“…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” 1 Peter 3:15, NIV
Exhausted, I sat down in my chair; slumping over onto one side while debating with myself on whether or not to do homework, or to do something on the computer.
Being the procrastinating 15 year old I was, I obviously chose computer. That, and I didn’t want to think. Not right then.
I opened my laptop to watch or read something. My eyes kept unfocusing on my screen in front of me, and my eyes kept skimming over whatever I wanted to read. Both my heart and mind screamed at me to get off the computer, to pay attention to them.
“Fine,” I grumbled under my breath, pulling the screen down. “You win. Now what?”
Memories instantly berated me. Memories of the past few days, months, and years flooding my mind; the mental weariness coming back to haunt me. I can’t remember what the defining moment was that shattered me me now, but it was enough to humble me to bring me to the place that I was at. And a still, small voice came from somewhere in my head:
“You praise God on the good days, and ask where He’s at during the bad days- or if He even exists, sometimes. How much longer will you be at war with yourself? Does God exist, or doesn’t He? And if He does, do you still decide to choose to follow Him?”
“A double minded man is unstable in everything He does.” James 1:8, KJV
I had been doing that, hadn’t I?
I was tired of the exhaustion that came with questioning everything when everything went wrong, tired of feeling like I couldn’t run to God when I was doing something wrong, tired of letting my circumstances waiver my beliefs, and I was tired of being tired.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“Does God exist, then?” The voice prodded again.
The voice wasn’t condemning, I noted. It was just asking a straight-forward question. And my answer to the question was “Yes.”
I loved nature. When I went for walks, I could see the fingerprints of an intelligent mind creating everything. All of the cycles found in nature couldn’t have been accident- our atmosphere perfectly aligned to support life on earth.
Then there were the times I did pray, and I saw God answer them. They weren’t anything too fantastical, but it was enough to support the idea that there was a loving God who cared about me. And I was pretty sure that I experienced a baptism of the Holy Spirit when I went to a Perry Stone conference in 2012. I can’t deny that I didn’t feel something back then.
“So, He exists,” the quiet voice said mentally. “So will you choose to follow Him?”
Then he (Jesus) called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34, NIV
I was immediately convicted by the word “follow.” I had accepted Jesus as my savior when I was younger, but this was something completely different. Following Him meant making Him the Lord of my life, and making Him a part of everything I was invested in. If I didn’t make Him Lord, right here and now, I’d be right back at this crossroad later on- confused, exhausted, and angry all over again.
That would be useless and a waste of time. Whatever I’d choose, I couldn’t be lukewarm; straddling the fence and saying “I love you” at church, and cursing like a truck driver while playing video games at home.
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Isaiah 29:13
I toyed with the idea of a life without God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. I could technically make whatever choices I wanted without worrying about ‘Appeasing the Spaghetti Monster in the Sky.’ But the thought scared me more than anything. I would be walking alone- with no direction, no identity, no hope, and fear of death.
No thanks. I’ll take the God of the Bible, in His entirety.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
I decided to make a decision, take a risk, and give God everything I was and am. My heart, my soul, my mind, my strength, and my time- I gave it all to Him, and it’s honestly the best choice I’ll ever make.
Certainly didn’t mean that it wasn’t hard. It was tough giving up control of a lot of things, and following Jesus didn’t mean that it’s been a piece of cake since. But I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’m mentally healthier, I’m walking in more peace, I have more joy, and I have someone I can rely and lean on when no one else is physically there for me.
Very easy decision, but very hard to walk out.
So now you know some of my reasoning of why I STAYED Christian, renewing my efforts to follow Jesus and make Him Lord. Let me tell you some of my reasoning behind why I can’t go back.
My Growth: It’s real, fam.
I can’t go back because I legitimately CAN’T. It’s like trying to forget how to ride a bike. Knowing what I know now, seeing how God has dramatically changed my desires and my personality, and how God has changed others- trying to live a life without God would be silly for me. I don’t WANT to go back to that place.
I’m walking in freedom from lies that have been holding me back for years. And I don’t plan on letting up. If I give Satan an inch, he’s going to take a mile.
