I spent some time debating for a while on whether or not I wanted to share my story/testimony and in what way I wanted to, but after being in prayer I realized that this was something that I needed to do for myself, but also to help others that may have dealt or are dealing with similar situations. I want to share my issues with acceptance, the learning process to loving myself, and how the Lord’s pressing upon my heart forever changed me.
At a young age I had come to know God and had been in the church all my life. I was focused on doing what was right according to the Lord, but as I got older things began to change within me. I found myself trying to be considered cool in the eyes of my peers. When things didn’t go as planned I allowed my emotions and of not being accepted and my heart to lead me rather than allowing the spirit of God to show me the way in which I should go (“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9). I was living for my flesh!
I changed my ways and started living in the world and living for the approval of those around me instead of staying true to who I was and had always been. I have now come full circle and have rededicated my life to Christ. Throughout my four years of college, little by little I distanced myself from the activities that had me bound and were not pleasing to God. I made a choice to stand alone if I had to because the end result is to be with the Lord one day and living the way that I was, I was headed straight for destruction. This is a glimpse into my story. Thank the Lord for his deliverance!
In high school I was your typical girl with a bit of a flare. I was considered pretty, got good grades, and was also a top athlete. I was known for these things and became somewhat popular for my particular traits. After a while though, things started to change. People began to notice that I was a bit different and wasn’t really into the things that everyone else was interested in. I was the good girl. The Christian girl that didn’t believe in drinking or smoking or having sex before marriage or being promiscuous.
I would tell people that they didn’t have to or need to do certain things and was known for speaking my mind about what God did and didn’t want us doing. People caught on and it was thought that I thought I was better than everyone else; That I was the person that ruined the fun and I eventually stopped being invited to certain things because people wanted to do these things in peace. At my age not being accepted was hurtful to me. In 2012 I graduated and decided that I had had enough of not being accepted by those around me. I was determined to make sure that college was different.
In the summer of 2012 I was headed to college to get my education and live out my dream of playing division one college basketball. I began making friends and two people in particular my teammates weren’t too fond of for reasons that showed just how young minded we were back then. Because of this and the fact that the girls on the team were well known they began spreading rumors and people around campus began to ignore me. They were determined to make sure that I had no one and that my experience was the worst possible. I soon found myself alone in my apartment and often times in my room. Things were so bad at times that the physicality in practices was excessive. After six months I had enough and decided to transfer.
Upon my transfer I ended up at what is now my alma mater. Determined to fit in with my teammates and those around me I began to go out to clubs and bars and would socially drink (not to ever get drunk, but enough to not be bothered for not drinking). I never really enjoyed my time at clubs expressing that it was really just an opportunity to dress up, but it wasn’t ever something I just wanted to do. Often times I would get to the club and want to go right back home. This just wasn’t my idea of fun, but it was college, it’s “what we do.”
Toward the middle of my junior year it was getting to be too much for me. Going out wasn’t fun and I wasn’t wanting to drink. During those times I would be called “lame” or “boring” for choosing to stay home or going out but deciding not to drink anything.
I later came to the conclusion that this was not what I wanted to do, so I stopped going out and drinking and lost a few friends along the way. I took a stand for myself and grew a thicker skin because I wasn’t going to compromise myself for something that I felt I shouldn’t be doing in the first place. I remember a time when I was younger when my older brother expressed wanting to go to a party and my dad responded to him.
“What is good about going there? What if God decided to come back and that’s where you are, drinking and partying?”
This didn’t sit well with me. I too began to remember the truth that the spirit of God dwells within the children of God. What do I look like bringing God to the club with me knowing he doesn’t want to be there?! Or drinking mixes of alcohol intoxicating my body and he’s living in there? People may think that this is farfetched or extreme, but if you understand the word and desire a relationship with God, it’s not hard to believe.
I too was in a relationship in my last two years of college and we met during the time when I was still going out to parties every now and then. Everything seemed to work out so well. I was finally getting what I wanted. But things began to change when I was staying in my apartment more and no longer going out. Our situation transformed even more when he got drafted to play in the NFL. I was subjected to some of the worst experiences of my life and became the girl I detested ever becoming… “the girl that stayed.” These instances happened numerous times throughout the relationship. Instead of loving myself I let too much go and tried everything that I could to make things work. This left me broken and insecure and thinking that no matter what I did it would never be enough for him to do right (still trying to be accepted, smh).
