“He who started a good work in you will carry it to completion.” Philippians 1:6.
Since the young age of 5 years old I have had the Holy Spirit living inside of me. My parents, and other family members have never failed to influence my walk with Christ. Going to church, reading my bible, and praying in the car were family norms for me. These initial years of my life laid the groundwork that started my walk with faith.
As the years went by, I continued to do what I thought was good but my personal connection with Jesus wasn’t really there. I didn’t have that deep relationship with Jesus that enabled me to completely trust in Him, and I wasn’t laying myself down in the way He wanted me to. My faith was based on the sole fact that it was a family norm to believe what I was believing. Without this key relationship component, I was missing out on all that God had to offer for my life. I was unable to tell others about the greatness of God because I wasn’t entirely sure all that He was capable of. Most importantly, I didn’t understand the depth of my faith.
Due to this misunderstood faith, my walk with Jesus became broken in high school. I had some really hard times where I thought, “God are you even there?”. It was some of the most difficult years in my life thus far. I was criticized and patronized every single day for my beliefs in Jesus. I had a nickname of “Church Girl”. I was insecure and I didn’t want to be looked down on, or picked on for believing in Jesus. This made me want to rebel against it and hide my identity and I did just that. I acted out and did things I never imagined of doing just so that I could lose this image my peers had made for me. Saturdays I found myself sinning with my friends and Sundays I was repenting with my family. I had little to none Christian friends to relate to. This loss of identity made me feel worthless and confused.
After my four tough years of high school, I found myself working at my church as the summer ministry student. Funny the way God works. That summer, God pulled and tugged my heart in directions I never imagined of going. My relationship with Jesus had been on the rocks for so long I had sort of given up. My youth pastor and I worked side by side all summer and he pushed me to grow, change and become more confident as an individual and as a child of God. At the end of the summer I made a promise to myself and to God that I would not be shaken by the norms of society and what my peers think of my beliefs. I remember sitting in church one Sunday morning when my pastor shared this verse in Matthew 9:37 “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”. He reminded me that God needs us to get out there and work in His mission field. Souls won’t be saved on their own. All those years I was angry at God for not blessing me with nice Christian friends, when in reality, God was using me as a key component to bring those non-believers to Him. God's ultimate mission and desire is to hear every pair of lungs breathe His name. That verse in Matthew reminded me that it wasn’t going to be easy, but it’s exactly what God wants from us. He reminds us all throughout the bible that we will have hard times as Christians, and that the world will be against us but His promise is so much greater. So the night before my first university class, I found myself on my knees begging God to take over my life yet again, I told Him I was ready to be His child.
God has blessed me with the opportunity to speak publicly about my faith, share my love for Jesus with Haitian people as a short and long term missionary, and I have been able to express His goodness through writing for a magazine and having a column on “Surviving University as a Christian”. It’s amazing what God can do in your life when you finally lay yourself down and let Him move.
Something that I am still working on in my life is my happiness. Every so often, I go through phases where I am just so discontent with how my life is. With my body, my friends, the way I’m acting, or just generally discontent. I’m sure we’ve all been there. After being so unhappy with my life and never understanding why, I realized I was wanting more of what this world has to offer rather than what God has to offer. Over this past year, God has taught me that I don’t need a whole lot to make me happy. I don’t need an abundance of friends, the perfect body, the coolest Instagram page, or the nicest clothes. In fact, God calls us to live simple lives, to have a childlike faith. It’s not easy stripping away these worldly desires. Every day I find myself falling into the trap of what this world is trying to offer me. Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
Life can be very complicated, and life with Jesus isn’t always going to easy. But my biggest lesson in life thus far is that He is worth it. The feeling of experiencing His grace and love for me is far better than any substance, any amount of likes on Instagram, and any human being can possibly give. We will always have things in our lives that we need to work on but I am so excited to see what else God has planned for my life.
Written by: Abigail Morgan