You grew-up going to church. You learned bible stories like Noah’s Ark and Daniel and the Lions Den. You sang in Christmas concerts and went to youth group.
You lived in this bubble, nicely protected by Christian parents, Christian friends.
Then you hit high school and it was like your life split into two, the high school life and the church life. You had to figure out how to live in both.
But no one ever prepared you for what life outside the church bubble was going to be like.
No amount of bible verse memorization or Noah’s Ark stories were going to help you deal with the stuff you faced in high school. Feelings of rejection, the pressure to have sex with your boyfriend, the enticement to party, drink, do drugs, the traps of addiction. High school was all of that and more.
And as you got thrown into that life, your old self, the one living in the Christian bubble, slowly disappeared.
The church never talked about the stuff you were going through, the hard stuff. Yet, that’s exactly what you needed to learn about. You needed to be mentored on what to do, how to handle it. You needed to understand how the bible related to your life.
So church quickly became irrelevant, disheartening, and a constant reminder that you weren’t good enough. As a result, you rejected the church, closed up your heart and moved on.
Church was not for you. Your life seemed way messier than what the church ever talked about.
The church failed you. And you associated God with the church. So if the church failed you, then so did God.
Then you got married and started having kids. And you thought about what you wanted for your kids. You wanted them to full-fill their dreams and avoid the bad choices that you made growing up.
So weirdly enough you started to drift back to the church because you wanted your kids to learn about God and to make better choices than the ones you did.
But church was uncomfortable and felt unsettling. People stared at you and wondered what happened. You felt judged for dropping out of church. They talked to you with those sad eyes and sympathetic voices and you wondered if you could handle going back again.
But you persevered and continued to go to church because you were determined to have your kids attend Sunday school.
And then something amazing happened. Through the church services and connecting with others, God slowly started to speak into you again.
He showed you that even though the church let you down, he never did. He wasn’t the church. In fact, he was the only one that had been consistent in your life.
He gently showed you areas in your life that needed to change. He encouraged you and helped you see why it was important to change, and that it was the best thing for you.
So you wrestled with the idea of whether or not God was actually asking you to change and if you were willing to do it. Was it going to be worth it? Part of you wanted to change, wanted your life to be better, the other part was scared and not ready to commit.
Courageously, you tried one small change. And as you did, God started to bless you for it. This only encouraged and motivated you more to keep going. And so you decided to make some bigger changes.
Now you were curious about what the bible had to say. You were never really interested in it before, but something kept leading you towards it. So you started the daunting task of reading a book with just under two thousand pages.
And you found that the more you read the bible the more God spoke to you. For the first time in your life, you started to feel like you actually had a relationship with him. You looked forward to talking to him, telling him about your day, the things that were worrying you and the things you were excited about.
Where you once turned to drinking and drugs, you now turned to God to de-stress. You started to face life head-on with God right by your side. You finally got a taste of what is was like to have an authentic relationship with God.
You soon realized that the church wasn’t God. The church was made up of people, like yourself, who made mistakes and failed at times.
You realized that nobody can take away your opportunity to have a relationship with God and to be blessed by him except yourself.
You realized that by consistently learning about God, and applying it to your life, you could live a life that you loved. A life you never dreamt possible; a life full of opportunity and blessings.
You realized that you are now living proof that loving God and putting him first is the only way to live. You no longer needed to tell your kids how to live because they watched you live it!