(to read Part 1, click here)
It was freeing to be around people who didn't care if you went to church, much less if you went to Sunday school. It was freeing to be around people who thought it wasn't really necessary to be in a Bible study. I had the freedom to search out where God wanted me and pursue it wholeheartedly without any influence from others. Throughout my sophomore and junior year, I fell in love with following Christ in the “real world”. I figured out how to stand on my own and how to live in the Kingdom of God while living a busy life. I met Christian friends who encouraged me and loved me unconditionally. By the time my Junior year was complete, I was asked to step into more of a leadership role in the campus Christian organization I was a member of. I was ecstatic to be able to help others find the fulfilling life I had found in Christ. Only it wasn't that easy.
During my senior year, one of the staff woman began to disciple me. During one of the first meetings, she said to me, “we observed you last year with your discipler to see your character to determine if I would take you and disciple you this year or not.” On one hand, flattering that I past the test. On the other hand, my mind quickly went into the gear that the staff was watching and judging to see if I was good enough. By then, I should have been mature enough to blow this comment off and continue in my pursuit of Christ. But I wasn't. Instead I wholeheartedly jumped into every thing they asked me to do. Looking back, I see that the motivation may have been half to grow closer to Christ and half to be seen as an outstanding Christian. It was pursuing that “outstanding Christian” title that eventually burned me out.
After a full year of being in a Bible study, leading a Bible study, going to the campus Bible study, discipling all the girls in my Bible study, memorizing scripture and getting tested over it and judged if I wasn't up to pare, and being discipled, oh and taking 21 hours of classes, I was done with this particular Christian organization. I was ready to run far far away from anyone who was associated with this organization. I was just ready to be and not ready to perform and be judged anymore.
So came my move to San Antonio to student teach. Once there, I threw off every form of structure in my spiritual life. I didn't plan when or where I had a quiet time. I had them whenever and wherever I chose. As for scripture memory, I threw that out the window b/c no matter how much I wanted to, I refused to make a plan and be held accountable for it and so it never happened. In my quest for spiritual freedom, I came across this book called Grace Walk. While I have since grown to disagree with some things in this book, it was what I needed at the time...to be reminded of God's grace. Soon, my whole relationship became about grace. I lived in and under grace in every aspect of life. My pendulum had been so far to the right and stuck in legalism during my senior year of college, that now it swung way to the left where there was no structure, no expectations, and no accountability because I lived under grace. While not healthy to live in that world forever, I think God allowed me to stay there as my heart and mind recovered from the severe legalism that I had found myself in the years before. ...to be continued next Tuesday