Who are you? That is the question I have been asking myself lately. Or better yet, how can I be true to myself but also true to my new found faith? Oftentimes as a new Christian, I struggle with fitting my personality into my new role. I am blunt, opinionated, and can cuss like a sailor. But that doesn’t make me a bad Christian. I know I am not perfect, but I seek to be perfected in Christ. Does this ring a bell with you? Do you struggle with melding your old self into life as a new Christian? I feel ya.
I know I will be judged for the words in this post. From both Christians and non-Christians alike. And that’s ok these words aren’t for them. The story and the advice I am about to write are for those who are like me and are struggling. Struggling with being true to yourself and this new person you want to become. I will not give you the answers, and you should be wary of anyone who does. There is only one being with the answers.
You don’t even have to be struggling with life as a new Christian. You may have just left a bad relationship, you could be entering a new season in your life, or you just overcame tremendous adversity. And you are experiencing the growing pains of your soul. I am just going to share what I have found to help. And what you choose to do with this information is up to you.
I Was a Hot Mess
I do not believe I was ever truly a bad person. But I was a good person making bad choices. After all, our culture says, “Do what makes you happy as long as your not hurting anybody, right?” The problem is that that mindset always hurts somebody. Selfishness always ends up hurting someone. Sometimes it even hurts you. I spent pretty much 30 years of my life trying to bend the world around me to make me happy. And I will admit at times I didn’t care if it hurt someone. So, I wasn’t even following the creed of, “…as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone”.
I wasn’t always so awful. I just became so frustrated by my situation. My behavior was immature and I didn’t know how to properly communicate with my husband. I loved and cared for my daughter, but many times I put my needs before hers. I missed out on so much of her early childhood because of my failures with her father. And so I went out and partied with friends to escape my failures in marriage and as a mother. And of course, that did no one any good. But at least it numbed the pain for a while, right? At least I can say I wasn’t a drug user, or an alcoholic, or did anything illegal. But that almost makes it worse. I knew better.
Changing My Life
After many years of the same problems coming up over and over again, I had hit my limit. Obviously what I was doing wasn’t working. I was still in the same exact place I was when I started my adult life. I’m a stubborn chick, what can I say? I was struggling in my marriage, we were in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, and I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. And this time instead of going out and partying with friends, I had a really bad bingo habit. Don’t laugh, those old ladies take bingo seriously!
That’s when I hit the wall. Or I should say the wall hit me. Aaron wanted a divorce. Our daughter had moved out and with her went the only thread that was really holding us together. He said it wasn’t me it was the fact that he didn’t feel like he was where he wanted to be in life. And even though he didn’t say it, he didn’t see me trying to make anything better in our lives.
So, why all the back story? Well because it’s important to know why I am who I am now. And to know that your past can be less than perfect and you can change. Your past can be a total hot mess and you can be better now without having to justify it to others.
That last fight between me and Aaron was a catalyst. I was literally mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted from the last 22 years of struggle. It all came pouring down on me. And that night I let it all go. I released it to God. With one prayer. One plea. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to fix it, I didn’t want to manipulate the odds in my favor. I just wanted Aaron to know what true love was. Even if it meant it wasn’t with me.
It was the first truly unselfish thing I had done in over 20 years. And I knew at that moment no matter what happened I would be ok. And Aaron would be ok. Because God answered. As cheesy at it sounds I felt a calmness sweep over me like I have never felt before. I felt peace. It was literally the quiet calm after the storm. You know, where you look around to see what’s left and who survived. Well, surprisingly my marriage was among the survivors.
Rebuilding My Life After the Storm
The weeks that followed were nothing short of a miracle. I became a Christian. I found a church where I felt the presence of God. A friend helped me with the first steps of my life as a new Christian. And Aaron and I rebuilt our faith as we rebuilt our marriage.
