The joy of summer includes the endless hours of insomnia. I swear, I am so dead atm yet I am struggling to stay awake. Rediscovering my love for literature and other reading material has resulted in a very reclusive girls staying up into the wee hours of the night BECAUSE even though her eyes are heavy and totally willing to be graced by sleep, sleep never graces me. Outrage very much!
I am, however, very grateful for the warm summer nights where I am allowed to just lay and allow myself to think. Unwillingly. Shmeh. That’s all I got to say to that! But all kidding aside; I’m not quite sure when during my childhood did I just stop thinking about the world. I stopped thinking about possibilities, about people, about life, about what I want in life. Everything I did was a bit… robotic. Looking back to my earlier pre/teen years, I was enshrouded by fear. I didn’t allow room for the unknown. Survival was what was most important. To be honest, I have no idea how I got through life with the attitude I had! Everything before God is a vague cloud.
This summer though, this year actually, has been a major time for me. Apart from when I got the holy ghost, this is the most I’ve grown as a person both intellectually and spiritually. Changes range from my convictions to how I can better comprehend my bible. I went from being a struggling baby Christian to walking in one go! It was an amazing feat that I was very proud but it took a lot to get out of my personal wilderness.
If you know of my testimony, you know that I wasn’t allowed to go to church for the longest of time. That long time outside of church, watching online videos of church services, made me unaware of other Christians. I was naive to the importance of fellowship. I didn’t realize that being a Christian meant you would be put through many trials and tribulations in life. How could you be struggling in your relationship with God when you’re in the church! I couldn’t empathize with them.
Here was little oh haughty me judging other Christians because they were struggling! As ashamed as I am I’m not going to deny that I was acting pompous. I didn’t realize how hypocritical I was being. I just figured that if I can be this obedient OUT of church, they should be ten times as obedient IN church. One plus one didn’t equal two in my head. I just couldn’t comprehend this little issue.
Lack of understanding leads to arrogance and pridefulness. Because of my pride, a wall manifested between God and I. At first I didn’t understand why. At one moment I felt God with every step I took, every second of the day and then, at the next moment, I felt his absence. It bothered me. I felt empty, exposed, and cold. It was like having my soul gourged out by a large serving spoon and the contents being flushed down the toilet. I wasn’t sure why.
Instead of turning to God in prayer, I instead tried to take on the problem on my own. I allowed my pride to put distance between God and I. Foolishness met with my willfulness and from there, I started unknowingly walking in the opposite direction. I felt something was wrong, I knew something was wrong. SOMETHING WAS WRONG! Why am I struggling? I have the holy spirit. I have this, I have that. I. I. I. Everything was I. If I have God why was I feeling so hollow?
No longer being as strong as I was entering Senior year, I began to waver. I knew God existed. I knew the basics but without the fellowship of a church, my strength was slowly waning. Living in the world is hard when the only people you knew were the people of the world.
The summer before Senior year started (I received the holy ghost sometime mid-Junior year) I received my conviction to wear skirts, to not cut my hair, to glorify God boldly. It was a significant transition in my life. NOW LET ME TELL YOU. I was a tom boy! I wore jeans and a t-shirt all the time! I didn’t bother with purses or jewelry or my hair. I loved comfort and with all the running, jumping, and dancing I did, skirts weren’t exactly of abundance in my closet. (And no jean skirts where not an option. I am not a big fan of jean skirts.) Imagine the surprise of my classmates when they began to notice how I wore a skirt EVERY SINGLE DAY. Through the rain and the windy seasons, I was dressed clad in a skirt or a dress. I also believed in GO BIG OR GO HOME so if I was going to wear a skirt or a dress I’m going to make sure it looked nice.
Questions arose and I was constantly asked why I was in a skirt. Wasn’t I cold? Am I ever going to come to school in jeans again? At first I answered those questions proudly but of course with patience but as the year dragged on, I found myself weary and tired. Yes there were people who praised me for being so obedient and committed but there were also others who mocked me and looked down on me. With some twisted logic, they were disgusted at me “degrading” myself, allowing myself to “cave” into the influence of some religion BECAUSE of an ex-boyfriend. Despite explaining how my faith in God took the span of four years. People still thought I was following blindly. I was hurt by some of the closest people I’ve ever known in my life.
