Until Thursday, July 21, 2011 I was an atheist. By a series of events and people being placed in my life that I could not attribute to anything other than God's grace, I decided to see what being a Christian was all about...
This is a blog about my attempts to straighten my jagged path through life. I thought I had all the answers and that I didn't need God to direct me. I realized that I was wrong and that I need Him more than anything else. This blog details my journey and I will hold nothing back. Being a naturally cynical person, I will post questions and things that I am struggling with. I will be honest and tell you when I fail.
I've got a long way to go, but I hope that my story will help others realize that Christ is the answer.
Feel free to comment or message me, preferably anonymously. I will not judge, and neither will I tolerate hate of any kind.
I’m still here chugging along and learning more everyday. Once more, I’ve still got a lot to work on though. Going to small group helps so much… We’re doing a study in Galatians now and there’s another lady from Brook Hills who’s going to meet with me once a week to go through Romans with me. I’m pretty excited about that.
School started back a week and a half ago and it’s been a bit challenging. I’m seeing people who have negatively influenced me in the past and I have to consciously remind myself not to let them negatively influence me now. I need to be positively influencing them and staying strong. But that’s hard to do sometimes with peer pressure. That’s another reason I’ve become even more thankful for God’s saving grace. It’s not what we have done, it’s what he has done for us that’s most important.
I’ve got a lot weighing on my mind spiritually… I fear for my best friend who announced yesterday that he wants to try Wicca. I’m hoping it’s just a rebellious phase and he’ll realize it’s not what he wants, but the idea scares me. He knows the truth, and the fact that he’s rejecting it so vehemently makes me afraid for him. But I don’t want to abandon him during this time because I think of all the people who abandoned me when I needed them spiritually. It’ll be a challenge, but I love him and want what’s best for him, which obviously isn’t Wicca.
Also I’m praying that my boyfriend regains his spiritual high. A month ago he was so fired up for Christ and now it’s faded as if he’s bored with it, but still tied to it. I’d like to see us both be enthusiastic together. I’m praying he finds a small group that will motivate him like mine motivates me.
I’ve messed up a lot lately, so I’m praying for peace, wisdom, and a discerning heart for myself. God said he grants wisdom to those who ask for it, so for my life I see no reason to ask him for anything else. If you have divine wisdom granted from God, do you really need to ask for anything else? But I feel like gaining wisdom is a process, just like the rest of this.
Once again, it’s a journey I’m glad to be on. God bless, guys!
I do kind of feel like I have a reality show, lol. I’ve never been this blatantly honest with people about my life and my feelings, especially ones I don’t know. But like I said, I want you to hold me accountable for my actions. I want you to ask me how my spiritual life is going and guide me with your Christ-led support. Christians are supposed to be a support system to one another, and just because I don’t post my every sin to the blogosphere doesn’t mean I haven’t committed some…
It’s official. I’m a Brook Hillsian. I can’t see myself ever going back to a dead Catholic church or atheism again; not that there’s anything wrong with Catholic churches, I just don’t get much out of going. The people I’ve met at Brook Hills really go out of their way to live Christian lives. Christianity is so active there, not merely a routine or spectator sport and I love it. I’m so glad that I’ve found a community of believers who are passionate, loving and accepting. I see God everywhere there. I know that Christianity isn’t all about the church or the building or the people in it, but I do believe that the influences you place in your life have an effect on your relationships, including your relationship with God, so I want to surround myself that love God and work to do his will.
Speaking of doing God’s will, in my last post, I mentioned that I was having issues with my boyfriend and that whatever happened I would accept with thankfulness and joy. Well, I’m single. He chose to end it Friday and since then I’ve asked God, “Okay, what next?” I know that to dwell on the past is to disobey God’s plan for my future. So I didn’t cry a single tear over it. Instead I thanked God for the year of good times he and I had, and spent the weekend studying God’s word and spending time with my loving friends. I asked God for peace in the matter and by his mercy he granted it.
