She struggled growing up as her life was an emotional roller coaster from the very beginning. She lived, as is still striving.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
— 1 Corinthians 13
How It All Began?
I grew up reciting this verse as a mantra. My parents brought me up in an environment where love is a necessity and something that is offered to me in my everyday life. My parents loved me and my siblings beyond anything, even beyond their love for themselves. We’ve seen bad days where we had to watch our father go to night shifts and work again in the morning, but he never kept us hungry. For that, I would be forever thankful.
I was also brought up closely bonded with my spiritual community; in church. My friends used to call me the Church Girl because everybody knew I would be in the church during the weekends. Cleaning, worship ministry, Sunday School, Youth; there was not one that I missed. What began as a service to god made me a person who was so devoted to God that I hated missing any service and programs in the church. But of course, a Christian knows that when you connect yourself to God, that’s when temptations start. Mine began from my feelings; the only place everybody knew I was weak at. And to top the horror, it came from the place I kept running to; the church.
I fell in love with a boy and he took everything away from me. It was my mistake to think that he would understand and be as devoted as me, considering that we grew up in that church together. He brought me away from God, as I started to give my attention to him, more than to God and as a result, my spiritual growth suffered. My prayer decreased as most of my time was spent in texting and phone calls, my concentration during sermons deteriorated as I began prioritizing where he sat and how he moved. So many changes and I felt it right down to the deepest part of my soul. I felt my life becoming dark as I could no longer see Jesus.
How could a relationship rip you out your faith?
1. Your time spent with God decreases
As mentioned earlier, my time in the mornings, those that I’ve separated for my daily devotion, became the time I spent on good morning calls. Besides that, the late-night calls also made it harder for me to wake up in the morning, forcing me out of bed at noon, rushing through the schedule. My time became unorganized. But of course, I realized none of this during the love phase. Everything seemed heavenly even waking up way past noon. First, the prayer time reduced, as I still prayed during the early stages but never to my content. They were always rushed like saying, “Good morning Jesus, I’m running a little late. Please protect me today. I'll come home and talk to you. Amen”. Then, one day, it just stopped completely. The dissatisfaction I had for spending so little time for my prayer made me guilty that I gave up praying entirely. My time spent on meditating on the law also decreased though it didn’t stop completely, something that I am ashamed of saying. I remember the days when I used to spend hours just swaying on the swing by the window and just getting lost in the Word of the Lord, the times I cried reading a specific verse, the countless times that word spoke to my soul. That precious time was just stolen, or should I say, I lost it?
2. You put your partner before God
At a time (still shameful), the downfall in my devotion and spiritual life did not impact me as much as not calling him for a day. It was my first love and I was a little too obsessed, as was he. He became the center of my universe, a placed that belonged only to God before. The early phases were me coming home tired and deciding to read the Bible or pray since the morning was rushed. As time passed on, that too vanished into thin air as I came home and looked for a way to talk to him instead. I was taught by my parents to always pray and wait for God’s will before deciding to dive into any serious decisions. In that way, we are allowing God’s control and grace in our lives as we put him first. Quoting King David, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved”. I always found victory when I prioritize God in my ways. That shifted to the opposite as I began asking for his opinions and help. Not only was I neglecting God, but I also began to depend on his help and support instead of the Maker’s. Did I see failure in my attempts? Not all of it, but the majority, yes.
3. Your goals and visions in Christ changes
By the number of explanations and hopefully not bragging, of my spiritual movement, I believe you would have known my life in Christ before the relationship happened. I was so consumed by the love of Christ that I made him my primary goal in life. My vision in Christ was to be a faithful minister before God when I grew up, and guess what ruined it? When love came into my life, I started putting my own dreams before God’s will. The early vision to do and allow only God’s will in my life changed as I began praying for my dreams to come true; dreams to always be with my love and have a family with no one else but him. Did I ask God is he’s the one for me? No. Did I consult my pastor about this? No. By the end of my early love phase, I was already forcing my dreams and wills into the life God had planned for me.
4. Your guilt increases
A person who has had a good relationship with Christ would know when their spirituality slows down. When my time spent for God decreased, I did not instantly feel it but rather a few months after. As I laid in my bed one day after a fight with him, I was crying and had never felt more alone. My mind started wandering to all the good days I had before and in no time, I started comparing what I lacked now that ripped me from the happiness I used to have. That night was the beginning of my guilt-full days. I recounted the quality time and days I used to spend in the presence of the Lord, ministering, and living a life where I had nothing to hide from God (not that you can hide as He is the Lord who sees). It was another level of content; a different joy that can only be felt in the presence of the Lord when you have a strong connection with him. Since that night, everything I did made me guilty. The extra hours spent on the phone, the amount of time I spent with that boy, and many other actions that made me feel more like a sinner for not being with God as to how I used to.
The End of This?
We lasted for about 3 years and by the end of it, I was a completely different Christian. I went to a condition where I began to constantly question God if he is still with me, or am I just dwelling here without a purpose. You could say I gave almost everything of mine to the man I loved, that when things failed, I had nothing else left except for confusion and guilt. My soul was ripped out of all the faith and love I had for Christ. I completely transformed from a person who prays to be given the anointing to move in the fire to the always-crying-sinner who begs the Lord to restore my soul. It was heart-breaking, it tore me from myself. That was when I decided, let this first love be the last one until God himself sends me one.
But again, this is completely fine if you are a person who can balance between love and God. I was too young and full of hormones and boiling blood that I took the wrong path and had to come out the hard way. This would go out to teenagers who are blossoming into adulthood, those with raging faith for Christ, here’s my advice. Do not engage or let your heart settle on things that do not come from God. I guess the devil would’ve seen the mighty plans God had in my life and attacked me right in my weakness. I was too weak to defend myself and acted way too much on my own. And that too, get help. Talk to your pastor, your parents, or your spiritual guide.
Things turned completely as I’m still recovering from the paths of sin and darkness. I am witnessing new, refreshing love as God is building me up once more for His glory. The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not be in want.
© 2020 Priscilla John
dashingscorpio from Chicago on August 07, 2020:
Luke 17: 21 "The Kingdom of God is within you."
You can't separate yourself from God.
All you can do is (choose) to ignore or acknowledge him.