learned After Becoming a Super Saved, Sanctified, Holy Ghost-Filled Christian

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.

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In 2011 -- a year following my divorce, I met a young man who I felt could mend my heart.

He was tall, dark, handsome, well spoken and well liked -- everything a girl could dream of on paper. In the beginning there was light, a light of hope for a new love. But as time went by, the relationship spun into darkness. Whether it was the dish I cooked, shirt I picked out, or the way I answered him, it was as if nothing I did was good enough. In fact, his dissatisfaction only made me want to work harder and do more to please.

I recall times when he'd squeeze my wrist a little too hard in public as a warning, leaving bruises -- but it was my fault because I was fragile or bruised "easily." Or the time he dislocated my shoulder and I had to lie to my child because I didn't want her to worry. Each time letting him come back because he appeared to be remorseful and willing to change. But that was only the beginning.

In 2012, I faced an unplanned pregnancy. I had just lost my job and I was struggling to pay the rent. To top it off, the father of my child had given me an ultimatum (as he was "not ready" to be a father)... it was "him or the baby." So, as you can imagine, I was struggling with the decision of bringing a beautiful new babe into my chaotic world. After all, I was already a single mother with one divorce under my belt, living check to check -- now couch surfing, all the while awaiting the big day. I felt as if the weight of the world was sitting on my shoulders -- better yet, my chest!

Although I told my ex where he could put his ultimatum, he came back around to see our child's birth. And while my gut told me to "RUN" in the other direction, I took him back out of fear. Fear of what I thought would be failing yet another child. "You can't do this alone," he said. "You need me," he said. I believed him. For a few months, things appeared to be different. Until the pressure of fatherhood began to sink in. Then the drinking, cheating, lying, and abuse began to resurface.

Oddly enough, it took one fight (like so many before) to get me to LOOK UP. "You don't do sh*t for your kids," he said. "I don't even want to be here but now we have this baby." -- "I gave you an ultimatum but I'm still here. So why wouldn't you want to make it work?" he continued. As if he was doing me a favor.

Holding my baby close, I quickly scanned the room at the home I had built for "us." It was MY blood, sweat, and tears that went into making this home, I thought to myself. At that moment, I knew I'd be damned if I allowed this to continue. I would never want this for my daughters, so why am I endorsing it for myself?

As he proceeded to punch the wall, it was as if the three years preceeding the fight flashed before my eyes. I pictured myself laying on the ground in shock like years before... but this time, it was my child crying beside me. "He's got to go," I whispered to myself. With tears streaming down my face, my hands shaking, and my body quivering in fear, I opened the front door and with everything in me yelled, "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!"

A few insults later, he managed to make it out the front door and I hit the floor... in prayer. I was ashamed. Not just because I saw this coming. But because I had been here too many times before. Although I am a different person today. There are still some days where I wish I could go back an avoid all of the pain.. much of which I am still working through today.

So, as part of the healing process, I've created a list of dating advice I'd give my younger self:

Fall in love with yourself first.

Don't spend your days in search of a partner to "complete" you. Discover what makes you SPIRITUALLY, emotionally, intellectually, and physically whole first and foremost. Then, when you do meet someone special, ask yourself, "Is this person adding or subtracting from my life" -- "Do they build me up or break me down?" I think Oprah said it best. Don't spend your life searching for the perfect person. Work to make yourself the perfect person for YOU, and then... only then, will "the right person be drawn to you based upon the work that you put out."

[Tweet "First, discover what makes you spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically whole."]

If someone tells you're they're not good for you, believe them and RUN.

You cannot save everyone! While mending the brokenhearted is practically embedded in your DNA, people are who they are. Some people are going to destroy themselves, no matter how much you try to "help" them. If someone says that they are "no good" for you, or "trouble," take that at face value and run the other way. Just because you are open and capable of love does not mean the one you "want" is ready for love. You will deplete yourself by trying to "heal" this person -- which in the end, will do you more harm than good.

Trust your intuition.

It's trying to protect you! Never stop sharing your love; that's why you were put on this Earth. But sometimes real love means saying goodbye. It takes much more courage to let something go than it does to hold tight -- or try to "fix" it. Letting go doesn't mean you're ignoring the situation. It simply means you're accepting what is, exactly as it is, without fear, opposition, or desire for control.

[Tweet "Trust your intuition. It's trying to protect you."]

Talk it out!

As difficult as this may be sometimes, do NOT keep your feelings bottled up! People are not mind readers. They should not have to jump through hoops to uncover when and how they have wronged you. Pass on the fit of tears over dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and open the floor to a grown-up discussion at an appropriate time in private. Learn how to separate the person from the issue. Be soft on the person but firm on the issue. If you want to find long-term relationship success, you're going to have to learn how to communicate.

Forgive yourself.

Life didn't come with instructions. You are not your mistakes. You are not your struggles. You are here NOW with the power to shape your tomorrow. Take all the time you need to heal. The key to breaking free from your broken self, is baby steps -- taking it one day at a time. Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life. Just because today is painful doesn't mean tomorrow won't be great. You WILL get there.

What advice would you give your younger self? Do share!

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