A little over six months ago, my life was wrecked in the best way possible by the best person possible. Jesus. He wrecked me in every way. He took my broken pieces and placed them back together in the most beautiful mosaic I could ever fathom. He took my self-destructive ways and my stubborn desire to ruin my own life and replaced it with an indescribable joy and a stubbornness full of love for the Lord and for my life. Now, as much as I am a completely changed person now that I know Jesus, my newly Christian persona occasionally shows through. Here are eight things, in my personal walk with Christ, that I experience as a brand new baby Christian.
1. "I can not be held responsible for the things I did before I knew Jesus."
Now, this may be a response that I myself am the only one who uses. But I find it to be quite effective and true. My past is a little rough around the edges, to say the least, and if you think I'm a hot mess now (which I am) you should have seen me before I knew Jesus! Sometimes my new Christian-ness shines through at the most awkward times, and all I can do to explain is shrug and say "I can't be held responsible for the things I did before I knew Jesus." Now, of course, this is a cop out, but it lightens the mood and in a way reminds me just how much Jesus has transformed me. My favorite example, perhaps, would be when I was in my general psychology lab class and some of my fellow classmates were trying on marijuana goggles and responding in astonishment with how different the goggles made their outlook change. So, I decided I wanted to see what the rumble was all about. I put on the goggles and without thinking twice, exclaimed, "This is NOT what marijuana does to you!" The whole class stopped and looked at me with raised eyebrows, my only response was a giggle and an honest... "Hey, I can't be held responsible for the things I did before I knew Jesus!"
2. Unfortunately, sometimes it means losing old friends.
As much as a love my friends, I knew before I knew Jesus, and as much as I know they love me, sometimes when your world gets flipped turned upside down, by the creator of the universe, your old friendships just aren't as compatible as before. I love each and every friend I've had during every walk of my life, and I will continue to pray for them all. However, when I met Jesus and told many of my friends that life was going to look very different for me, my friends began to look very different at me. I decided that Jesus was worth more than getting drunk every weekend and being high as a kite every school night off of prescription pills. I realized life with Jesus is better than a life full of partying and being sick with an eating disorder. I realized Christ was greater than my anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, although I changed, my world around me didn't. My friends, who made up my world, had not experienced yet the transforming love of Christ that I had. And while many of them respected my change in interests, their lifestyle was more important than our friendship. Many of them let me go. And I myself, had to let many of them go, in order to follow Christ with my whole heart. I'll never forget them or stop loving them. Sometimes we just have to learn to love those who aren't best for us from afar.
3. Covering up when people say "Jesus" by replying "LOVES YOU!"
This may be my favorite thing in the whole entire world to do. I do not come from a Christian family, and like I explained, many of my old friends were not Christians, so I am often surrounded by an abundance of people using Jesus's name in vain. So instead of glaring, or correcting them, I simply smile and every time I hear someone exclaim "Jesus!" I exclaim right back, "loves you!" We as Christians talk about planting seeds all the time, well this is my little way of planting a seed. As silly as it sounds, being told Jesus loves you can be a much more powerful thing than we realize. Because after all, we are all just broken people searching for love. And the love of Jesus Christ is the best love we'll ever find.
4. Having a heart attack when you're asked to pray out loud.
As much as I have gotten better with this, I still die a little inside every time I am asked to pray out loud. Praying in private.... easy peasy lemon squeezy. Yo girl has become a pro at that. But ask me to pray out loud and suddenly I have forgotten the English language, my name, and what planet I am on. Thankfully, when we pray... He speaks for us. So no matter how insufficient I feel, every prayer aloud ends up being a success, because it is not me who is speaking, but my perfect savior.
5. Not knowing what to do with your hands during worship music.
I don't know about you, but for me, when everybody starts clapping and waving their hands in the air like they just don't care, I can't help but look around and smile. I love watching people break out their crazy worship moves to praise the good Lord above. However, I am still learning how to praise Jesus without looking like a very awkward penguin. I still remember the first time I worshiped with my hands in the air. What a liberating feeling. I literally felt Jesus surge through me. I am still practicing my worship moves in the mirror at home to perfect them, however. I tell yah, it's a rough life going from an angst-filled, little teenager to a Jesus loving, dancing fool.
6. Making genuine (christ focused) friendships for perhaps the first time in your life.
I recently transferred from a party school to a private, Christian school, only a couple months after accepting Jesus into my life. Culture shock would be an understatement. But I mean that in the best way possible. Perhaps the most beautiful part of being surrounded by a bunch of Jesus freaks is when your love for Jesus turns you into a bunch of Jesus-loving friends. I've never had friends that loved me with a Christ-like love until now, and I tell you what, their love and genuineness brings me so much healing and joy every single day.
7. Finally understanding the "Jesus Freak" craze and being proud to be labeled as one of them.
I specifically remember in high school all the Jesus freaks who would invite me to youth group and tell me they were praying for me, and I even more specifically remember despising the ground they walked on. Their love for some mystery man in the sky and for me, made me gag. I thought they were all on the crazy train. Then, I remember the day I was saved and baptized just six months ago, a pastor came up to me and asked if I was ready to be one of the "Jesus freaks?" I've never been so excited to be a freak in my life. Once you know Jesus, you finally understand why those weirdos can't stop talking about him.
8. Realizing just how beautiful life with Christ truly is.
I used to hate life. I used to hate myself. I used to self-harm, starve myself, abuse pills, get high, get drunk, and at times even try to take my own life. I was lost and broken and miserable. The only beauty I saw, was the warped beauty of killing myself slowly. Worthless was my identity. And then, then I met Jesus. And it's like every chain, every lie, that once held me captive broke off the instant I met my savior. A world I once saw in black and white, I now see in screaming color. I am not making it up when I say, I absolutely love life now. I have bad days, don't we all? But the bad days have become few and far between, and even on my worst days, I know that Jesus is transforming them for good somehow. Life is beautiful, oh so beautiful. I can't even begin to fathom the gorgeousness of this life that lies ahead. God is good, oh so good.