I’ve had quite a few changes happen throughout my life that have altered how my relationships grow or fade. Choosing to follow Christ has been both the most rewarding and challenging so far. While getting married and having children has definitely changed my character and how I act, being a Christian has changed my soul, my thinking and process for decision making, the way I talk and dress, my priorities, and my desire to seek eternal assurance rather than worldly. My goal today is to help those who knew me before these changes understand who I am now, and as result, move forward rather than backward.
I know who I was before Christ may seem more fun, more interesting, and maybe more easygoing than before. I can’t say things to reassure you like: “I’m still that girl”, or “our relationship doesn’t have to change”. I can’t and I don’t want to. I AM different. My whole world is different and that’s a good thing! You can still talk to me about your life without judgment from me. You can still ask my opinion about things; my answer will just be different from what you may want to hear. Our relationship WILL thrive if you are willing to open your heart and mind to loving the new me as much as you did the old.
There are aspects of my life that are important to me, that you may not agree with, that may cause you to walk away. In my journey of knowing and following Jesus, He has started a transformation in me that has changed my desires for how to live.
- I don’t drink anymore. Not because I think having a drink in itself is wrong, but because I know if I do, it is for the wrong reason.
- I try really hard not to swear. This is a huge one for me and I hope you can respect it. Just like when we try and shelter a child from hearing those words because chances are they will repeat them, I want to shelter myself. This means I really enjoy time spent together that doesn’t involve a cuss word in every sentence. Trust me though, I understand how hard it is to filter what we say!
- What I just mentioned kind of flows into this point. The music I listen to and the movies I watch are going to be different too. If you want to see a movie together and it is rated-r or even some pg-13, chances are I will say no. What I fill my mind with is extremely important to who I am now.
- I am this way for good. My lifestyle and choices won’t be pushed to the side just because I want you to have a good time with me. This one is big for me, mostly because my opinions and interests before Christ were constantly swayed based on who I was with. I was focused on pleasing the world around me, rather than God. Now, my identity is found in Jesus, and He never sways or changes.
I know this is a lot to take in and I really hope it doesn’t make you run the other way.
- My love for you is even greater now. You’ve heard me say it before: “I love you”, and I probably meant it, but love has a totally new meaning for me now. Before, I loved because I wanted love in return. I was honestly the most incredibly selfish human being. Now when I say I love you, this is what I mean: my heart desires for you to be well, for you to find the joy I have, I ache when I know you are aching, and I really do love you despite any flaws you may have. Jesus loves me just as I am and even as I was before. I want to love you the same way.
- I’m not going to push you into converting or judge you for not being like me. Do I want you to find the hope, joy and assurance that I have? Absolutely! But, God gave each of us free will for a reason; He wants that decision to come from our own heart not someone else’s.
- I don’t want to lose you. Whether we are close or simply acquaintances, this life change does not mean I want less of you. I want more! Now that I know who I am, I want to know more of you. This is something I never cared much about before, but I do now.
Following Jesus may make us different, but it doesn’t make us strangers. It doesn’t make me better than you and it definitely doesn’t make me like you less. I hope you will give the “new me” a chance. God has started a work in me, and He is not done with me yet. And I am not done with you!