I went through a drastic change in my life when I accepted Jesus (Yes... I talk like that now) I had to wrestle with so much during that time- even the language which I used to describe it. I spent my whole life being in a completely different place with my faith. In that time I often made fun of, or looked down on the "Bible Thumpers" who claimed to be born again or saved. I found myself in a place of superiority over "those Christians" because the way I practiced my faith was so much more accepted among peers. I actually had friends that would thank me, or make comments about how they liked that I never talked about religion. They knew that I believed in God, and I knew they didn't - and neither one of us wanted the other to change their mind. I once had a conversation with someone about how I hoped they would believe in something, but I certainly had no interest in telling them what that should be. For all I cared, they could believe in that lamp *gestures towards lamp in the corner* Now.... my views on lamp worship have changed quite a bit since then, but that's not actually where I'm going today.
Today I want to talk about when I was saved... and subsequently the weeks and months following.
Thankfully God was very gracious to me with how He grew and changed my heart. At the time, it felt like I was undergoing a radical change, but looking back I see how slow it really was. To explain how far I've come it only makes sense to describe where I started. My life was similar to what you would expect from an 18 year old unbeliever who had just moved out on their own for the first time. I was actually 23. I put myself at a younger age because I was single for the first time in 7 years, and I was finally living my reckless years. I lived on my own, and I partied pretty hard. Most weekends revolved around my hangovers. Obviously Saturday was a write off... and depending on whether or not I would party again on Saturday night, Sunday might be as well. I strategically planned all laundry and grocery shopping during the week knowing that I would be too busy feeling like a pile of poo to lift a finger on the weekend. I would purposely not make any plans with people until at least 1 pm for either day, and I would always have a frozen pizza on hand for these days - it just seemed like good planning.
Can we stop and talk about how ridiculous this is??? Obviously I was living a bit on the extreme side of "non believer" city. Now, there were certainly a lot more things in my life before Jesus that changed drastically after I was saved. Amazing things. Today I'm going to focus mainly on the drinking because it was the most radical outward change that caused a lot of flack from people.
So all of a sudden I'm telling people that something has changed for me in my relationship with God. I don't say saved or born again because really, it was only a few weeks prior that I used to make fun of that type of language. They all just smile and nod and tell me they are happy that I am so happy. Truthfully neither of us knows what I'm talking about.
And then they invite me out, and I say yes and we all act like nothing has changed until... I only have one drink.... maybe two. When I used to have ten. And then I notice that the fun nights are less fun for me, and that drunk people can get on my nerves a little, what with the repeating themselves over and over, and the slurring, and the squinty eyes. So when it comes to parties where I know this will happen, I start to decline invites.
Here's where the flack comes in. I bet you're not surprised.
"You used to be so much fun Melissa" Too bad I'm so boring when my mind and judgement isn't impaired...?
"Why don't you want to hang out anymore?" When did drinking and hanging out become synonyms?
"You know even Jesus drank wine" Yes, thank you. I know that.
So now these people think that I don't want to be around them. Some of them think I am judging them. And for some, I just don't fit into where I used to fit in their lives, so it feels like I don't fit at all. There are some relationships in my life that have changed drastically because of this, which suppose is not shocking, but for me it is quite sad. It is sad that the relationships were not deep enough to find where else they could fit, and that neither of us (because I am not innocent in this) worked at finding that place. It makes me SO thankful beyond belief for the friendships that did find that place, and for the ones where nothing has changed.
So I guess that's where I was trying to go. I'm wondering if there are things that could change in my friends that would cause them to not fit in my life anymore (and vice versa.) Also I'm just contemplating relationships as a whole- with both friends and family. How do we get to that place where you are willing to find where they fit and refuse to give up- even when so much changes that they really are a new person? Those are the relationships I cherish. Those are the ones I want more of in my life.
Like I said: Change is hard. I still grieve some of the relationships lost, but I don't grieve much else that came with that life. Certainly not the hangovers. Oh, and I am finally comfortable with calling myself saved and born again because contrary to my previous understanding of what they meant (I think I thought it was some kind of pop culture for bible thumpers) they are actually biblical descriptions- Jesus' own words in fact. I like that.
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