ok, so let's be honest. it was more like the i-don't-wanna-go-to-hell-so-this-prayer-will-be-my-fire-insurance-but-it-probably-won't-change-my-life-in-any-other-significant-way prayer. it didn't really mean much to me.
i was under the impression that since i had prayed that certain prayer that it made me a Christian. like magic. repeat this prayer and abra-ca-dabra, you're saved and you can go on living however you choose and doing whatever you want and God will answer all of your prayers for cute boyfriends and big boobs and popularity.
except not really. just because i repeated those words did not mean that i knew Christ as my Lord and Savior. if i had truly known Him, then my life would have been way more about Him and way less about me. it was certainly all about me.
as i entered into high school, my need to have me at the center of the world took precedence.
i was insecure.
i was needy.
and i wanted to be cool, dang it.
so i did a lot of things that did not make me happy. i said a lot of things that were inappropriate. i was a lot of things that were gross. i craved acceptance.
that's what happens when i let me become the center of the universe. miserable dysfunction. you see, people aren't made to work that way. we're made to orient our lives around Christ. through Him and by Him and in Him and for Him all things are. He's the center of the universe. He literally holds the world, including us, together. so, without Him, i was not a properly functioning person. and i knew it. i could feel it. like i was drowning in the expectations of others. suffocating under the weight of trying to fit in.
thankfully, towards the end of high school, the Lord placed some inspiring Christians in my life. ones who were intentional and sincere. ones whose faith genuinely changed the way they lived. ones who challenged me to see if the way i lived my life matched what i said i believed.
it did not. God used 1st John 1:5-10 to open my eyes:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
this passage described me. i had been claiming Christ while living in darkness.
and, oh, i was so weary of that darkness.
the Holy Spirit used 1st John to literally send me to my knees. there, broken on the floor,
i confessed my sin of living for myself,
i repented of my filthy ways,
i submitted to Christ.
as cliche and silly as it may sound to those of you who have not experienced this, after finally deciding that i needed Christ and without Him i was not whole, i felt the burden of the world lifted.
like being pulled up out of mirky, freezing, immobilizing waters and taking that first breath.
finally, i was me and that was ok. i was free in Christ to be exactly who he had made me. and He knew me. and He still chose to love me. i knew that God loved me with all of His heart. and i was lovely because HE loved me. not because i wore the right clothes, or said the funniest things, or had the perfect figure.
i was me and i was lovely. always and only because HE loves me.
since this true conversion experience, which happened years ago, i had not been baptized...
wanting to be faithful and obedient to what Christ has called His followers to do, i was baptized in a lake with 6 others from North Wake Church.
and what a blessing it was.
so, all that to say, i got baptized, y'all. just wanted to let you know.
AND i wanted to sincerely apologize to any and everyone who may have been led astray by me claiming Christ while still walking in darkness. i pray for you. really, i do. you may not think i remember you, but i probably do (i'm pretty adept at facebook stalking.)
i pray that you may know the freedom and security that only Christ brings.
i pray that you may know what it feels like to breathe in Him for the first time.
i pray that you may know the joy of being who He created you to be.
i pray that you learn that you are lovely because HE loves you.
always and only because Christ loves you.