We would stay up talking many nights about what we wanted our life to be. He supported me in the dream of working from home and starting my blog. He knew how much I loved helping people solve problems and find the help they need. Surprisingly I am much better at helping others than myself sometimes. I’m sure many of you can relate. I think it’s the whole mom thing.
But it hasn’t all been a smooth transition.
Being True To Myself (Can a Christian Cuss)?
When I converted, like many, I felt like I had to be perfect. It’s such a silly thought, cause who the heck is perfect? There are no perfect Christians out there. Everyone fails every day. But that’s by design. It’s so we will continually seek to be perfected in Christ.
Adjusting to life as a new Christian has had its ups and downs, let me tell ya. But I have had some amazing guides along the way. And those guides don’t claim to be perfect either. The first question I asked my Christian friend was, “Is it a sin to cuss”? She said no, but we should always be looking at whether we are seeking to uplift others in our language. If you’re cussing to harm someone in any way then you should know that is a sin. So I use that as a guide now. And once again I am not perfect. I of course no longer use the Lord’s name in vain.
Another huge problem I faced was my past. I lost a couple of friends when I converted. I had changed many of the long-held beliefs I had from before. (Honestly, I had been making these changes prior to becoming Christian.) Getting used to my life as a new Christian meant letting go of all of the negative behaviors I had from before. That isn’t always easy for people to accept. And sometimes people like to bring up your past as a way to make you feel guilty for growing beyond them or your past.
Becoming a New Person
So, if you’ve made major changes in your life and you’re having a hard time reconciling your old self with the new these are some of the tips I’ve learned.
- You Are Worthy of Love: Never let someone try to belittle you for your past. If you are truly trying to better yourself then let the haters hate. You deserve to be happy. And those that love you will be there.
- Your Past Does Not Determine Your Future: Just because you believed something in the past does not mean you have to believe it now. Scientists work by this method, they keep a theory until new evidence comes along to change the theory. They don’t apologize for it, they just acknowledge they didn’t have all the evidence yet.
- Be Genuine but Be Kind: It’s so important to just be yourself. But also remember to do all things in kindness. The one thing I have clung to in my life as a new Christian is to remember the one scripture that encompasses the only thing Jesus asks us to do above everything else. “Love one another as I have loved you.” If you follow that one rule everything else falls into place. And you can walk tall knowing you are being the best version of yourself.
- Sometimes We Have to Put a Part of Ourselves on a Shelf: What exactly do I mean by this? Sometimes things we believed before, don’t jive with our new understanding of the world. And we might not have new information to evolve that belief. I am dealing with this myself. The knowledge I was taught in the past is flawed and I don’t have the answers to fully adjust yet. So I just put that on a shelf and don’t worry about it. Every now and then I go back and try to research a new answer. If it doesn’t serve who I am now I let it go. It’s ok to not have all the answers.
- You Are a Work in Progress: Never forget you are a work in progress. We should all be striving to be better people on a daily basis. We might not always be our best every day, but nobody is. Give yourself grace and try better tomorrow. I look at it as a fun adventure to see what I can learn or improve on every day. And it doesn’t have to be anything major it could be a small thing.
Adjusting to Life as a New Christian
I won’t lie I struggle every day with trying to fit the remnants of my old self into the person I am now. Constantly wondering if someone is going to bring up my past. And I’ve finally come to the conclusion that that’s ok. I’m not that person anymore. Parts of her are still here. I’m still sassy, blunt, and I still cuss. And you know what, that’s ok. I’m happy with who I am now. My life is amazing. I love with all my heart, my marriage is better than ever, and my family and friends know I’m always there for them. And now I have a relationship with Christ which is the biggest comfort of all.
Whatever you have faced in your past know that it is behind you. Don’t let a couple of chapters define the whole book. You are the author of your life and have the power to make it what you want. If you are seeking to improve who you are than no one has the power to knock you down. And if you are learning how to live your life as a new Christian, you know you’ve got the big guy upstairs to turn to for help.
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