But now my question is “what next?” I prayed about it and I feel like God wants me to share my testimony, so I spend the weekend racking my brain for people I know that I could witness to, ones that wouldn’t immediately turn away because I’ve only been a Christian about a month. I came up with a few names, but then today at a small group Bible study after the service, one of the leaders mentioned that he had a friend who was an atheist and that he’d tried talking to him several times about God, but didn’t seem to be getting through. I’m still new to the church and that was the first time I’d met anyone in the group, so I was really nervous about speaking up, but it was as if God spoke through me. I told him that I had been an atheist for several years and would gladly talk to his friend, so he got my contact information.
I’ve noticed such a positive change in myself since becoming a Christian, but none of it has been me, it’s all been through the glory of God. I could never do anything worthwhile on my own, but if we only ask for his help then he will grant it. I heard a saying, “God does not call the qualified. God qualifies the called,” and now I finally know what that means. I’m not at all qualified to witness to anyone. Some Christians have studied the Bible their entire lives, and I’ve only been a Christian for nearly a month, but maybe my past experiences will allow me to reach the leader’s atheist friend. If I’m able to get through to him, then it was all worthwhile and even the bad was for the glory of God. That’s one of the things I’ve learned to love and appreciate about Christ, he can take the worst situations and turn them into something new and wonderful.
My prayer now is that God qualifies me to reach out to people, especially ones like me who are where I was not long ago. When Jesus chose his disciples, he didn’t choose the priests and scholars. He chose the average guys; not the smartest, not the richest, not the most talented, but he called them and entrusted the creation of his church to them. I want to be a disciple of God and I want all of us to be disciples of God. You don’t have to be the best or the most qualified, you just have to love God and ask him for guidance. Ask him to give you words to speak. And if you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know, but follow that with, “but I’ll find out and get back to you.” Then research it, read the Bible, pray about it. You can grow closer to God through teaching others too.
I’ve still got a long way to go and a lot to work on. I’ve still got some issues with anger and forgiveness, but the more I pray for the people I’m angry at and have trouble forgiving, the less of that anger and bitterness I feel in my heart. I never realized how harmful a heart full of anger and bitterness could be until now. I feel like a parasite has been removed and I’ve got an extra boost of energy.
But I know that being a Christian does not guarantee only good times, so I’m expecting something to go wrong at one point or another because that’s just how life is, but this time I’ve got God to help me through it and I know I’ll handle whatever it is better than I ever have before. I believe that anything you’re going through is God trying to teach you something. I look at God as a father, and parents can’t give their kids everything they want to make them happy because they’d turn out to be spoiled brats, and I feel like it’s the same principle with our heavenly father.
I want to make a list of prayer requests so my followers and I can pray for specific intentions. You don’t have to name any names… Anyone have any?
crystalgoddess asked: Tumblr and the new character limits :( To continue the other "question" I have found my spirituality not too long ago too ! And it helped me a lot ! I'm still myself, the same as I ever was but now, I believe in someone that lives in my heart. But, I don't want to be rude or anything but I would like to know what you think about homosexuality and things like that. I'm not putting every christian into the same basket, I'm just curious of your opinion on this subject !
