This little book I started reading a while ago was co-authored by three seasoned and knowledgeable Christians. The creator of the multi-season, crowd-funded series called THE CHOSEN is one of those authors. The book coincides with season one of the series and is jam-packed with lines that give me pause. The passage I will reference here made me realize my reason for telling my own story may have been all wrong in the beginning and now something has changed. I am different now than I was even six months ago.
You see, once you decide to embrace Christianity you don’t magically change overnight. Just like learning any new skill, growth of a new mindset happens over time. The more stubborn we are, the more deep seated our own negative self-talk is, the longer it takes. These changes in my mind and heart have been a long time coming and will continue to morph, but they wouldn’t have happened at all without God’s reckless love for this reckless woman.
So my reason for wanting to share my story with you is because, in a million years, I never would have expected this change in me. And I would love for other stubborn souls like myself to know what I discovered. It’s just that I was going about it all wrong. The spotlight was on the details of my crazy life before Jesus, instead of the miraculous stories of what happened after Jesus.
We all have the bad stuff in common. It’s the good stuff that should be in the limelight.
So before I get too far off track let me quote the passage that was my dope slap. The author is talking about the original followers of Jesus here.
“They shared the gospel with an unstoppable, contagious, relentless passion that – to be honest – seems kind of rare these days. How come? Well for starters, they weren’t in love with themselves or their own stories. They weren’t branding their Christian narratives for maximum personal benefit, approval, or sympathy … or for clicks or likes. They weren’t assigning themselves the hero role or belaboring their ‘before Christ’ dysfunction with all its juicy, sensationalistic tidbits…There’s a reason we meet Mary subsequent to her healing—because that’s where the real story is…we’re called to represent Jesus and to die to the lives He saved us from. When we do that, and when He stays the hero of the story, our words and lives become real-time, potent demonstrations of His transformative love and power.”https://thechosengifts.com/collections/books/products/bound-devotional-book
Time to Re-group
So I almost gave up on my blog entirely. I took down all of the posts I had written and the cover photo of me on my motorcycle. Better you just see that patch on my leather belt bag that summed up my lifestyle…”Whatever Blows Your Hair Back.”
I left it all alone for quite a while to spend more time learning and re-examining my reason for doing this in the first place, because I have been transformed in my heart and my mind. And Jesus is the hero in my story, not me. All I did was get desperate enough to ask Him to take over, then hand Him the reins. I lost count of how many times I took those reins back and handed them back again. It’s a daily struggle, but so worth it. The truth is, even the most mature and pristine Christians have that same struggle. It’s not just us colorful people! That’s the part you really need to know.
Even if you don’t know a thing about the Bible you may have heard of Mary Magdalene and those original followers of Christ. If not, that’s okay. Click > HERE for a link to an article that will tell you who the men were that became known as the apostles or the saints. Click >HERE to learn about Mary. This quote, taken from a favorite reliable source of mine, is a quick description of her: “Mary Magdalene was a woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons (Luke 8:2). The name Magdalene likely indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers.”
You can also watch THE CHOSEN for free and be truly entertained while learning who Mary and the original twelve were. You can download the app to your smartphone and cast it to your smartTV. It’s also native to Roku and Firestick. The production is not at all cheesy, like so many Bible story movies are. It’s quite remarkable, actually. It tells the story of Jesus’ life from the perspective of His followers. And you will relate to them because they are just like us. I hope you will check it out.
To simplify things for now, just know that those original followers all had their ‘before’ stories. Most of them are not very pretty. Like Mary Magdalene’s. And mine. The cool thing is that Jesus called them to follow Him, not the polished, perfect, experienced leaders, but people just like you and me. Their messes didn’t matter. In fact, their messes were an advantage! Because people had things in common with them. They were relatable.
When I first started writing I felt that sharing my stories would allow more people to establish a connection with this Christian “bad girl” for the same reasons. When people have things in common they relate well to one another. But was sharing all those juicy stories the right way to go about it? Or was I looking to glorify myself? The reasons why we say what we say matter more than our words. Motives. God sees the heart.
I’ve noticed that when I get with other people that share my old lifestyle and we start telling stories it’s almost like a feeding frenzy. One-upmanship. As if we are proud to have been so…whatever we were. I don’t like it. It’s like gang mentality and the conversation turns sour quickly. Things come out of my mouth that shouldn’t.
That is just not what this is about.
My reason for being here is to help other stubborn, messy people like myself want to know God on a personal level.
Most of us never did that as kids, unless you grew up in a real Christian home. Who knew you were supposed to look forward to church? Who knew God was a loving, forgiving, nurturing father, and not a wrathful, guilt-wielding tyrant with a checklist of rules to follow? Who really knew that Jesus was really God in the flesh, living among us to relate to us, to understand us, to reconcile our relationship?
