Approximately an hour ago, I sat at church talking with E, a girl from my service team, as we wrapped things up. ‘E’, I said, ‘I just want five more people to come and visit us… and I want to check the ‘I’m a new believer’ box for one of them. Wouldn’t that be exciting?!’ It only took a few moments for it to hit me… that today, April 19th, was my ‘become a new believer’ birthday.
That’s right. Four years ago, I, along with a staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ named M, sat on the window sill of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at Washington State University. It was there that I prayerfully and tearfully and sobbingly asked Jesus to take over my life. In that instant I was adopted into God’s holy family as I acknowledged that without Jesus, I was a mess.
The ‘About Me’ page of this blog says that ‘I’m a mid-twenties gals who lives in Seattle and loves Jesus.’ The one sentence that I use to describe myself has only been true for a few years and I think it is important for people to get a glimpse into how I came to call and depend upon Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Otherwise, one might be under the impression that I am just one of those people who went to a Christian school (I didn’t) and rocked out to Spirit 105.3 24/7 as my mom drove me around to Girl Scouts and ballet lessons. Although some people are blessed to have these experiences, God didn’t use them to capture my heart. Following is my testimony that I wrote before heading to a summer project in Lake Tahoe. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to talk to you!
I became a Christian during my junior year at Washington State University. As a child, I had a lot of exposure to Christ. In fact, a lot of my childhood memories center upon Sunday School, church picnics, and vacation Bible School during the summer. Looking back, however, I can see that my participation rooted from an inherent belief that doing such things would make me look good before God. As I grew older, my desire to “look good” paired with a deep set belief that I had to be accomplished to be accepted. I craved recognition and admiration. Consequently, my high school track record was spotted with accomplishments that resulted from my drive for perfection. If my grades, clubs and activities, or scholarship applications weren’t perfect, I would use my frustration to only motivate myself to work harder, longer, and with more intensity.
When I came to college, I brought my identity in performance with me. I joined a sorority and naturally put all of my energy into it. I literally ate, slept, and breathed Kappa Alpha Theta. As I became involved with leadership positions, I set my eyes on the position of President as it was the most prominent position within the chapter. In order to secure the position, I put every fiber of my being into keeping an impeccable record. I was nice to everyone, drank just enough to be “real”, and made sure that I led any available committee. As I approached officer elections during my junior year, I felt confident that the position of President was mine. When the election process occurred and I was offered a vice president position instead of president, I was devastated to say the least. I had done everything humanly possible to secure the position yet I had failed.
As I dealt with my frustration and disappointment, my perspective of my sorority changed dramatically. I grew resentful towards my sorority sisters because I felt that they had wronged me. I threw myself into my new position hoping that each accomplishment would make me feel worthwhile. The joy, however, was short lived.
All the while, I had been doing a Bible study on the book of Ephesians because I wanted to be or at least appear to be a good Christian. As I progressed though the study, however, I felt that my knowledge of God was being shaken. I especially felt a lot of anxiety as I compared the characteristics of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to the way I was behaving. He was so good and loving while I had grown into this ugly person. I began to question the authenticity of my faith when I stumbled upon the story in Luke of Mary and Martha, the two sisters who invited Jesus into their home. When Jesus arrived, Mary could do nothing but sit at His feet and listen to him. Meanwhile, Martha grew irritated since Mary was neglecting the work that needed to be done to entertain their guest. While reading this story, I realized that I had lived my entire life like Martha. I was consistently busying myself with things to do so that I would feel accomplished while what I really needed was the love of Jesus Christ. I prayed to receive Christ a couple days later, acknowledging that I had to abandon my inhibitions to prove myself worthwhile to Him. Instead, I learned that God created me so that I could have a personal relationship with Him and in order to know Him personally, I had to admit that there was nothing I could humanly do to overcome sin. For the first time in my life, I made a heart connection to the Lord in realizing that only through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice could I have fellowship with God, receive the Holy Spirit, and have eternal life.
Since starting a personal relationship with God, I have seen Him completely transform my heart and perspective. Through study of the word and fellowship with other Christians, I have found assurance in His plan for my life. Instead of pushing myself in school, work, or my sorority to determine my own worth over the years, I continually turn to God for reassurance. When I think of the radical transformation that God has worked in my life, I refer to a quote by Anne Lamott, a northwest author:
“Think of a fine painter attempting to capture an inner vision, beginning with one corner of the canvas, painting what she thinks should be there, not quite pulling it off, covering it over with white paint, and trying again, each time finding out what her painting isn’t, until she finally finds out what it is. And when [she] finally finds out what one corner of His vision is, she’s off and running.”
Before knowing Christ personally, I was a feverish painter trying to create a masterpiece by myself. Now, as I walk with the Lord, I find comfort knowing that His hands are skillfully brushing the strokes that compose my life and purpose, creating a far more beautiful vision than I could ever imagine.