Good question, though a difficult one, haha. What I’m about to say is just my personal view, and I don’t claim to know a definite answer, this is just what I’ve come to at this point in my life. I personally believe that if a person is gay, they were born predisposed to being gay, kind of like alcoholism, intelligence, or certain diseases. I believe that there is a gene within a person that allows them the chance of being gay, however, whether they actually turn out gay or not is based on their environment (particularly the environment they were raised in), and their choices when they become of a knowledgeable age. I know some very vocal Christians give Leviticus 18:22 as the reason that homosexuality is immoral, but I think that’s taken out of context because there are verses surrounding that that say don’t wear clothes of two different fabrics and don’t cut your hair, yet no one makes a big deal about that. I personally think what Lev. 18:22 is saying is don’t be a whore. I know from my knowledge of ancient history that during the days of the Old Testament, when one region conquered another, the conquers would pillage the conquered city and rape its inhabitants as a sign of victory. Men would rape women, boys, and anyone else that they felt needed to be shown how to be submissive to their new leaders. But many times, when the conquered village knew it was going to be conquered, they would evacuate the women and children, leaving only their men to fight, therefore when the village was conquered, the conquerers (men) had only men to rape. As for homosexuality today, I feel much the same way. God delights in monogamous relationships and not having sex until marriage, so whether heterosexual or homosexual, I feel that’s what needs to happen. I can say from personal experience and being involved in gay culture in a past life and still currently having many gay friends and acquaintances, that the culture is rarely conducive to monogamy. Homosexuality has never been totally socially acceptable, which has been the crux of much sexual promiscuity. Blatantly, gays aren’t allowed to marry, so they have sex before marriage, of course. I’m not saying they wouldn’t do it anyway, there are certainly plenty of straights that have sex before marriage, but I do think it would reduce the number. I don’t mind gay people that are gay and lead normal lives, but I have a problem with those who wear it on their sleeves and whore themselves as a result. I’ve been to several pride parades where I’ve seen people wearing practically nothing and advertising themselves. I’ve seen people who go to clubs with the intention of hooking up. I see this in gay culture, but I also see it in straight culture, but in straight culture, sexuality is glamorized and made to look attractive. I think that straights can be every bit as immoral as gays, but people don’t make as big a deal about it because being straight is socially acceptable. I personally don’t like the hyper-sexualized lifestyles of either. I think homosexuals and heterosexuals alike can be great Christians if they’re willing to forsake the allures of their respective cultures to follow Christ. I also believe that everyone is born into struggle and no one is perfect, but the point is to work on it, pray about it, and with God’s help overcome it. I don’t think that homosexuality is inherently wrong or it inherently prevents someone from being a good Christian, but if it leads a person down other roads that are ungodly, such as promiscuous sex, pornography, etc. then the person should take active steps to put it behind them. Of course it’s difficult, all struggles are, but God is bigger than any struggle and loves people no matter what they’ve done in the past. So basically, if a person’s homosexuality doesn’t interfere with their relationship with God, then carry on. If it does, don’t partake in it, and ask God for help. But that’s just what I think.
crystalgoddess asked: Hi ! I really like how you totally assume who you are and the fact that God is in your life. There's some part I totally agree, some I don't because, for myself, God isn't in a book or at the church, He's in my heart. He's always there when I need someone to talk to and He never judge me. In fact, I see Him more as a Her, because I feel the love of God like the inconditionnal love of a mother. And God is Her name. I really appreciate reading your view on your new found spirituality !
I totally understand, I believe that God is in my heart too. I think that being a Christian is about having a personal relationship with Jesus, which means there’s an individuality to it. For some people, certain actions strengthen their relationship and for others, it’s something else. For example, I feel close to God when I’m writing in a quiet room, but for someone else, that may not help at all. It took me a long time to realize that God wasn’t the church. I’ve gone to so many different churches in my life and none of them even remotely favored anything God-centered, and I think that’s what turned me off from religion. I also learned that you can’t count on seeing God in other people, because even the best Christians mess up. I had to learn that people’s imperfections and the world’s flaws were not reflections of God, but rather the sin and destruction of man. It took me a long time to learn to separate the two. I’m not saying that God is not in everything, because I believe he is, but I think he’s harder for people to see if they’re looking at something that isn’t at all God-like. The Bible says that wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I will also be. So naturally God is easier to find when you’re surrounding yourself with others who love and serve him.
the line “Jesus paid much too high a price for us to pick and choose who should come to the body of Christ,” from the Casting Crowns song “If We Are the Body” plays in my head. And I’m really glad it does. Though unfortunately, the line plays in my head more times than I’d like to admit in a day. :/
So I’ve been looking for a good church that really is God-centered and lives what they teach… and I think I’ve found one! I’ve visited the Church at Brook Hills and loved it. Today I wasn’t feeling so great, so I started reading Radical by David Platt, who is the pastor of Brook Hills. Then it hit me, I should go to a Bible study tonight.
