Over the past year I have learned so many valuable lessons and gained so much wisdom. This has been a direct result of the school I have been placed at and the people that I have been blessed with in my life. I surround myself with wise, Christian friends who uplift and encourage me in my faith; but I am also close friends with a lot of non-Christians who are really great people. Over this past year I have become a lot more open about my faith and the wisdom that God has placed in my heart. I don’t post these things to make myself look righteous, or to feel prideful when people comment on my posts. This isn’t about me. The things I post, say, and do are a direct result of the movement of God in my life, and it is all for him.
With that said, it has been interesting to see and hear different people’s responses to the things I post, whether that be from strangers, mutual friends, or my close friends. I have noticed that people I don’t know well are the ones who regularly respond positively to my posts and follow up with me about a question they have or just a text saying that the words I had spoken really helped them at that moment in their life. And that sort of thing really keeps me going and makes me realize that a small post can impact someone in a huge way – someone I may not even know. God is incredible and he works in crazy ways.
Now, on the other hand, I have gotten a lot of ridicule about my posts from my close friends, and from those I know very well. I am told that I am a different person at Loma than I am at home, that I seem to be crazy about Jesus and post about him every day when I’m at school but then I don’t when I’m at home. Im told that no one reads my posts. That what I say is irrelevant because it’s too long and no one reads it. And sometimes I believe them. And I think it’s part of the reason I haven’t posted as much about Jesus since I’ve been home this summer. And that makes me sad.
But I want you guys to know that I am the same person everywhere I go, and that my love and heart for Jesus does not change depending on where I am and who I’m with. But, with that said, it is very hard transitioning from school to home, especially when they are 2 drastically different environments. At school I am surrounded by people who share my same faith, morals, and beliefs, and I am reminded of my purpose and the love of Jesus every day. However, when I come home, I’m either working, hanging around the house, or doing something else that’s a part of everyday life. And in these moments I am not surrounded by Christians who are constantly uplifting me and encouraging me to live out my faith. I don’t have chapel 3 times a week, I don’t have Bible class, I don’t have Bible Studies with my friends. It is different here, and that is undeniable.
So yes, it is different being here and not at school, and yes, it is really hard on me. I make mistakes, I don’t post as much as I wish I did, I don’t talk about Jesus as much as I should, but I am imperfect and I am working on it. I do not want to be another stereotypical Christian that turns so many away from Christianity and the Good News of God. I want to be someone who is consistent, trustworthy, and wise.
Through all of the criticism I receive from those around me and through the criticism I put on myself, this journey is never easy. But I whole heartedly believe that what I’m doing matters. What I share matters. What I say matters. I matter. And that’s what matters. And I know that because Jesus has told me first hand. So if you find yourself in a similar position, know that you don’t have to listen to the criticism, you don’t have to get down on yourself, and you don’t need to be afraid of being who God needs you to be. Every post, every word, every action, can make a larger impact than you’ll ever know. And you may never know what an impact you are truly making, but trust me, you are making one. We are all making an impact.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
-Hebrews 12: 1-3 (NIV).