One of the things that was so distracting and discouraging to me when God started to change my life was people’s reactions to me.
“I miss the old Annette”
“You know Annette doesn’t hang out anymore”
“I love the drunk Annette, she’s so fun!”
“Annette is a grandma now.”
“Don’t be a lame”
Their words pierced me, and I would rehearse them over and over in my head. They were honestly the loudest voices in the room. Their comments made me question whether or not I was making the right decision. I remember thinking, “Maybe I am too young to be taking Jesus seriously.” I remember feeling amazed and in awe of God in my quiet time because of all the things he began to reveal to me. Those were sweet times we had in the wooing stage of our relationship. However, as soon as someone said something negative to me, I would become frustrated with God and ask him questions like, “Why are you doing this now?” I would tell him, “I’m in college, I should be having the time of my life, I can worry about being saved when I’m older.” This constant battle of what my Pastor described as “living in one world, but existing in two” is what really sent me spiraling into depression and isolation my last couple years of college. I was so hurt and confused about why the people I considered friends weren’t supporting me. I couldn’t understand why they liked the broken me better than the healed and whole me. Why would they rather see me struggling, than thriving? So many questions and concerns, that I just said nothing. I would just lay in my bed for hours and hours. I had positive influences around me, and they were great. But I felt like nobody understood.
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. “1 Timothy 4:12 NLT
This went on for about a year and a half. The constant struggle back and forth. Forcing myself to drink and “be cool” finally became to heavy for me, and the stakes were getting higher. Every time I would go out, against what the Holy Spirit was telling me, the circumstance would get more dangerous and life threatening. I finally made a decision to “Let them talk.” and “Maybe they weren’t my real friends anyway.” If you are going through similar circumstances, keep pushing forward. I remember my Pastor telling me, “light exposes people.” She would say, “Some people don’t want you to change, because now their life is exposed. Now they have to make a decision.” She was so right. There are other reasons as well, but that one always stayed with me. I realized that their responses weren’t coming from a place of anger or resentment, but a place of fear and insecurity about their own life. The bible says in Matthew, that whatever words come from the mouth, flow from the heart. It’s true. The same people who mocked me where the same people who wanted me to pray with them and for them. The same people who didn’t understand me wanted me around to encourage them. The same light they shunned now attracted them. The light of Jesus.
Don’t be discouraged if the new work that God is doing in your life is turning some people away. The people who stood the transition and transitioned with me are the one’s I am close friends with to this day. Don’t hold on tightly to opposition. The bible says, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” Amos 3:3 It’s impossible. You’re not walking together if you decide to take different paths. Don’t become angry, just pray for them. Ask God to show himself to them as he did for you. Ask God to change their hearts and their lives. Ask God to help you guard your heart, so you don’t become bitter. Tell God how you feel and watch him work. There are always more people for you than are against you. I’ll end with a verse that calmed a lot of questions in my head and gave me a sense of freedom, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. Matthew 5:11-12
❤ Annette D.