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In the next few posts I would like to explain some things that I encountered and learned in my normal life as a Christian. The initial phase of renewal is, as any Christian knows, not the whole story. Being a Christian does not mean being giddy and happy all the time. There are many real life issues that come up and sometimes it’s just hard.
My initial exuberance about my new-found relationship with God began to wear off in Grade 12. This is when I began to be faced with the complications that come with having relationships with other people (up until this point I had minimal experience of that sort).
It became a theme in Grade 12 for me to apply what had happened in my life to other people’s lives. So basically, now that I had discovered my own inauthenticity in things like musical worship I took it upon myself to point out this inauthenticity in others when I thought I saw it. I drove myself mad looking for inauthenticity outside of myself. When I was just seeing my own inauthenticity it wasn’t so bad because I could change myself. But I can’t change everyone else. I wanted other people to experience what I had. A lot of the time I think it was quite genuine. I didn’t want to be “judgmental.” I really wanted to help. Unfortunately, I was not the best at communicating this. Sometimes I came off as judgmental and people got offended. As a result of that I got defensive, and then slightly angry because I couldn’t properly explain myself. This frustration often lead to becoming actually judgmental which only made things worse. This cycle seemed to repeat itself endlessly through my Grade 12 year.
Though high school ended for me on a bit of a sour note, it was certainly not all bad. I had developed a lot more as a Christian through these tricky and often unpleasant encounters with other people. I learned a lot about communicating and how to be aware of how so many seemingly innocent statements actually sound extremely judgmental and cause offense, and that when someone has been offended by your judgmentalism they aren’t very excited about listening to the rest of what you have to say. I also learned that my constant defensiveness was actually hindering proper communication. I spent way too much time watching for any statements that may be “wrongfully accusing me” so that I could prove that this wasn’t so. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone believing something false about me. I learned that, in some cases, there are things that are more important than defending myself and if I get too distracted defending myself sometimes I forget about the possible offensive things contained in my defense and make things worse.
To summarize, despite of the distractions that I encountered, God was still a huge part of my life. I sought answers for these dilemmas by praying, reading my Bible and asking for advice from my Christian friends. I wanted to do what was right, or God’s will, in my life, but found that “what is right” or “God’s will” is not always clear-cut and sometimes you end up hurting people and making an idiot out of yourself just trying to figure out what it is.
My post-grad years brought many more opportunities to learn and grow in the faith. Our next stop is my first year out of high school and my first year in the work force…