As I get older and have different life experiences, I, naturally, learn more and more about myself. I learn who I am as an individual, as a young professional (that’s weird), as a friend, and as a Daughter of Christ.
I think everyone relates to that; Figuring out who they are. To do that, you have to go through those experiences where you learn what you like, don’t like, what you’re comfortable with, what kind of people you want to surround yourself with, and so much more. But, I think so often people assume that following Jesus is a life of rules and boredom; A life chained to perfection.
It took me a while to understand that’s not the case at all. It took my heart changing to learn that. I wouldn’t say my life has ever been glamorous, but I won’t say I haven’t had “fun.” I’ve always been a bit of a grandma, but maybe more of a young grandma during my freshman year of college. Freshman year of college was my party stint (sorry mom & dad) which is somewhat typical. Too much tequila, too many kissed boys, and too much greasy, late night food – freshman 15 can hit you as quick as the trains stop you at every crossroad in Columbia.
I hadn’t had a relationship with Jesus for probably 5-6 years at this point, I had ended a long, tumultuous relationship (SAT word coming at ya), I was in a place of uncertainty and out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know people at USC. I skipped the dorms. I was trying to find my way and new friends. Those aren’t excuses, but I think it paints the picture of how lost I was. I didn’t have anything to base my decisions off of.
Fast forward to my sophomore/junior year of college – I graduated a year early – and I started figuring out my way. With the help of some of the best people Jesus could’ve placed into my life, I felt my apathetic heart begin to want to love Jesus again. It was weird. I saw my roommate, Lauryl, live a life that was different than others, and she had so much joy. A joy that I had been missing in my life for a while. So, I thought, maybe I should give this Jesus thing another try.
Let me tell you, it’s been the best, hardest, and most freeing decision I’ve made. I’ve seen the beauty of community and being vulnerable, I have the best friends a girl could ask for in life, and I’ve truly never felt more free. You see, when you fall in love with Jesus and your heart changes, your desires change, too. Your interests change. Your motives change.
Sometimes I fall back into bad habits. Sometimes I have too many glasses of wine or mimosas. If I get around a certain group of people, my potty mouth can show its’ face again. But, I also see myself being comfortable telling a guy no to a date when I know he doesn’t love Jesus. I remind myself that if I do something nice, stop expecting gratitude in return because Jesus doesn’t expect anything from us. I don’t feel the need to wear certain clothes for attention or that I have to go out every weekend to live a seemingly cool life. I know Jesus will place friends and maybe one day a guy in my life, and I can still spend my nights going to bed at a decent hour. It doesn’t take drunk conversations in the girls’ bathroom or a guy just trying to hook up for that to happen.
I’m not saying I’m perfect and gone are the days of wanting something more than I want to know & love Jesus. I still struggle with thinking I’m the one in control of my life, but I love myself more and see my worth more. Through seeing my worth + identity in Jesus, I feel motivated to live a life that imitates Him, and with knowing Him comes grace.
Grace means that I am human. I am a broken individual. I am messy and sinful. I make poor decisions sometimes. But, I know that because Jesus died for me and my heart believes in Him, I am free from that guilt and shame. I still experience it. Sometimes I beat myself up over a stupid decision, but knowing that I’m already forgiven by Him allows me to forgive myself and others a lot quicker in life.
The Bible doesn’t care about your actions. The Bible cares about your heart because your heart is the root of your actions. Don’t be mistaken, though, the concept of ‘do now, ask for forgiveness later’ doesn’t apply here. It’s not freeing in that sense. Like I’ve said, your heart changes. Your desires change. Your purpose in life changes. So, your actions begin to change, and you fall even more in love with the life Jesus has given you because those chains of guilt and shame have been broken. The crown of perfection no longer has to sit on your head.
I am free to be broken and so are you.