Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Journey: Part 2, the back story

In order to really understand my story, we have to back up a good fifteen or twenty years. At least to my early years in South Carolina. Life before that was completely carefree, and not that SC changed everything. But I was beginning to grow up, to understand the world and the things of God more.

I had a Christian family.
We went to church... even when it snowed. Yes, mom, you don't get to live that one down.
I went to Christian school.
I made Christian friends, who also went to Christian school and church.

Around 2nd grade my dad sat my sister and I down and told us that as a family we were only going to listen to Christian music. This was not a big deal at the time, I liked the Al Denson, Wayne Watson, and Sandy Patty tapes my parents had. The only "secular" music I owned or listened to was an Ace of Base tape my friend Marie gave me for my birthday. To this day I'm not sure what was wrong with it, but it was handed over. For some reason the rule didn't apply to my parents and we would listen to The Drifters or The Beach Boys at times. I learned all the songs on the Christian radio station in about 2 days. There was one song I really liked, and since it came on about every five songs, I would listen and wait. 

In fourth grade, I actually decided to begin my relationship with Christ, but it feels like just a formality since we had known each other all along. At my church, you had to go up to the front and tell the pastor that we wanted to pray to accept Christ. Even though I had wanted to do that for a while there was no way I was going to get up and walk down to the front of the church in front of everyone while they were singing and staring.

Every summer I went to Christian camp.

In middle and high school I attended every youth group function.

I learned to read my Bible every day.

I led groups and did studies.

I read Christian books...I knew the Christian book store better than anyone I knew.

People looked up to me. Leaders counted on me. I was respected.

I could keep going, but the list is kind of exhausting. And by now I'm sure you're asking, "What's your point?"

Was I faking it? NO! Not in the least bit. I was so passionate about the Lord. I look back at things I wrote back then, and I am dumbfounded at the wisdom and discernment God gave to me at such a young age. In many ways, I felt, even then, that God was raising me. He was my Father. He was my friend.

My point in all of this is that in all of this a mindset was forming. A life that was filled with unintentional rules. A life that began to make God smaller by expecting my own goodness to provoke the goodness of God. A life that was learning that I would be rewarded with praise and friendship when I was a "good Christian" and how easy it was to fake it. A life that felt that the less grace I needed, the better off I would be.

I was starting to believe that I was in control.
I was starting to believe I had to have it all together.
I was starting to believe that I must earn God's love and His favor.

It was so subtle how God left all my good, Christian, spiritual things, that I never noticed Him leaving....


Kayla said...

Carrie! I love hearing your story...I also love how you are keeping me in suspense! I totally feel where you are going with this and I know I can relate. We've had our talks, good friend! I miss you and hope we can catch up soon. Love you.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm intrigued Carrie. Wanna hear part 3!