My freshman year of college I became a Christian. I woke up hungry to know God more every day. I thought I understood the primary elements of being a Christian, but I was unprepared for much of what lay ahead.
If you’re a woman who has recently entrusted your life to Christ, or you know someone who has, I want to highlight some things that blindsided me as a new believer.
One day I was on fire for God, then things changed. I still went to church and Bible study, but I also started getting busier with work and school. I squeezed time with God into small pockets in my schedule, which eventually felt like squeezing Him out. My desire for God’s company was decreasing and soon I was a sailboat with no wind.
I had flatlined.
I didn’t know what to do, what to think or where to turn. I hadn’t heard anyone else describe flatlining like this so I was scared this was abnormal and people would think I wasn’t really a Christian.
I now know many women experience coming down or even crashing from that initial high of experiencing Christ’s love for the first time. I wish I had talked to others and sought guidance sooner. I didn’t know that I wasn’t alone.
All relationships can get stuck in a rut, so you may need to find fresh ways of daily approaching God. If your Bible and prayer time feels dry, try writing out your prayers as a letter to God. Grow further in developing your daily devotional life.
I like having control of my life. I’m that girl who has a white board calendar, a planner and individual notebooks for my Sunday morning service notes, my small group study, my own personal Bible study and one just for checklists. As a new believer, the thought of submitting to anyone’s authority, even God’s, didn’t sit easily with me.
Submission has become a dirty word bringing up thoughts of women being silenced, oppressed or even abused. But God is not anti-feminist.
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28
God is perfect, I’m not. His plan for my life is better than anything I could come up with on my own. Submission is about agreeing with Him on who the designated driver of my life needs to be.
Feeling angry or frustrated towards God? Ask him to show you if there’s an area of your life you’re struggling to surrender to Him. You still have to choose how you respond. This isn’t a one and done approach to Christian living, it’s a discipline you practice continually. Grow in submitting to God by understanding that hardships often bring about fruitfulness.
I can sit for hours just talking with my girlfriends. We laugh, talk about our frustrations, and we talk about our faith. As a new believer when someone asked me if there was anything I was struggling with, I was suddenly silent.
Sometimes we don’t really want to be held accountable. We’re the “good girls” and “the Christian friend” that others look up to. We feel a pressure that makes us afraid to open up.
Being vulnerable with others can feel too much like being exposed.
When I was flatlining I considered talking to a friend I respected. But I didn’t want her feeling like she needed to take care of me so I didn’t say anything. One night she came over and confided in me that she was struggling with the same feelings as me. Had we been bolder sooner we could have been praying for each other.
Christians can be as sick as their secrets, or as healthy as their honesty.
The whispered voice telling you to keep your issues to yourself is not from the Lord. The Biblical picture of healthy living tells us to confess to one another, bear each other's burdens, and grow together in love as we are commanded. (James 5:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Struggling with the concept of accountability? Start by asking one of your close friends to keep you accountable in something less intimate, like your reading or prayer time. As you become more comfortable with how they listen and respond to you, you will hopefully open up about deeper things. Discover ways to help you in your journey of being honest.
“None of us have arrived.” That’s how my pastor’s wife puts it. We’re not in heaven yet and we’re not perfect.
Have I mastered all of these areas in my faith? No.
Have I spotted all my blind spots? No.
But I’m confident that God will continue to refine me and you by allowing us to stumble and then graciously pick us up to continue walking together.
I am comforted by the powerful words Jesus spoke before He ascended to heaven, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
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