Many years ago, I sat in the pew of the church, shaking a little as I listened to my summer camp group leader talk about what it meant to love Jesus. What it meant to become a “Christian.” I read through the little booklet in my hand and wondered what there was to question as I understood its bullet points:
- I believed that I had done bad things in my life
- I believed that God is perfect
- I believed Jesus had died on the cross for me to restore my relationship with God, which was broken since I had done these bad things
- I wanted my life to change, to live my life for Jesus instead of me
I told my leader I wanted to pray the prayer that followed since I understood and wanted to make the commitment. I tried to make it not a big deal, but I sensed there was something big happening. She prayed with me and together we signed the date.
I was only 6 years old at the time.
I am so fortunate to have grown up in a Christian home. I had two parents who introduced me to Jesus, took me to church and youth group. They were pretty strict about how they brought up me and my sister, and showed us we were loved. I never doubted the existence of God as a child. He was real to me. Looking back, I believe that I really did understand all those bullet points in the little booklet at 6 years old. But I still did not understand that last one. I signed that booklet, yet continued on as though everything was the same.
It wasn’t until I was 13 and realizing how much I was trying to live for my friends in junior high, and for the acceptance of those around me, that I truly started to understand the concept of living for Jesus, the daily choice to show His love to someone instead of doing something because it makes me look good.
So, one night during worship at youth group in a new city, with new people all around me, in a new place…this realization came to me, and I signed a commitment to rededicate my life to Christ. To live for Him this time instead of for me.
At first, it was an effort to worry less about what people thought, to walk down the halls of my school and realize that as long as I was following Jesus, I probably would not be popular here. And over time that became okay. The Lord gave me an incredible sense of His love and peace. He brought friends into my life who shared my love for Him, friends who encouraged me and challenged me to grow in my walk with Him, though not many of them were at school with me.
Finally, after a relationship with a guy that I desperately wanted to happen didn’t work out towards the end of high school, I began to truly fall in love with Jesus. I began to no longer see him as just a good friend or a father figure to rely and depend on. I began to see Him as my first love.
I made a commitment in college to read through the entire Bible, and His word came alive to me during those days as I read about his faithfulness in the Old Testament and his love through the sacrifice of His Son in the New Testament. I even read through the book of Numbers and came away in awe of God and His character. If you’ve ever read Numbers, you’ll see how that must have been a God thing.
The more I read about Him, the more I understood who He was. He became an incredible constant in my life, a foundation for my understanding of love. Even though once again I was surrounded by people who didn’t know Him and didn’t love Him, the Lord provided several people to encourage me, to challenge me…often these sweet friends were in a different geographical location than me.
To this day, I am thankful for that challenging situation where a relationship with a guy I truly wanted didn’t work out (at least not in my timing) because God had bigger plans, plans to show me how much He loved me first. Living life for Him is hard, but we don’t have to do it alone.
So friends, if I could encourage you in any way today. I would want you to know that no matter what situation you find yourself in, there is a person waiting to comfort you. He knows you and loves you so much!
Run into His arms and begin to fall in love. You won’t ever regret that decision.
Written by PI Girl Lisa
Do you have words of wisdom you want to share with the PI community? Submit your own article here!