Don’t get me wrong. We weren’t horrible people in my family, just a little crazy, like tavern owners usually are. Our home was not Christ-centered and our faith was not life-changing. We went through the motions, like lots of “religious” families do. We girls went to church because Dad made us. When we were old enough to buck the system and say bye-bye, we did. Being the ‘oops kid’ and the baby by eleven years, I was a bit precocious, so end of story for me was age twelve, when I started asking hard questions and not getting honest answers. Then, about forty years later, hellooo Jesus! Save my life now please.
Most of us believing humans don’t even know the peace that comes from a real relationship with our Creator. Some of you unbelievers that have even read this far barely believe God created us in the first place, so I’m sure this sounds snobby, but we were not created by some big bang. We were created by a God that wants us to want to know Him.
Some of us may find peace in meditation, crystals, rituals of other religions, even witchcraft, but there is nothing like Christianity. Click >HERE for another article that explains what is unique about it. The single most profound characteristic of Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus, but there is much more in that article. No other religious leader died, was buried, and was resurrected. If you don’t believe that really happened please watch the movie or read the book, THE CASE FOR CHRIST, by Lee Strobel.
As a Christian you don’t have a set of rules to follow to reach nirvana or anyplace else. You just accept Jesus as your Savior, ask Him to lead your life, hand over the reins, and begin to learn.
‘Sound too easy? Try it!
What do you have to lose? There are several online churches and apps and amazing resources to learn from, but the best way is to find a Bible-based, non-denominational church that offers small groups to join where you can truly learn and develop in community with others.
Be forewarned. You can’t let the people in those churches scare you off. Or the thought of never having fun again, either. The truth is that your idea of fun begins to change as your relationship with Jesus grows. Ask anyone in a twelve-step program how that works. It’s all about mindset.
I’ll be the first to admit that some Christians can be over the top and a little strange, but so can lots of other people. If you give us a chance you will eventually meet someone just like you. If nothing else, you will meet people that really don’t care about your perceived shortcomings and your differences. None of that matters to your brothers and sisters in Christ.
If you’ve been misled or hurt by a church group or some zealot of a Christian that made your head spin, I am truly sorry
Be open-minded enough to not lump us all together. There are good and bad people in any group, and like it or not, we only grow when we are challenged to co-exist with people we have nothing in common with and don’t even like. Understand that love is a choice, not an emotion. We choose to love because it’s what Jesus did. He loved us all, even the worst of us, enough to die for us. And remember, you’re probably no slice of heaven, either.
I never used to believe Jesus was the only path to God and eternity
You will never believe it either if you feel like I used to, until you begin to learn from the Bible. I was one who thought that all those other religions out there couldn’t possibly be wrong. How could there only be one way to be “saved?” You know…do what works for you wherever you are on the globe. And what about all the people that never get the chance to hear about Jesus?
My prayer is for you to come to understand why He is the way, the truth, and the life. Why Christianity is so unique. We can only find true peace and eternity with God through faith in Jesus. We cannot find it looking within ourselves, talking with the tree spirits, or communing with the universe.
It’s irrefutable once you look behind the curtain. Even a little bit of biblical and historical research reveals that truth. Like I already mentioned, THE CASE FOR CHRIST is one great source of research by an investigative journalist that asks questions you probably wouldn’t even think of.
Here’s another > link to a YouTube video you might be interested in if you are one who does not trust the Bible to be the historical, accurate, God-breathed truth that it is. You will have the privilege of seeing and hearing Pastor Rick Warren talk about why we should trust the Bible. He is a favorite teacher of mine.
we don’t have to get good to get with God, we get with God to get good!
I can’t remember which preacher said that but I really like it, because we make the mistake of thinking we have to clean up first then we can maybe go to that church down the road. The first time I mustered up enough courage to walk through the doors of a church I felt pretty awkward. Most of us as newcomers think we’re the worst person in the place and we don’t fit at all. It didn’t help that I was on my bike, dressed in boots and jeans with windblown hair. But they said, “Come as you are,” so I did. Know that lots of those people that you think are judging you are just like you and afraid to let it show.
Know this much about me…
I study the Bible now but didn’t until a stupid, almost fatal, back yard accident that was my ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment.
I am blessed to be alive, not a vegetable, and not in prison.
If not for the birth of my daughter there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be alive just because I was reckless. When I think of all my close calls I shake my head. I must have gone through at least three guardian angels by now!
I believe with all my heart that the reason I am still on the planet is because I have a purpose to fulfill, and that is to help you want to know God. He wired me to help people learn. There’s a good chance, if you’ve read this far, we may have a lot in common and you just may consider giving Jesus a chance like I did.
So, that’s my reason for being here.
I would love for you to subscribe and comment and share this blog with your imperfect friends. And thank you in advance for doing so.
Let me close with another favorite verse of mine.
Peace in Christ