This article is hard for me to write. I think I've been writing some great content lately about topics that influence me such as singleness, what it means to deny yourself, and being an introvert, but this topic hits differently for me for two reasons. First, this is something I'm currently and actively struggling with; second, I don't necessarily want to share this information about myself, but I think others will relate to it and know that there's hope.
What does being a Christian really entail?
Being a Christian includes some strict rules and ways of life that I'm supposed to stay committed to. While I don't like to refer to them as "rules," I use this word to emphasize what they feel like right now.
As a Christian who has recently rededicated her life to seriously changing my actions to reflect the person I say I am, I can honestly tell you:
This Christian lifestyle thing is no joke.
It's something that requires you to literally battle with your own self daily.
It requires attention, feeding and taking care of during your busy life and free time.
It's something that although you could easily give up, pressures you to stay for longer.
It's something that guilts you, but in a good way???
To put it in simpler terms, being a Christian means not having sex before marriage, reading the Bible and/or doing devotions daily, not smoking, not getting drunk, no masturbating or watching anything inappropriate, denying yourself and your emotions/feelings, and a whole range of other things.
Living a Christian lifestyle means living much differently than your peers.
If you're like me and aren't surrounded 24/7 by Christian friends and influences, it's hard to see the light sometimes.
Secular living is the easy way out.
It gives you everything you want and desire. It gives you pleasure, release, fun, and all those other things you may think you can't find in Christianity.
But the downside of secular living is that it doesn't promise you anything that will last in this life.
It won't give you anything that lasts forever, only temporary things.
It won't give you everlasting life. It won't give you security, safety, or true love. It won't allow you to experience the fullness of what life, or should I say what God has to offer you.
These are some serious aspects of Christianity that make me want to turn away from secular living and commit myself to God. However, writing it and saying it is a lot easier said than done. When it comes to saying "no" and changing my actions to stray away from secular activities, this is a battle that I haven't become comfortable with. I did NOT realize it would be this hard.
The Struggle Is Real
One week, I'm strong in my faith, doing my devotionals daily, praying, and encouraging myself to stay on the right track. Then it all dwindles down to one day. There's one day where I'm strong in my faith and still on the right track, but my mind starts to wander. Whether I'm influenced by a friend, something I saw on TV, or even one word, the smallest thing can hinder my once secure mindset and allow Satan to seep in and take control. It's one of the worst feelings when this starts to happen.
But the twist is that it turns from worse to better.
The once sinful thought that made my mind wander soon becomes my escape, becomes normal. Just another everyday part of my lifestyle...again.
This cycle can sometimes feel never-ending. That's because it is. While I wish living a Christian lifestyle allowed me to be sober for the rest of my life and never relapse, it's just not that easy.
Go back to all of the things I listed that living a Christian lifestyle requires of you. It's a lot to take in and it's intense. However, the benefits are amazing. Sure, eternal life, heaven, and God always on my side are awesome aspects. But the real reason I'm trying to live accordingly to my beliefs is because God loves me.
Even as I write that phrase, "God loves me," a part of me doesn't really know what that means.
That just goes to show you how much I still have to learn and how much I'm still struggling with this whole Christianity thing. As someone who was raised Christian to the extent where I couldn't go a day without God being mentioned, I can tell you firsthand that it doesn't make it any easier.
I'm a 20-year-old in college with a Christian background, Christian parents, and available options to seek God in my life, yet I'm still struggling. That's not to say struggling is a bad thing, because no one said becoming a Christian and living like one would be easy.
I'm just trying to put myself into a perspective that says: you're not alone.
One day at a time. One scripture at a time. One prayer at a time. It's all in time. I'll let you know when I get close. But for now, I'm trying my best.