So I found one that was for single women in their 20s. I was kind of nervous about going since I didn’t know anyone in the group and I didn’t know what to expect. But I remembered passages in Radical about how God wants his people to gather together in his presence and how being a Christian involves getting out of your comfort zone. Normally, I would never randomly join a group of people that I knew nothing about, but I prayed about it and went.
AND I’M SO GLAD I DID! Everyone there is either in college or fresh out of college and learning how to balance God, work, school, and a social life. I felt like I instantly related to them and it was okay to open up to them. I was surprised by how friendly everyone was and how accepting they were. I’m definitely looking forward to going back every week!
There’s been a few other things that have been weighing on my mind for awhile that have come to fruition in the past 24 hours. I’d think that most people would need more time to think about these things before realizing any real answers, but I spend a considerable amount of my day reflecting on things (this has been both good and bad in the past, but lately it’s reminded me to pray more because I know I need to pray about the things that I’m reflecting on…
To make a long story short, my boyfriend and I aren’t working out. It’s both of our fault, though I’d say a large portion of it is mine. I’ve been trying to live a Christian life, but I still have issues with struggling to forgive and worry that have affected our relationship and I take full responsibility for that. I spent the majority of my night and all day today praying about what we should do. We both care about one another, but I don’t think we’ve been bringing out the best of each other for awhile now. In fact, it seems like being in each others’ mere presence makes us take a giant step away from God.
I didn’t pray that God would turn us into the perfect couple, or that I’d find someone else that was better. I thought it’d be best if I prayed for peace, and that’s what I did. We’ve been fighting a lot because of my incessant worrying and my trouble with forgiving, and it’s very likely that we’ll break up because of it. I realize now more than ever that I have to change these negative behaviors, but that’s harder to do without his support and love. Although no matter what happens, I’m going to do everything in my power to become the best person I can be for God, and by extension other people.
Luke 9 says that we must give up everything to follow Christ and I realized that my struggle with forgiveness is a selfish sense of entitlement. I feel entitled to hold grudges as I do, so I’ve been reluctant to give them up, hence how it is affecting my relationship with Jesus, and consequently, my boyfriend. And because I’m not as close to God as I should be, I try to keep my boyfriend too close—I try to please him more than I try to please God, which inevitably backfires.
I asked for peace, for me to think before I act so I can be a better Christian, and for God’s will to be done. If God’s will is for us to be together, then I will do everything in my power to honor God, and therefore honor my boyfriend and the relationship that God blessed us with. I will stop bringing up past offenses and I will trust him because I trust God to sanctify our relationship and guide us both. But if it is God’s will that he and I should break up, I will accept the realization with thankfulness and follow the path that God wants me to be on. Both God and my boyfriend are more important to me than any past grievance or emotion that I might have. I want to overcome these struggles for myself and for God, and if my boyfriend sticks around to see it, then all the better.
I believe that God can change me, and I feel that is his will. I know God can heal my relationship, but if that doesn’t happen, then I’ll know that it wasn’t meant to be. I can overcome anything with God and no earthly problem is too big for God to handle. I’ve accepted that God is in control, so there’s no point in worrying over things that I can’t help. I’ve apologized and moved on. I refuse to let anger, pain, shame, guilt, etc. creep into me because I know that will keep me from God.
So against what one might normally think, I’ve had a peaceful day. In fact, I’ve had a blessed day. It’s time I realized the truly important things in life and got my priorities straight, and if my boyfriend and I break up, then I’ll just be assured that it’s God trying to keep me on track. My relationship with God is more important than my relationship with my boyfriend, so I will continue to pray, “not my will, but yours be done, Lord,” because if I have God, there’s no reason for me to be anything less than happy.
Don’t worry, I haven’t fallen off the bandwagon. I’ve just been insanely busy…
I finished reading The Christian Atheist, but haven’t been reading my Bible like I should… but I’m going to. I also have yet to pray before a meal and I keep beating myself up about forgetting, but maybe I’ve been making up for it by praying during random times during the day. My cursing has gotten much better, though hasn’t entirely dissipated, so I’m still working on that.
