So the other day I was talking to a friend. I asked him to describe his first impressions of me. The vibe I give off to people when they've only known me for a few months.
I was curious, you know?
He said a lot of things. But the one that I can't get out of my mind is when he said:
"You're very religious, but everyone knows that."
I just smiled after he said that, and I'm pretty sure I stopped listening to the rest.
Let me back up here.
I was raised believing in a God. My mom was raised Jewish, and my dad Catholic, so we kids were raised back and forth between temple and church. We weren't baptized, and we didn't have bar or bat mitzvahs. We celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays, gave thanks to God and beyond that our parents didn't pressure us to identify with any particular religion.
It wasn't until high school when I was invited on a church retreat that I found the Lord. I met Jesus, and invited Him into my life for real. He became my personal Savior during that trip.
But my relationship with Jesus was just that, a personal relationship. Each year moving forward was different, some years I was extremely invested in my faith and others it wasn't as much of a priority. I had this fear of offending others that often kept me from discussing my love for Christ.
I can now see that that fear is a fear of rejection. A fear of judgement from others.
I really can't say what happened when I first stepped foot at Reality church on January 1st of this year, but something just clicked. I realized that the way I had been living my life was not doing any good for anyone. I was not letting Christ have the rightful place as center of my life, and I was not sharing with others what has made such a huge impact on my life.
It wasn't any of my own doing, and it didn't have anything to do with the particular sermon preached that day. It was God saying enough is enough. It was Him loving me so much that He reached His hand down into my little heart and mind and rearranged some things.
And I didn't go running into the streets preaching the Gospel. I didn't shout from the roof tops "Jesus is the only way!" I simply realized that I needed to find a way to share. I needed to tell God that I am ready to become a witness, and I am ready to open myself up to learning how to do that.
I'm certain it's different for everyone, probably even changes through out the course of our lives. But God just showed me over the last 11 months that if I open myself up to talking about Him and what He is teaching me in my life, He will move others to listen. It's only my job to be willing to share, and He will do the rest.
So to hear that people perceive me as "very religious" just made my little heart overflow with thankfulness. I am so incredibly thankful for the work Christ has done in my life over the past year.
Praise You Lord, for You are good.
Happy early Thanksgiving, my friends!