Who Do You Think You Are?
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Who Do You Think You Are?

Being a follower of Christ in the dark

Who Do You Think You Are?

I have been a Christian for so long, I can’t tell you a time in my life that I didn’t know Jesus. I grew up in the Catholic Church and stayed there until I was 13 years old. My parents instilled good, Christian values in me, and they have stuck with me all my life. They almost stick to me to a fault, because often times, I unfortunately see them as strict rules to follow accompanied by horrible punishments if you fail instead of encouragement to live my best life with gentle nudges along the way. But I think that the “guilty conscience” thing haunts everyone in different ways, not just cradle Catholics that were told their dogs weren’t going to heaven. *

When I was in 7th grade, after something upset me in my school and church, I made the decision to move from my conservative, private Catholic school and venture into the unexplored jungle that was “public school” (dun, dun, DUN!). On my first day at my brand new public middle school**, a girl took her tongue ring out at lunch and I almost got stepped on twice. My perfect world of plaid hunter green skirts and embroidered navy blue sweatshirts was totally, and completely shattered by the removal of one tongue ring. I went from a place where the whole school went to mass every Friday morning and Religion was a required class, to someplace where the person next to you might not even know Jesus. It was a total shock to me and my world was turned upside down.***

It was around my freshman year of high school when I realized that I had to create my own relationship with Jesus. I couldn’t keep piggy backing on what the church had told me, what my parents had instilled in me during our regular morning breakfast bible studies, or what they girl next to me in class said that contradicted everything I had ever learned. I had to find out who Jesus was to me and no one else.

And let me tell you friends, that is way easier said than done.

But let me also tell you: the love of Jesus is so, so sweet.

Jesus came down and personally introduced himself to me my freshman year of high school when I started attending Crosspointe Church in Valdosta, Georgia. After about a year of going to their youth group, I was baptized by one of the most godly men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Davis Renfroe. It was the first time I had ever made a decision for myself. One that wasn’t expected or even required of me, and it made me feel like an individual for the first time in my life.****

No matter how much I want to end my love story with Jesus there, the trials and culture shocks don’t stop after you’ve been baptized or choose to follow the Lord. They actually get harder. That’s a poor choice of words…what I mean is, you start to realize that the life you used to live is dead and that you have to physically rise every day with Jesus. (Philippians 1:21) It’s not that your struggles necessarily get harder, but you realize that the choices you used to make without thinking are not necessarily (for lack of a better term) what Jesus would do. And changing your whole life and the way you look at it is really, really hard.

So I guess to sum this all up, it doesn’t matter how you were raised or what you were told is “right.” YOU are the one who decides what your relationship with Christ is and if you are going to listen to the gentle nudges he sends you every morning. Sure, you can go to the fancy catholic schools or when you get older you can go to the college youth group services and raise your hands high in the air with your “WWJD” bracelet waving for everyone to see, but at the end of the day, if you’re not “walking the walk” AND “talking the talk,” what’s the point? Your life is never going to be “easy.” You are going to have to continue to make difficult decision after difficult decision. One beer turns into two and one foul word that accidently slips out of your mouth will turn into phrases, etc., etc., etc.

So my question to you is: Are you going to continue to live a life you think is good for you, or are you going to give up your life so you can gain it? (Matthew 10:39) Are you going to be the same person you are in the dark as you are in the light? Be someone others will look up to and see the light of Christ shining so bright, they need shades. *****

*Catholicism is a great religion, and I am by no means criticizing those who found Jesus by practicing it. It’s just a season in my life that has ended, but ultimately molded me for the better. But my teacher once told me in elementary school that my dog wasn’t going to heaven, so my mom read me verses like Isaiah 11:6-9 and Revelation 5:13 where there were animals in heaven….sooo I will see Rudy again (the best Lab to ever grace this planet).

** no lie, the school had just been built.

*** I used to think I was the “bad gal” at my Catholic school. I said the word “pissed” and everyone at my lunch table gave a large, audible gasp that sounded like it came from a sitcom. I also rapped “Baby Got Back” in art class and got a “warning.” So yeah, you could say I was a Catholic rebel.

****For a girl who hadn’t picked out her outfits in 8 years, this was a big deal.

***** Perfect Christian pickup line: Is that a mirror on your bible, or are you just reflecting Christ???

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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