Before we give our lives to Christ, we’re told that we’ll be so much happier and that we’ll never be alone because we’ll always have God with us. But in actuality, that’s not necessarily true. To be honest, being a Christian isn't all answered prayers and tears of joy.
Changing your life to fit the lifestyle of a new Christian is never easy, in fact, it can be quite scary. You find your mind going down the path of worst case scenario, and you prepare yourself for judgement from all around. Maybe you've gone through this exact type of situation or maybe you were lucky enough to have loved ones around you to keep you going. But some of us didn't have that support system. Some of our hearts were changed and then thrown out to the slaughter to try and find our own way to survive.
I went through this stage of being a newbie fresh out of camp Christian and having to step back into the real world where God wasn't the main focus and you couldn't feel the love of Christ everywhere.
But here I am now, 7 years later, with a heart dedicated to Jesus and a great group of friends around me. So trust me when I say that you can survive this loneliness you're feeling… there’s a way out of it.
There’s a way that your newly found faith can survive the strong holds of loneliness and a way that YOU can survive the desire and temptation to go back to your old ways and old friends just to feel accepted again.
And to prove it to you, here’s my story…
I was 14 when I first gave my life to Christ.
I went to a week long bible camp in the summer, and it absolutely changed my heart and soul. To say I went in head first during that week is an understatement. I cannon balled in without caring how deep the water was. I was like a sponge, soaking up as much of the week as I could to try and become as strong in my faith as possible so that I would be able to keep that momentum going outside of camp.
But towards the end of the week, we were warned about what it would be like back out in the real world; all of the temptations that we would have to face, the judgement that we would receive for deciding to live for a greater purpose, and the lack of support that we would feel. I didn't realize how true all of this would be until I actually got home and went back to school.
At camp we had chapel twice a day, prayed before every meal, and had cabin heart talks about God. But back at home in the real world, my parents weren't Christian, I went to a public school, I didn't have any religious friends, and Lord knows I was too introverted to go to church by myself. It was definitely hard to be a new Christian, especially when I knew I didn't have a support system for my growing faith.
In fact, the years following after I became a Christian were some of the loneliest I had ever experienced. Not because I didn't feel God’s presence or love, because I definitely did; and not because I didn't have friends and family that I could spend time with, again, I did. I felt so lonely because I didn't have any like-minded believers around me to spiritually lift me up and support me with the same faith-based mindset that I had.
For the longest time I tried to hide my faith. I tried to not bring it up because I felt like it would make people uncomfortable, and I tried to keep my bible reading sessions and prayers a secret from my parents because I was so afraid of the judgement that I would receive. And boy, was this the wrong move for my life.
It’s really difficult to grow in your faith when you have to keep it in this little bubble and you can’t share how amazing God’s love is with those around you. So you just have to throw caution to the wind and tell people about this amazing new thing that has changed your life for the better. Trust me, this will help you remember why you chose this life in the first place.
You don't have to try and convert them, just tell them your story and reminisce in the feelings that made you want to become a Christian. Once it’s out there in the open and the people in your life know, you’ll feel more comfortable to be who you are and start growing into the person you want to be.
Something that you can learn from my experience is that it’s important to remember that just because your life has done a complete 180, that doesn't mean that you have to give up every little thing from your old life. You can still be friends with your non-Christian friends, and you can still enjoy doing the things you did before, you don't have to drop everything and build yourself a new life.
This was definitely something that I struggled with in the beginning. I felt that I couldn't be around my friends from home because they weren't Christian and so they wouldn't be good influences for me. But let me tell you, I WAS WRONG!! That was one of the main reasons why I was so lonely, because I pushed everyone who cared about me away, and I didn't give them the opportunity to accept the new me.
Eventually, I came back to my senses and rekindled the relationships that I had tried to break, and it was great!! My friends respected and accepted my decision, except for my best friend (stay tuned for that blog post), and not surprisingly life got less lonely and a little easier. But there was still the issue of not having any Christian influences around.
This is something that if you're going through, it’s not necessarily that easy to fix. However, there’s always the solution of going to church and meeting new people there, but if you're anything like I was where you don't want to go to church by yourself, that makes it a little harder. But again, I made it through and so can you.
Because I couldn't find any physical people around to pour into me, I found resources online that could keep my faith from fizzling out. The best advice that I can give on this is to do some research and find websites, podcasts, or even books that will keep you inspired and give you something in your spiritual life.
I’m going to be completely honest, for the next couple years I had an inner battle between my Christian morals and my old life. I was still stuck with my old friends and I was still the only Christian, and I struggled with giving up and going back to who I used to be. Sometimes it just seemed like the easier choice and I would wonder why I was fighting a life that would be so easy for me to fall back into.
But I kept remembering the reason that I changed my life in the first place… for Jesus!! I know it’s easier said than done, and that sometimes your love for Him and His love for you may not seem like enough, but let me tell you that it is!!
Let’s get something straight here, there’s no shame in accidentally straying off the path every once in a while. I’ve done it more times than I care to admit, but as my pastor says, “your authenticity gives people permission to not be perfect”, so I am telling you that I still struggle with sin sometimes. That’s what makes us human and that’s why God loves us.
The important thing is that you always get back on the band wagon and that you continue your journey as a Christian and promise yourself that you're going to try to be better.
Okay, that was a slight tangent.
Anyways, anytime you feel yourself questioning your faith and find yourself giving into the temptation of your old life, look back on those first few moments after you gave your life to Christ. I know for me, that always brings me right back and reminds me of where I started, how far I’ve come, and how awful I would feel if I just gave all that up.
So to wrap things up and end things off, I’m going to leave you with this…
In times of despair and weakness, take a moment to yourself to think about the good times. Truly feel how you felt when God answered one of your prayers, or when you saw His hand in something in your life. Those are the moments that keep us going. I don't care how many Christians say that seeing is not one of the main reasons for faith, because it is.
Let’s be honest, when you undoubtedly see God doing something in your life, you're more likely to stick to the right path and be all gung-ho about your faith. Again, there’s no shame in being excited about the whole “seeing is believing” aspect of Christianity. It’s awesome!!
So use those moments to keep you strong. And whether you have supportive people in your life or not, God is the only one that you truly need. Eventually your life will get better and you will find like-minded people to surround yourself with. Just don't give up now.
“It is better to be yourself and have no friends than to be like your friends and have no self.”
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