Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He spoke, loud and clear! And I surrendered my heart to Him.

Though apprehensive about going to church for the first time, I woke up Sunday morning with no reservations. I decided I wanted to go that night. Though I still wasn't completely sold on the idea of Christianity, I wanted to go and see if it was right for me, if it spoke to me. If I felt something deep during the service. It was a "give me a sign!" moment.

I went with my best friend. Once we arrived, I felt a little anxious, but it was mostly excitement. I knew I had to open my heart, and not let my head get the best of me. As we walked in, I said to him, "I wonder if I'll see anyone I know." He asked who I meant. "I don't know, anyone." Considering I've lived here for a few years, I figured I would run into someone I've worked with or something.

The message that night was part of a 5 week series on the Song of Solomon, which is a poem about love and sex in the Bible. The series is being taught by Mike Erres, and is called Sex, Love, and God. After singing a bunch of worship songs (very new concept to me), we got down to the message. We translated the scripture and learned the values that God wants for us to have concerning sex. It isn't something to be swept under the rug (and in fact, many churches never teach this book), but something to be celebrated. But God wants us to enjoy and value it to our utmost abilities, when we are with and fully committed to the person who can love us as close to perfectly as possible, so that it can be as special and intimate as it's supposed to be.

He talked about how chances were that most of us had already crossed that line, probably lots of times. But he said we weren't damaged goods. If we were to decide today that we wanted to change, and learn to restrain ourselves even when it's most difficult, we could start over, and God would redeem us and help us to make our hearts pure again, so that one day, we may experience that intimacy and physical love with the right someone.

I looked back on my life, many times feeling as though the pastor was talking directly to me. Though many years ago, I went through a very promiscuous phase while I was living a few hours north where I went to college. I got to a point where the only thing that mattered to me was a little positive attention from the opposite sex; that's all it took. I was a broken person and I thought someone's shallow words were enough to fix me. It would work for the time being, but I would crack a little more every time. I thought, who cares? What does it matter now? I didn't say no to him yesterday, why would I say no to this one today? What was the difference? I'm not hurting anyone.

Well, I was hurting myself. I was inflicting very small, deep wounds on myself that would later take years to heal. But I didn't know it.

Fast forward to the summer before my sophomore year of college. I moved into a house with a bunch of friends, and next door to two boys who were best friends. One of them was the funny, outgoing (and extremely promiscuous) one, and one of them (in my naive, silly 18 year old head, mind you) was the absolute, hands-down man of my dreams. We would hang out, and do trivial things like run errands and watch TV, and it would feel like I'd just had the best day of my life. I thought he was incredible and I fell so hard, in total head over heels, complete infatuation with him.

As you can probably guess, things didn't work out (as mind-altering crushes often don't) and I was (no pun intended) totally crushed. Aside from not feeling the same way about me, he ended up dating my roommate - can you imagine? Not only was I totally heartbroken, but seeing as how he lived next door, I couldn't escape it either. It was horrible.

Soon after, we threw a party. The two boys came, of course, and for whatever reason his best friend was all over me like white on rice; hitting on me, putting his arm around me, you name it. The object of my undying affection even told me to "go for it." And for some reason in my silly, pathetic little head, I thought I might as well. It was the next best thing.

So I went home with him. It was all fun and games, 'til the drunk started to wear off. I looked around the room and realized that I was laying there naked, in the room of the boy I was obsessively crushing on, with the wrong boy. All of a sudden I felt disgusting. I got home and went to sleep, and when I woke up I felt more empty than I ever had before. When I left that morning for work, he was outside and didn't even say hi to me. I wanted to curl up and disappear.

I swore that day to become abstinent. I promised myself that until I was in a committed, healthy, serious relationship for a good length of time, I wasn't going to have sex. Everyone around me, including my closest friends and roommates, laughed and bet money on how long it would last. Well, five years later, I've been with only one person who I was in a serious relationship with for almost two years. And I do feel as though I've redeemed myself.

So back to present day, where I was sitting and listening to a sermon about sex, and about redeeming and restoring ourselves, and no matter what has happened in our pasts we can move on and start anew. We said a prayer, much of which was about letting our guard down and letting Jesus into our hearts, and I felt like it was just for me. It finished with more singing, and everyone started to file out. My friend wanted to talk to the lead pastor, so I told him I would meet him in the lobby.

I felt good about being there, and I had really enjoyed the sermon and felt like I could relate to it on a very personal level, but the experience wasn't groundbreaking. As everyone shuffled out, and I made my way towards the front desk, I caught a glimpse of the boy I had been so madly in love with 5 years ago, who I had lived next to three hours away from here. The boy I hadn't seen since.

I kept walking but my heart was racing. I ran back into the large room and found my best friend, who I pulled aside and gave him a quick rundown of the story. I was shaking. We walked out, and there they were. We talked to them for a second, but I was so overwhelmed I could hardly say anything. They asked me if I go there often, and I told them I'd never been. I asked them if they do, and they said they go once every few months. We said goodbye and left and I was shaking all the way to the car. My friend and I went to get food and I could hardly eat. I felt like crying.

It wasn't out of sadness, but really out of shock. Out of being overwhelmed. If ever there was a sign that I was in a place I was supposed to be (and more importantly, at CHURCH, for the first time in my life) there it was. After a sermon about redeeming ourselves after promiscuity, I literally ran into the reason I stopped having casual sex, sitting in the lobby.

God works in mysterious ways, I know. But there was nothing mysterious about this one. I heard His message loud and clear, and I know He wanted me there for a reason. That was really the breaking point for me; for believing in Him, knowing that He was speaking to me, and that I needed to be exactly where I was.

I know that my life is meant to be with God, and I'm surrendering myself to him to do his work and live by his example. I'm so excited to begin a new life.

1 comment:

David Coyne said...

I love your thoughts about your journey to follow God. May He continue to show you the way. I am your "Best Friends" old youth pastor.