Growing up in the church and then getting saved later on is sort of (really) hard. Especially if you were committed the first time around.
Looking back on all the things I screwed up between the ages of 21 and 24, it makes perfect sense.
There was very much a “wrestling with the angel” aspect of being saved by Jesus in the bedroom of my basement apartment in north Portland. And I very quickly became tired of the fight. I decided that the easiest route would be to go back to who I was before all my major lapses in judgment had come along. The girl who was religious and did the right thing because it was right and not out of love for Christ.
But as I tried to go back – to my old church, my old attitudes, my old political views, the family that I’d pushed aside so I could live for myself – at some point it clicked: I can’t ever go back. I could fake it, sure. Pretend like nothing had changed. But a billion apologies and a thousand years of penance couldn’t get me back to who I was before. People saw me differently. There wasn’t anything I could do about that. But I saw myself differently too.
So I gave up on trying to go back to the old me. There needed to be new standards, new accountability, new humility. Things I pretended to have but never actually possessed before.
Now I realize that going back would have been a mistake. Some people I wanted to accept me because I had changed my ways never will. I’ve come to accept that. I had to move on and make new friends and deep relationships with people who weren’t going to judge me for life based on how I’d hurt so-and-so or committed all seven unpardonable sins. (I’m speaking in the exaggerated sense that I feel these people think when they think of me – which isn’t often or ever at this point – but they won’t explain so I don’t actually know what they think.)
Let’s just be honest, Jesus doesn’t want you to go back either. He doesn’t reach into filth and save us from our sin so he can send us back to where we came from. That would be ridiculous and quite counterproductive.
So wherever you are, or however much you feel like you’ve effed up and hurt people who you loved or lived a lie and are dealing the consequences, don’t give up just because you can’t go back to what you were before. If you do, you’ll most likely only go through this painful process again just to be back in the same spot you stand in now.
*I realized I’ve blogged about this a thousand times and I may blog about it a thousand more but it’s good for me and, frankly, no one is forcing you to read it. ;)