Have you ever waited in line at a grocery store when a cashier is new? Or maybe driven behind a person who is learning how to drive? Do you remember your first day at work or in a classroom? It’s hard to start something new, isn’t? You are excited and at the same time nervous; you feel uncertain and a little uncomfortable because there is so much you don’t know.
The same thing could happen when we start following Jesus. We may feel overwhelmed by the things we don’t understand. We may put too much pressure on ourselves and to avoid looking “ignorant” we keep questions to ourselves. A relationship with Christ can seem complicated, but it isn’t!
God loves us where we are. He is not expecting us to be a certain way or to reach a certain level before we can go to Him. But for some reason we seem to believe that to be a “worthy” Christian we need to have completed steps; to have read the whole Bible at least once or to be able to quote several verses. Our walk with God is all about an amazing journey, which starts with a decision. The decision is very personal and straight forward: Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior? Only you can decide, and if your answer is “yes!”, God will guide your journey according to His plan and your needs. He will place the people you need in your path and He will celebrate each victory with you. Nothing is too small, because every step towards Him is worthy of celebration. This is not a race against your friends or the people at church who seem spiritual because they know so much, this is a relationship between you and God; and the more time you spend with Him, the more you will get to know Him. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelations 22:17)
In the Bible we often read about step by step progress. Jesus would speak about planting and harvesting, “…The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:23) We also read about how God’s people would often be on a journey and through it all He was by their side: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” (Exodus 13:21)
If you are a young Christian, taking your first steps in this amazing journey, I am so happy for you, and I would like to share some of the things that have helped me along the way:
Make quiet time your priority: Time with God is the most wonderful way to start your day. I know that I need to spend time with God as soon as I wake up, but for some reason it is hard to stay still and separate time with Him. That is why it has to be done on purpose. The enemy will use many tactics to stop you from having that fellowship with God. Make it a habit and work everything else around it, you will notice a difference in your life.
Start a journal: Leave a trail of your journey so you can go back and praise God for all He has done, and also to find strength remembering that nothing is too hard for Him. Our journey is so exciting that it needs to be documented and shared. Write the thoughts that come to you as you are having quiet time, Bible verses, feelings, lessons, and all the God stories in your life so you can share them later with others.
Don’t compare yourself: This is an individually tailored journey; no two stories are going to be the same. When you are around other Christians who quickly quote scripture and seem to know so much, don’t feel bad. No one is judging you because you can’t recite verses or you don’t pray with big words, what really matters is where your heart is.
Ask God for a mentor: When you ask God, He answers. It is such a delight to have someone picked by Him to share the journey with. Words can’t describe how much I love my mentor and all that God has done in my life through her. Ask God to place a person in your life that will help you and guide you, someone you can share the tough moments and also celebrate the good ones, and someone who will delight in the Lord with you.
We may have heard that life is a journey not a destination. And yes, life is about enjoying the time God has given us here on earth and achieving our mission, but our eyes need to always be looking toward our final destination, an eternity enjoying God’s presence. So go ahead, take that first step and be certain that people you may not even know are praying for you and cheering you all throughout your journey.