Today is July 10th, 2012 and a year ago today I was baptized.
I don’t want to mess this up. Seriously, cannot stress that enough. I do not want to mess this post up.
The fact of the mater is a good percentage of people think they know me. They think I’m still the same Lauren I was 3 years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year. Hate to tell ya but I’m not. I am not the same person I was one month ago. I, like most girls, am complicated and change frequently. To worry what you all think of me is exhausting. Honestly, exhausting. This post has weighed on me because I knew I needed to do it but at the same time I didn’t know if I really wanted to for this sole reason . . .
One extremely large and brutal weakness of mine is that I value others’ opinions on what they think of me. Now, I know everyone wants to be liked but this is different. This has always been a weakness or how I’ve viewed it recently, a sickness of mine. I’ve always wanted to impress, to be loved, and to be shown off. I have wanted to be valued highly by others and even viewed as a necessity. An attitude of . . .
"You need me in your life because . . . I did this for you or I can do this for you. I am an irreplaceable friend, girlfriend, co-worker, daughter, niece, and roommate. You will be lost without me."
Selfish, prideful, and just plain old ugly does not even cover it. Trying to be everything to everyone is exhausting and also extremely prideful in thinking I am THAT meaningful. Also, it’s exhausting trying to please everyone. What if people think I’m a hypocrite because I follow Jesus now? Do they think its copout? Do they think, “Oh, she is a Christian now of course she got a blog.” “Ugh, she is going to be all religious now.” Seriously, these thoughts and words have come through my head and it’s exhausting. EXHAUSTING. I’m never going to be the Lauren you want me to be and I’ve learned that’s okay. I’m going to be the Lauren that I want to be, and the Lauren I want to be is an out of the closet, bible reading, church going, knee praying Christian. So let’s talk about why and how I am where I am (The answer is Jesus but read anyway).
I have a friend. . . a dear, sweet, beautiful friend that I love. We did not always get along though. We played nice in high school for the most part, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized my hostility towards her was because I just didn’t get her. Haters gonna hate and I was full time hatin’. She frustrated me so easily with her bluntness, ridiculously cute outfits, and her ability to get the attention of the entire room without even putting any sort of effort into it. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something beyond the external also frustrated me. I’ve known her for years but from a distance so what was this thing? She was telling my friends and I a story one night when it hit me. What I was going through in life she had already been through. She survived. Survived is not the word I want to use but I mean it’s the only one coming to my head right now. (Again, paranoid about messing this up.) People still loved her for her. They didn’t question her. They accepted the new version of her. I didn’t think that her story would be an option for me. I was looking at the life she was currently living and thought, “I’ll never feel that way. I’ll never be able to give over my life like that. I like the way my life is now. I’m happy.” Pshhh. I thought I was happy & fulfilled? I’m such a silly girl sometimes. See, the thing is she was a Christian. She was giving life into others or maybe she always was and I was just noticing for the first time. I never wanted to go out of my way to be friends with this girl but now, two years later, we’re on the level of me meeting her during my hour lunch break from work. My one-hour lunch turned into two. Easily. I could have stayed there and talked to her all afternoon if that was an option. I have realized, and it was reiterated to me during our lunch that I could be like her.
I was going to church and felt moved every now and then but not in a “come to Jesus” way for at least 6 or 8 months. I again had that feeling of, “I could never be like her.” “I’ll never be the Christian she is because I’m still holding onto sin that I cannot give up.” “I will always be ‘Damaged Lauren.’ I will always be wrapped up in myself, selfish, and that past of mine… whew . . . No one will ever be able to forgive that.”
What did we have a sermon on shortly there after? Oh, that would be about letting go of your past! God does that to me a lot. I have a feeling about something, I show up, sit down, and boom!
“Oh, Heyyyy Lauren! How are you? I mean I know how you are but umm… (fake cough)… So since I’m God and I love you and all we’re going to work out that conviction you’re dealing with. Do you have tissues? Of course you don’t. Okay, well you’re going to ugly cry, but it’ll be okay that manly guy in front of you is going to cry too.”
I am not perfect and never will claim to be. I am seriously fallen and flawed in so many ways. I am controlling, impatient, stubborn, and have a bad case of road rage. I have a past that I thought I would never be forgiven for but He did. Undeservingly so. I don’t deserve His grace or His love. I didn’t think I could ever be a Christian. I knew I would fail at that “lifestyle”, but over the year I’ve grown closer to Him by learning more about Him. I am doing my best to be in His word daily and to follow Him so that I may continue to grow. I will fall again. I’m 110% sure about that, but God with a mighty hand will pick me up and dust me off and remind me of the cross and what it means. I am forgiven. I am loved. I don’t have to do anything besides confess and repent, because I have claimed Jesus as my Savior. Jesus already paid the price for whatever sin I commit. He forgave my friend, He forgave me, and I’ve learned to never say never. He’ll show you He can change anyone.