Upon graduation I even moved to see if that would help the relationship (yes dumb, I know!), but something in my gut from the very beginning was telling me that I was doing the wrong thing. Everything was okay for some time, but I still never felt great about being there. After two months I began getting strong convictions about what it was I was doing. I began to reflect upon what God does and doesn’t approve of.
I was coming to understand that I was in a relationship that God wasn’t involved in and that he never wanted me to be involved in either. I remember times praying to God that he would come into the relationship and fill it with Him and make things better. What I hadn’t come to realize was that you cannot ask God to come into something that he didn’t ordain to happen in the first place. It wasn’t going to get better because it wasn’t meant to be to begin with. I started to return to my high school ways, voicing my opinions on what I would and wouldn’t do and my ideas on what was right and wrong. I would be called “lame” for not wanting to do certain things and comments were made about me not being who I claimed to be when he met me.
This hurt me, but what I didn’t get at the time was that I had changed. I really wasn’t the girl he knew and had come to love anymore. The girl he loved was a girl that was trying to be accepted and was a false representation of myself. Soon our differences became too blatantly obvious and my convictions too loud to be ignored. I began to resent him for the person I knew he always was and wasn’t going to change from being (partying, drinking, secretly smoking, etc.) and after all that I had been put through emotionally, love wasn’t enough to fix things anymore. I couldn’t deal with the pain of feeling unloved by someone who claimed to love me anymore and be treated in ways that I didn’t deserve.
I also, and more importantly, couldn’t serve God the way that I wanted to and try to please my ex at the same time. It doesn’t work that way (Matthew 6:24). The Lord’s callings began to fill me so heavily that I had to express to my ex what God had placed on my heart. I wanted to return home, so badly that I experienced panic attacks because I didn’t want to stay out of the will of God any longer. I explained to him that I had decided to return home and that this was not the way the Lord intended for me to live (living together outside of marriage, giving myself away physically and emotionally, etc.). I expressed the changes I wanted to make to follow God and he in return expressed that he did not want to follow suit. That revelation was enough for me.
I went back home, with the relationship hanging on by the thinnest thread, and I began to pray hard about what it was I should do. I honestly knew what needed to be done, but I did not know how to go about doing it. I continued to pray and hope that whatever the answer was that it would be undeniably clear. No sooner than I said my prayer the answer was right in front of me and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, started coming to the light. It was absolutely crazy to me! Although it hurt, I received the answers I needed and I immediately ended the relationship.
I was then given time to reflect on what brought me to such a low point in my life. When I narrowed things down it all pointed back to high school. I gathered that I subconsciously made up in my mind that I was going to follow the crowd as a way to gain acceptance instead of being the young Christian lady that I was becoming and was birthed to be. I let go of what was right all to live in the world to find fulfillment that I thought everyone living that way was experiencing. What it did was leave me even more empty and searching to find the version of me that I had lost trying to be someone that God never intended for me to be.
For a long time, I found myself so mad at myself for stepping outside of God’s will and doing things my own way to find a false sense of happiness and acceptance. I had to first realize that when I prayed and asked for forgiveness and committed to never going back to the way I was, that the Lord truly forgave me of my sins. I too had to understand that if the Lord could forgive me that I too could forgive myself for all the hurt that I allowed myself to endure and for leaving His side.
I too realize that I was fine the way I was and am fine the way that I am. I will not allow myself to feel bad for serving the Lord or living the type of life I want to live. What’s funny is I wasn’t fully accepted in high school, I wasn’t fully accepted living in sin and I may not be accepted for living for Christ now and that’s okay! I always knew who i wanted to serve and it took me some time to get there, but thank the Lord that I am here.
No, I don’t have it all figured out and yes I am still a huge work in progress, but I am not where I used to be. What I do know is that the Lord blessed me. By taking me out of a number of situations that were leading me downhill fast I can now experience the fullness of God, a fullness that I would have never received living in the world the way that I was. He convicted me to change and allowed me the opportunity to do so and I am blessed to have come out of a life of sin with a bright future ahead of me (and also before it was too late!). I do not know what he has planned for me yet, my story is still being written, but what I can tell you is that it will be way better than what I tried to do myself! His love for me has forever shaped me and because he loved me I can never go back to the things that he blessed me to come out of. I cannot thank the Lord enough for what he has done, but what I can do is share with others what he has done for me and lovingly serve Him forever!
To be continued…