First off, I want to say welcome! I know it can be overwhelming diving into this whole new life, but I promise it is a sweet, sweet ride. One of the things I love about Christianity is the familial aspect of it. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, so when you come to know the Lord, you also join a worldwide family of believers.
To give you a little background on my own faith walk, I grew up going to church and claiming the name of Christianity without really having an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus. I remember praying as I was growing up but not really having any understanding of what that meant or if Jesus was even listening to me. I went to church every Sunday, participated in events, and even sang in a church choir. It wasn’t until I was in my last couple years of college that I really began to take my faith seriously. One of my best friends invited me to her small group where I was challenged in my faith and really started to grow in it and know Jesus.
I remember praying as I was growing up but not really having any understanding of what that meant or if Jesus was even listening to me.
I think that those times were a real shift in my life and it was such a sweet season of getting to know my Father in Heaven. I also know it was a little overwhelming learning about the “Christian life” and trying to make sure I was doing everything “right” (which is totally impossible and why I’m so thankful for God’s grace and mercy).
Here are a few things that I learned along the way that may help you out too:
You know those people who pray and every word that comes out of their mouth sounds like a sonnet written by angels? Yeah, that’s not me. That never has been and likely never will be me. When I first began talking to Jesus, I was very insecure about prayer, ESPECIALLY praying out loud. (You can talk to my sisters Randall and KJ about that because they were along for that ride with me). I thought I was no good at praying because I didn’t sound like they did. I didn’t speak quite so eloquently. I thought for sure God only listened to the “pretty prayers”, as I like to call them. But you know what God loves? He loves prayer. He loves hearing our voices. Just as a human father loves hearing from his children no matter how beautifully they speak, our Abba Father loves to hear from us. So don’t be intimidated to pray! Think of it just like talking with a friend. You don’t have to muster up the courage or think of beautiful words to say to have a casual conversation with a friend and it’s the same with Jesus! Pray for people; pray with people; and most importantly, develop a private prayer life just between you and the Lord.
The Bible can be intimidating, figuring out where to start and what to read and even what it all means! The bottom line of scripture is simply that the Lord created us, He loves us, and He’s coming back for us. The entirety of it is just like a love letter to us from our King. Spending time reading and studying it is so important because it is God’s direct words to His children.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Scripture strengthens us. It inspires us and gives us examples of how to live and love. If you’ve never really picked up a Bible before, but feel the move of the Holy Spirit in your life, I would suggest starting with the book of John, which really captures the essence of who Jesus is. If you’ve already read John, give Ephesians a try! Ephesians shifts to talking about who we are in Christ. Beyond that, there are so many commentaries and online devotionals to get you started and keep fueling your fire for the Lord! Check out some online, free devotional resources. Whatever you decide, just start somewhere. He’s promised to give us wisdom and understanding if we ask for it, so just start and pray for the Lord’s guidance! He will give it to you.
Community is a huge deal for Christians, old and new alike! Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Christian community is essential to life as a believer. My first suggestion to you is that if you have not already found a church, do so! Explore those in your area. Ask the Lord to direct your steps and pray for a community where you feel like you belong. And remember, everyone is a little nervous going to a new church. Just know that wherever you go, you are already family. My next suggestion is to find a small group to join. Most churches offer those with specific categories, whether it’s age range, special interest, gender, or specific life season (single, married, moms, etc).
I’m currently writing a blog with my two very first small group leaders so you never know where these things may take you!
Small groups have been so important in my faith walk, and I truly believe that joining one will change, challenge, and grow you. Plus, you may make some lifelong friends along the way! I’m currently writing a blog with my two very first small group leaders so you never know where these things may take you! My final thought in regards to community is to pray and seek a mentor, or at least a mentor-like person. I wouldn’t say I necessarily have one specific mentor, but I have a few women who are older and more experienced than me that I can be honest with and call on in times of confusion or trouble in my walk with Jesus. Surround yourself with other women who will hold you accountable and help you grow.
Sweet sister, I want you to trust and believe that you are on the most wonderful journey you could ever imagine. Life is not always easy, and that is not any different for Christians. The only difference that we have is our hope in Jesus and our knowledge that our lives are more than this world. But, now is a time to celebrate walking into the arms of your Savior. All of Heaven rejoiced the moment you said yes to Him. You are loved more than you could ever imagine.