Christians can seem to be strange people. I remember when I met a real Christian for the first time. A neighbor of ours had invited my family to church. I had been to church as a child a few times and I found it so boring I thought I’d die.
Here’s my story of having a spiritual awakening through Christianity:
I was probably in the 8th grade and my family agreed to visit our friend’s church. I remember walking into the foyer feeling a little guarded not knowing exactly what to expect. People from left and right greeted my family and I, asked our names and helped us find our way.
I remember thinking, “These people don’t even know me, why are they being so friendly?” Friendliness isn’t the right word exactly as I sensed something deeper. I sensed they had something I didn’t and wasn’t quite sure what that was. I was in Northern Virginia and people just stayed out of each other’s way there. Everyone was on a mission to get their tasks done and most of the time people didn’t even look at one another much, much less greet someone!
Whatever was in the air of that tin building we visited made us want to go back. I was curious to discover more about these people and what it was they had that I did not have. We started going pretty regularly.
One night the youth pastor was teaching and I felt a light bulb go off in my head. It was clear to me now what these people had that I didn’t: they had committed themselves to follow Jesus and have given their lives to Him. The first step in following Jesus is asking for forgiveness and repenting of sins. The next step is to thank God for sending Jesus to die and pay for the sins of all mankind. I just needed to accept this free gift and in turn hand my life over to God and follow Him and serve Him.
The night I heard and understood this message, I returned home and prayed to God in my room asking for forgiveness, asking for help to follow Him, asking Him to take my life and guide it. I cried and cried with joy and felt a heavy load was lifted from my soul. I felt very different. I know now this was the Holy Spirit coming into my life. I wasn’t alone any longer even when I was physically alone. God was with me.
One of the greatest differences people noticed in me was my insecurities were gone. I cared a whole lot as a teenager about what people thought of me. Making this decision to follow Jesus was a freeing one for me. I mattered, I belonged, I was a child of God. I didn’t need to search around anymore for my identity, God gave me a peace in that area of my teen life.
I also had sinful desires to explore certain things in life that could have been very damaging to me as a young person. After that prayer, those desires were gone. I didn’t change myself, God changed me. He did that. I only prayed in faith for God to forgive me, save me and change me.