Someone recently stepped out of my past and said I was a hypocrite because the person I used to be was so bad. It hurt. It brought up a lot of feelings. Mostly shame. Something was whispering to me that they were right. "Look at what a waste you were. God can't love you". I am grateful that I have faith enough to know that it was Satan whispering these ideas into my ear, not the voice of truth.
I want to share my testimony with anyone who may read it. Not to try and prove my worth, now that I am a Christian, but because I want anyone who may struggle with some of the same feelings that I have to know that it's okay. God does love you. He loves you while you're still a sinner and wants you to come to him no matter what.
I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was young, but, as I heard it put by Joni Eareckson Tada, I had not given Jesus the "throne of my heart". I was saving it for myself. I was living in the world to please myself. It was like I had Jesus in my pocket and I could get him out if I needed him, but I would keep him in there so I could do what I wanted.
I can't really tell you about a certain moment that I finally decided to give myself wholly over to God. I just know I felt quite empty through the majority of my late teens and twenties. God was always there trying to lead me to the narrow path. I could feel the desire to let go. I think it took for me to understand that I wasn't the one with the power. If I kept relying on myself to choose good without asking for God's help I would fail every time. I had to make a decision to repent- not just say I was sorry, but turn away from my old ways and let the Lord lead me.
The thing that I struggle with the most is that obviously I was not being identified as a Christian back then through my actions. I was a walking contradiction. I am so sorry that those who saw me then, may have ill feelings about Christianity because of what I have done. I know God has forgiven me as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). It's hard to forgive myself. This is where I have to stop relying on myself and let God take over. He will replace the shame and guilt with love and light.
I didn't write this in hopes that people will look at how "good" I am now. If it weren't for the cross, I would still be doomed even if I had turned away from my old ways. I want everyone to know that I didn't do anything. Jesus did it. He paid the ultimate price and washed me clean. If you are reading this and you have some of these types of feelings, I encourage you to let them go. I promise you that God loves you and wants a relationship with you. No matter what has happened before. Just forget about all that stuff. I know you may be scared to let go of your life like that or think that you aren't strong enough to turn away from the world. Well, you don't have to be. Just let go and ask God to take it all from you. He will. He can't wait.