I don’t know if you know this, but all you have to do to become a Christian is ask Jesus into your heart and life and ask for forgiveness for your sins. Super easy, right? Well, I hate to break it to you, but that’s the easiest part and it’s not actually all that easy. We don’t like to admit that we are wrong. We don’t like to admit that we are weak. We don’t like to ask for help. We are human. We are prideful. We are taught to strive for independence and to be unique. That makes becoming a Christian a lot more difficult.
Remember when I mentioned Children’s Church in my history with music? Well, here’s what I remember:
I remember being four years old. I remember going to church with my mom. I remember thinking it was weird the way my mom danced in front of the pew. I remember going to Children’s Church another time, but all I really remember about Children’s Church is the music and the drums.
I don’t remember where I was when I asked Jesus into my life. I could have been at home, I could have been at church, or I could have been in the car. All I remember is that it happened and I told my mom about it. I remember saying a bedtime prayer a few times around that time, and one of the things I asked for was for Jesus to show me Heaven. To this day, all I can say is Heaven will be awesome!
Picture this: green grass, white sand, the most beautiful blue water you can imagine. Cobblestone streets, but instead of cobblestone it’s gold bricks. Sun and shade and perfect temperatures. Playgrounds made of gold. Picture your dream home – it’s there just like you’ve always imagined it. Picture the most idyllic place you can – no poverty, no homelessness, no hunger – everything is perfect. In my dream (remember, I was four), I wanted to play on the playground, but I didn’t know anyone but Jesus. Jesus played on the playground with me! I don’t care how old I am when I go to Heaven, I still want Jesus to play on the playground with me!
Unfortunately, life doesn’t become perfect just because you become a Christian. You don’t become perfect just because you become a Christian. In fact, The Bible tells us that we will be tested and often. I know I have been. I also know I haven’t been perfect.
I grew up learning Bible stories. But I also got spanked and grounded. I did stupid things because I was a kid and didn’t know better. Bible stories will only get you so far. You have to understand the meaning too. You have to understand that Jonah had consequences for not listening to God. You have to believe that God will provide for you no matter what. You have to accept that life is not going to be easy, but trust that God has a reason for the things you go through.
I am a Christian with mental illnesses. I have pretty severe depression that I have battled since I was 14 years old. In fact, I have been hospitalized on more than one occasion for my depression. I have anxiety…there was one point in my life where that anxiety needed to be medicated. I have ADHD. If I am focusing on something I enjoy, good luck getting my attention. If I am not interested in something, good luck getting, and holding, my attention.
I am a Christian with physical problems as well. I am allergic to nature where I live. I have more food sensitivities (not quite allergies, but there are still consequences) than I can remember. I am diabetic because I am severely overweight. I have bursitis in one of my shoulders and had to give up 90% of my trombone playing because of it. In fact, I had to switch my primary instrument in college because I couldn’t practice like I needed to. I tore two ligaments in one of my knees by tripping over my own feet twice in two days. They weren’t complete tears, but they never healed properly either, so now I have a bad knee and can’t run or jump and I have to be careful not to overexert myself. I also smoked for 24 years and that hasn’t helped anything.
God has a plan for this hot mess that you’re reading about right now. I have been able to show the world that even Christians have problems. I have been able to show joy even when I have been at my lowest points. God provided when I could no longer play the trombone. God provided because earlier in my life he made it so that I understood how to play other low brass instruments. Getting bursitis and having flare-ups is a test of my faith. I had to trust that I still had a way to continue my education without having to start all over. I have been able to show that I can still have fun without running and jumping. I can still be myself, just a bit more cautious.
Beyond not listening to my parents, there have been times when I didn’t listen to God. I have never lost my faith, but I have struggled to live like God wants me to. When I moved to where I live now, I was still a kid. I didn’t have any say in where we went to church or even IF we went to church. Even once God provided the opportunity for me to go to church, it still took me some time and an unwitting push to start attending.
That wasn’t the only time I didn’t listen. I fell away from God as a young adult. I had sex before marriage. I lived with two different boyfriends before marriage. I got pregnant before marriage. I struggle to manage my finances. In fact, I have a minute amount I can spend from our account with no questions asked. Anything beyond that and I have to ask for permission. I am really, really, really bad with money.
I fell away again after my daughter was born only to realize it was because that was no longer the right church for me to attend. I fell away again just before I joined my current church’s worship team. That was just another time in my life when I thought I could do things on my own. And it will happen again, I’m sure. After all, I am human and therefore I am imperfect.
All of this is without the complications of BDSM. I’m not saying that BDSM is wrong. But to be openly Christian in today’s world is difficult. To be openly kinky in today’s world is pretty irresponsible with the way people judge everything. To be kinky and a Christian will get you judged by everyone without pause…unless they are truly Christian too. We’ll talk about this later though.