At that point, my countenance, my composure was being shaken and challenged. Along with my fall out with God, I began to compromise myself. Oh you know! An inch above the knee wouldn’t hurt! Going to the movies isn’t going to do anything! Downloading some more secular music won’t send me to Hell! CUE BUZZER. COMPROMISING YOURSELF IS THE WORSE MISTAKE EVER. People question why apostolic standards are so strict; why girls do what they do or why guys do what they do. What I admire about pentecostals is their strong will not to compromise their faith and obedience. Think about it. It’s like that delicious, lush cake sitting on the counter. Mmm. Yes. A slim slice wouldn’t hurt. Yeah, but after the first bite, after the second, after you finish off that cake and you look down at that plate, you begin to want more. I meant you know, just another slice won’t hurt. Just one more innocent slice and then you’re done! No more! Our little secret! It’s okay! I deserve another slice. I deserve to let loose! I’ve worked sooo hard. I’ll just work it off tomorrow. Won’t you regret it when tomorrow doesn’t come?
So acting foolishly, I began to compromise myself. I became comfortable coming up with every little justification to explain why this little decision is okay. I was growing complacent. You know what though? Once God has made residence in your heart, he’s not leaving! Inside of me I still had that tugging feeling that things weren’t right. Things should be better. I shouldn’t be content. Content is the worst place to be for a Christian! I should be wanting more, doing more. Not being in Church should not be an excuse not to grow in God!
That tugging feeling, that desire for God, brought me to my Church’s home page where videos of previous services are posted late one night when I found myself crying and desolate. Pastor Shoemake has no idea how much of an influence he has been in my life even before I’ve met him! (When I went to church for the first time and received the holy ghost, there was an evangelist speaking.) That one message he preached brought me into realization. I’m not living my life for Christ! I was letting my carnal desires get to me! From then I made drastic changes to my life style. I deleted all my music in itunes and started from scratch. I listened to k-love till I was familiar to the songs glorifying God. I unfollowed tumblrs I found that weren’t benefitting me spiritually, kept a few for artistic inspiration, and followed a large variety of God-fearing people. I began reading my bible daily. I even went on facebook fasts. I even burnt some bridges with a few people who openly condemned God.
"Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." A few of yall can identify those as the fruits of the spirit. I remember etching those nine words onto the underside of my wrist as a constant reminder to live my life like God. Through my stumbles and falls, I gained wisdom and humbleness. I received peace and comfort. Today, I still struggle with my pride but not as badly as I did then. Now, after some self-evaluating and wonderful influences through tumblr (Thank you to all the wonderful believers in Christ. Yall are a big encouragement to stay strong in my faith.) I’m able to catch myself when I slip up. I am proud of who I am today.
So here goes! Things I’ve realized about myself:
- I am more sociable now! I was and still am such a shy girl. I would hush up when meeting new people. I gave strong handshakes though! I was after all a tomboy.
- I smile almost all the time now.
- I am more patient.
- I should listen to my own words of advice to others! As in I should remember them!
- I am over-eager to grow with God to the point that I can frustrate myself out.
- I’ve met so many wonderful people. I am going to miss my church when I leave to Davis.
- I am a good parker. :)
- I stand a chance in passing my driving test!
- I should stop being nervous about messing up.
- Whenever I get really lonely I begin yearning for companionship. (I wrote a post on it when I prayed and realized how silly I was being. It’s called “Empowerment” if you wanna check it out.)
- After I get through ever single trial I am amazed at how God is so awesome! He has everything mapped out so when I make it to the other side of the ocean, I gain some new knowledge.
- I want to be a teacher so I can be an influence in troubled teens.
- I’m excited for my future husband!
- I’m excited to raise a family.
- I’m excited to go to college.
- I’m excited to be a positive influence.
- I am proud at how patient I’ve become.
- I am still flawed but beautiful.
- I love to read.
- College is scary with all it’s finances and competition. I need to trust in God more.
- I need to work being humble ALL THE TIME.
- I am very capable. I need to stop underestimating myself.
- I want to continue to draw.
- I may not be an eloquent writer but my crazy logic makes some sense.
- I’ve learned to be more grateful.
- I am finally able to truly forgive people.
- Cream cheese is good.
- I get very jittery before church especially why my ride hasn’t called or texted yet.
- I am more comfortable being vulnerable.
- I am a cry baby at services half the time.
I am so in love with God. <3
tagged as: God, UPCI, Apostolic, Pentecostal, School, Pride, struggles, personal,