Disclaimer: This post is rather long but it contains some useful information if you are new to the world of Christianity. . .
I’m no fan of the perfect Christian, I don’t agree with showing only the upside of what it’s like to be a person of faith. My journey is just beginning and within a short time of developing, like a child inside of a womb, a lot has happened. Tears have been shed, trials have occurred, frustration peeps its ugly head (more often than I’d prefer) and the exhaustion is real. I didn’t walk into this life with a bouquet of roses handed to me, God didn’t supernaturally deposit $100k into my bank account and the sun didn’t shine any brighter on me than it had before. I had slipped and I didn’t understand what it took to be a Christian.
I began my walk with just reading my word, I’d never read my bible until I had moved out on my own and in this time, I’d started reading verses every single day. I remember the word making me feel good inside, the greatest stories I’ve ever read, and I thought to myself about how much I had missed out on beforehand.
While I read my bible, I still believed in drinking, cursing, premarital sex, along with a host of other things, and in my mind, I didn’t see anything wrong. . . necessarily. What reading my word, and of course, praying did was put my foot in the door, but I wasn’t all the way in there. As time progressed, I was tested. . . and I was tested again, and I’m being tested as we speak. I remember being in eviction court every month for about 4 months straight. I got fired from a previous employer and it was the hardest thing that I’ve had to endure at that time of my life. Things happened to me unexpectedly, and again, more frequently than I’d prefer but what I had learned was that those were tests of faith.
Oh, so you love God? Well, do you love Him enough to trust Him? Do you believe in His word? Do you believe that He will provide? Do you believe that He can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all?
Well, prove it.
I remember my pastor saying that he had left a church that he was visiting because a woman standing before the congregation was lying about her sins, not that she didn’t do them, but because she shunned the sin (Which is what you should do, by the way.His point was that she wasn’t being realistic). He said “I didn’t do a sin that I didn’t like”, he was absolutely right! Sin feels good for the moment, it’s exciting, it’s risky, it’s easy to do, and all you really have to do is live. Sin can be inevitable and depending on your sin of choice, it can “hurt” a bit when you begin to turn away, and it can definitely get lonely. If gambling wasn’t also a sin I would bet my last dollar that you would lose a friend or two behind your lifestyle change. I loved drinking. . . LOVED IT and I can put so much emphasis on it because I enjoyed taking shots, I loved coming home to my wine that I overindulged in, I loved hanging with my party friends and gulping down liquor like water. I enjoyed that life, it was a huge part of me. Once I had matured and entered into a different stage of life (which still didn’t make me anymore perfect but I thank God for His grace and mercy) I began to see things differently and feel differently. I was okay with letting go of the past, even if the past still seemed fun to certain parts of me, I knew that I wanted to grow more in Christ, and I love Him more than anything in this world, and to deny oneself is a sacrifice worth making.
There was so much sin that I loved to do and it took some reflecting to make me realize how much of a trap it truly is. Not only are you working with the enemy, you are working AGAINST yourself. Sin is not worth cheating yourself out of the life God has for you.
I remember having a one nightstand with a young man that I had met at a bar, and this was well after I’d started my journey in Christ. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, I had thought about it, and I had disregarded my beliefs for a temporary feeling. This is a trap, my people, I had met this young man while under the influence, I had arrived to our place of meeting under the influence, and I had continued to drink upon my arrival. I was seemingly happy within my sin but what the gentleman didn’t know was that I was hurting, I was looking for love, and I was trying to make him love me for more than one night. I didn’t necessarily like him, he was handsome, a little short for my taste but still taller than my 5-foot 6-inch stature and that was okay with me. I just needed someone, anyone, to fill the void left by someone else, who replaced someone before him.
