How do you introduce yourself? Personally, I always fumble through introductions. Hello, My Name is Tiffany and I am a: wife, mother, daughter, sister, homeschooler, nutritionist, housekeeper, accountant, secretary, reader, writer, singer, student…
Whew! That is just the tip of the iceberg of what I do in life, but none of it really says who I am. The part of my identity that speaks the loudest in my life could be understood as Christian… but I don’t really like that word. Do you? It sort of leaves a sour taste in my mouth when I think of what it means to other people.
I’d prefer Disciple of Christ Jesus instead of Christian.
Honestly, moving from “Christian” to Disciple changed this miserable, fear-filled mess of a girl into a woman who knows hope and joy even in the midst of chaos and trials.
More than a decade ago -after a childhood spent playing the church game- a mess of devastating life choices led me to several years of open rebellion. (I’ll spare you the mess of details and say I was just living like I was lost.)
Miserable. Empty. Broken.
I didn’t know what I wanted from life or how to fix my broken mess. My non-Christian friends always seemed happy and carefree – so I thought I’d try it their way.
By the end of those few years, I was more miserable and confused than ever. The one thing I knew for sure was that I missed my friend Jesus. We had spent a childhood together. Through my darkest nights, I felt His hand protecting and comforting me. When everyone abandoned and rejected me, He never left my side.
“Why did I turn away from Him?” you might be wondering.
I was confused by the paradoxes around me.
Paradox 1: The lifestyles of Christians and non-Christians seemed the same… until college.
- In college, I met some people who were very different. They challenged every belief I held… with scripture, not opinion.
- At home, I saw none of that (not that it wasn’t there, I just didn’t see it).
Paradox 2: The believers in the Bible and the modern church didn’t look the same.
Paradox 3: Many Christians judged me harshly and ostracized me while non-Christians always welcomed me into their circles.
Honestly, the church can be a place many of us are hurt. Has that happened to you? Sometimes, when people act like a Christian instead of a disciple, things get messy.
I’d love to share the Pathway I found to truly forgiving the Pain, Abuse, and Betrayal that stole so many years of my life. I was stuck, unwilling to forgive. I had to learn to release people, so I could walk in freedom!
Those paradoxes combined with the consequences for many unwise life choices led me away from my faith.
To be honest, I am glad it happened this way.
I needed to be shaken up.
For years I had lived in lukewarm Christianity. That is not what God wants for any of us.
Revelation 3: 15-16 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
One day, under the weight of it all, I broke and cried out to The Lord. He heard my Cry and set me on a path that has forever changed my life!
I confessed my sin, well, some of my sin… that didn’t even begin to scratch the surface when I overwhelmingly understood God to say my sins were forgiven. I was loved and accepted by Him no matter how far I had run from Him.
To come back to Him, would be to understand that He wanted all of my life.
God Wanted me to become a disciple
I had to surrender to Him. I had to learn to be “hot”.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
It still chokes me up when I think about it. All that running – as far from Him as I could -and all it took was one step back. He met me with open arms.
I didn’t want to come back to a religion. I wanted Jesus.
That day began a process of discipleship – becoming a disciple of Jesus.
- Looking to the Bible for my worldview – not religion
- Taking every questions life presents me, to the scriptures. This is the way of the Disciple
- I want my life to look like Jesus life, so I have to know what Jesus life looked like by being in the Word
- Attending a church -because He instructs us to (Hebrews 10:25)
- Working through conflicts between the Bible and my way of thinking – work through it with Him to change my way of thinking
Honestly, in a world filled with chaos, I often lose my balance mess up.
What I need is hope and joy to keep me pressing onward.
Giving up the title “Christian” freed me from trying to please the people in my world.
Taking up the title Disciple allows me to focus on pleasing God… not man
I love Him and pleasing Him shows that love.
Most days -I don’t care about being accepted by people. I am loved by Jesus whether I get it right or mess up big!
Do you know my Jesus?
- He is the Son of God came down to this chaotic world to save me when I had done nothing to deserve saving.
- Jesus, who loved the world (me and you) so much that He gave up His, took the consequences of all the sin ever committed for all of eternity upon Himself, and died a horrendous death (a death I deserve).
- He rose from the dead the 3rd day!
- Jesus, who is alive today and sitting at the right hand of the Father… where He makes intercession for me (literally speaking to the Father on my behalf).
- He is the Beginning and the End, who made a way for me to spend all eternity with Him and live an abundant life now.
- Jesus, who defeated my enemy and won the Victory over Hell and Death forever.
My hope and joy are all wrapped up in Jesus Christ. Because of that, I live this life as a Disciple of Christ.
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