I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but the small steps of progress are really encouraging me to get there. And as frustrating as it can be sometimes, I’m really glad that by boyfriend is supporting me on this journey. He’s been such a source of inspiration and encouragement for the past few weeks. I appreciate him so much right now; he’s holding me accountable for my actions, which is what I need—which is what we both need. And I feel so much closer to him now, whereas there were times when I didn’t think that possible.
There are still some definite things that I need to work on, not the least of which is being slow to anger. I have a tendency to bottle things up, then suddenly FLIP. It’s really weird. Like I can take a few huge disappointments, then all the sudden something small will happen and it’s literally like the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I’m just raging… I’ve been trying to cool myself down, but it’s not foolproof yet.
I also need to be more comfortable opening up to people and sharing my faith. I haven’t really, not with any strangers anyway. The concept of standing on a street corner with a sign, or walking up to a total stranger and asking them “If you were to die right now, do you know whether you’d go to Heaven?” just seems so foreign to me. I’ve been praying that an opportunity would just present itself, but I’m starting to think that God doesn’t like the narrowness of my comfort zone…
Another thing that’s been motivational is actually going to a good, God-centered church. My boyfriend and I went to the Church at Brook Hills (yes, the church where David Platt, author of Radical, is pastor) this past Sunday and it was what I’ve been looking for. I grew up both Baptist and Catholic and didn’t think that either extreme was for me, but non-denominationalism (ironically enough) is exactly what I’ve been searching for in a church. Now I feel bad for all the times I made fun of non-denominational churches about the irony that “non-denominational” is a denomination…
I’m currently debating on whether I should read Mere Christianity. Well, not so much whether I should read it, but whether I should read it right now. Have any of you read it? If so, what did you think?
cuban-nessa asked: Hey!(: I just saw your post about you noticing a change in yourself that you asked God to help you with, and I want to tell you that it was really inspiring! I'm a Christian myself, and just hearing stories about how God works is amazing to me! I want you to know that I'll be praying for you too! Read Romans 1:16 :) God Bless You!! <3
Thank you so much! I’ll be praying for you too! I’m so glad I started this journey. And thanks for recommending a Bible verse too! :D
I prayed for a change in attitude, for God to work in me and make me a good Christian. I don’t mean make me stand on the side of the highway with a poster of scriptures, just that I could show Christ to people in my daily life. Other than being generally happier, I didn’t notice much of a difference until today. I’d gone to Wal-mart and as I was walking to my car, I saw an elderly woman on a motorized cart that seemed to be having trouble getting up and into her van. Ordinarily I would’ve thought, I’m sure whoever brought her will be coming to help her any minute… and kept walking. But today, seemingly unconsciously, I asked her “Do you need any help?” Turns out she didn’t, but I was really surprised at myself, because that’s not something I would’ve normally done. It’s not that I wasn’t a nice person before, it just didn’t occur to me to go out and serve people; if someone asked me, I’d help, but otherwise, I’d leave them to their own devices. Even as I asked her if she needed help, I felt like my voice wasn’t mine. I definitely think that was God’s doing. And even if she didn’t need any help, I was still glad that I asked. I want to do more things like that.
On another note, I know I need to change my influences, or at least not let them effect me as much. Like I said, I’ve been trying to stop cursing, and I’ve been doing a pretty good job except when talking to certain friends and family members. I haven’t said near as many as usual, but I’ve definitely let a few slip and I feel bad… I feel like every time I say one I’m causing the listener to think of anything but Christ. I also feel really bad because two of my closest friends surprised me with a visit the other night and before I let them in, I hid my Bible, The Christian Atheist, The Book Lover’s Devotional and all traces of my new life. What’s strange is that I don’t even know why I did it. Both of these friends believe in God and go to church, so I don’t know why I was afraid to tell them. I know I need to get over my anxiety of telling people. Part of me feels like if I tell people then they won’t believe me. I mean, at least if someone calls you a hypocrite, they believe you’ve changed. I don’t care how people respond to the fact that I’ve changed, I just want them to see that I have changed and it’s all because of Christ. I’m going to work on it and pray about it.