We enjoyed our night of drunken lust and the next day I was out of the door. The young man told me to text him to let him know that I was safe. . . I did and our conversation was brief. I was disappointed, and the void that was once so well hidden, re-submerged right before my eyes. What I wanted was much more than what he could provide for me. That empty, sinking, feeling, it was loneliness, along with a host of other demons that made themselves at home inside of me. Not only that, but the guilt that I carried because I had let God down, I had cheated myself from what my husband should’ve had. The many things performed the night before were enjoyed but I thought to myself about how meaningless they were because I wasn’t married to this man and he wouldn’t be able to appreciate my efforts to the extent of a man that vowed himself to me before God. I remember calling my friend and telling her how I felt. . .the guilt, the shame, and the emptiness that couldn’t quite be explained. I wanted to hide from God. It was a feeling that I never wanted to have again. . . and I never will. I had realized that I had moved so far in Christ that I could not comfortably sin anymore. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit, I knew better.
The Bible tells us that our bodies are our temples and that fornication is an act in which we defile ourselves.
It was a fairly easy decision for me to move away from who I used to be but I still had to chip away at the other pieces of me because I STILL had men in my life who were a part of my past, and every now and then they would reappear, offering me the temporary comfort that I desired but none quite filling that void that still rested itself within me. It took a while, but after having several conversations with a good friend and fellow sister in Christ we had identified soul-ties. I knew of these things but I didn’t believe that I had housed any. As the men resurfaced, I turned them away one by one, vowing to never go back. They meant me no good and the only thing to come from affiliating with them was more sin. They didn’t love me, I didn’t love them, they didn’t make me happy, and my body was the only thing they could care for.
I started to take my journey seriously and I had refused to continue in a nasty, toxic, cycle. I realized that I had sell out, I had to deny myself, not only the sin, but the people who encouraged the sin. I don’t care how long you have known someone, if they are not going in the direction you are going you, will have to leave them behind, especially, when God has a calling on your life. You cannot straddle that fence (which I did so very often) because you will never live in your true purpose and the straddle will send you to an eternal fire.
Who are you living and willing to die for? Is it Christ Jesus?
I looked around at the friends that I had and I truly did not want to criticize them or their way of living, but as I grew I knew that I could not continue living the same way. I would get invited places and I would feel bad because in my mind I knew that I had to say no., I knew that this is not what God would approve of, and I didn’t care for much of it anymore. As I mature I realize what the saying “tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are” means, and I knew that my life could not produce those types of results because I had desired more. God had installed things in me that just wouldn’t settle.
Many of my friends had live-in boyfriends, some with children, some without, and I would be the only single one. It’s not my position to judge their lifestyles because many cohabiting couples do marry but I was never really on-board with “shaking up”. My daughter’s father and I had planned to move in together before I was pregnant and I thank God for the blessing beneath the block because I did not love this man, we never got along, it would’ve ended terribly (not that it didn’t already), I would’ve settled for not only living in sin, but also not becoming a wife or waiting years for him to pop the question AFTER we’ve played house for so long.
This topic is, really, deep for me and I will touch on it with something much greater in the future because this isn’t the post for it. . . My point is, God had opened my eyes to something that never really crossed my mind before and I looked at my friends and their living conditions and I had to say no, I had to ask myself questions and evaluate my life and understand that settling will not embed itself in my DNA and, honestly, the crowd you hang around will convince you to be just like them.
I got involved with a wonderful church and surrounded myself with people of Christ and it wasn’t my doing it was HIS, HE had sent these people to me. They were older and much wiser with true life experience and they gave great advice and when I needed prayer they would stand in agreement with me. I’m at the point where I don’t go to the people I had once affiliated with for advice because they don’t necessarily know how to give it. People of the world will encourage you to react in the flesh when you are faced with obstacles and those actions will make your life so much harder. I’m not saying that they will tell you to do everything wrong but you have to receive their information with caution and discernment, what some would call “eating the meat and spitting out the bones”.
I’m revealing my story because I’m stripping myself naked of all that had me bound. I’m not perfect, I fall short, and I want this to be encouragement for those seeking Christ that may struggle. Struggling is part of the process, it may be the hardest thing you have to do at times, but you must endure because after a while you won’t struggle as much as once have. You don’t become strong by simply saying “I’m strong” you have to go through a few strength tests and strength trainings to prove it. Are you ready?
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