My Relationships: They’re richer.
Part of the huge leaps and bounds in my growth was searching out for a community who were serious about God as I was. When I found them, they had so much wisdom that it shaped me into a better person. They called me up and out of old mindsets, and taught me how to be the young woman of God He called me to be. I have so many more deeper friendships that I can truly depend on to be there for me.
I’m not saying that I ditched all of my other friends. But I definitely ended up spending more time with friends who were hungry to learn about Jesus rather than my friends who didn’t accept Him as their savior. And I’ve noticed that when I do hangout with friends who don’t believe in Jesus, the time we spend together seems to be sweeter anyway.
My Quality of Life: Definitely improved.
Back when I was younger, I felt like I was jumping out of one fire into the next. We were always stuck between a rock and a hard place. And in some ways- especially with finances in my family- it still kinda feels that way. But I know for a fact now that when I place God at the center of everything, things supernaturally fall into place more so now than ever.
I didn’t expect so many things to get better, but I think it has something to do with proclaiming God’s promises over my life, and trusting that He is who the Bible says He is. Such as:
God is Jihovah Jirah, Provider. God is a redeemer- all things work together for good for those who love Him. God’s grace is sufficient for the situations that I go through. I’ll be blessed with a peace I might not understand because I pray about everything, as worrying for everything won’t add a day to my life. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.
So now that I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good, that what the Bible says has been proven to be true in my life- I’d be an idiot to try to run back to what I knew. Happiness was fickle. It was an empty and boring life.
I’m satisfied, fulfilled, and feel safer than I did before.
My Mental State: FREEDOMMMM.
About a year ago, right around this time, a super good friend of mine ended up becoming my spiritual mentor and my wisdom counsel.
I opened up to her. I became vulnerable. I shared the situations I was going through. I told her some of the reoccurring thoughts that have been oppressing me. And the most embarrassing of all, I told her one of my most well-kept secrets that I never thought I’d EVER share with anyone.
And we battled it together, little by little.
I thank God that He put her in my life and that she was open to spending that time to mentor me. With her help, I’ve been learning how to throw my cares to God and take down lies that I’d adopted to be a core of my identity, when it WASN’T who I was at all.
I found who I am when I gave everything over to God.
I never want to give that up.
My Miscellaneous: I’ve learned so much.
I feel so secure in Jesus since I made the commitment to give everything I have over to Him. When I made the decision to store my treasures in the heavenly places, I know that everything I do for God’s kingdom will never be fruitless. It’s ETERNAL. When I die, I won’t die wondering if anyone alive will still remember me. I won’t die with regret and bitterness that I can’t take my money with me into the afterlife. What I do right here and now makes a difference. So I can walk in confidence knowing that even though me, myself isn’t enough- Jesus is, and he’s got me covered.
(Jesus insurance comes highly recommended. He can cover house, transportation, health, family, friends, property, AND investments. What a deal! All for the low price of your life. But not really. But kinda.)
And if I find out that, when I die, God’s a hoax?
It’s the best kool aid I ever drunk. No regrets here. I’ll happily pass away into star dust, reincarnate, or something else.
I think the next biggest thing I’ve learned is that I’ve given up on being so… I don’t know, reward driven? In the sense where I have to have a carrot at the end of the stick in order to do something. I’ve discovered doing things for themselves have value. I’m doing things because God finds joy in seeing me do the little things no one notices. Like, I’m not following Jesus just because of all the benefits I’ve gotten as listed in this post from following Him. I follow Jesus because I’m learning to love Him as a quite literal friend. And in the journey, I’ve received a bunch of benefits because it comes with the pursuit of God.
It’s kinda freeing. God will give my reward. And if parents, being sinful, know how to give good gifts- WHOO DOGGY. God’s gifts are going to be nothing short of incredible.
So this has been my personal story in choosing the God of the Bible to be my Lord; not just my savior.
I was kinda nervous in writing this. I’m pretty much painting a target on my blog to be a point of ridicule- but I think I’m okay with that, and I’ll be open to share this part of my story on my corner of the web, nevertheless.
Thank you for reading to the end of the post!