Why?

I like reason. I like to know everything behind an idea, everything behind a request, and everything behind a rule. Backstories are my specialties, and as a child, my favorite word was a simple question. Why?

The problem for me with the word why started in church. According to my teachers as a child, you aren’t supposed to ask God why. You aren’t supposed to ask why God made giraffes giraffes, or why he decided to make the sun be daytime. You aren’t supposed to ask him why he put you in your family, or why he didn’t send someone besides his only son to die. You aren’t supposed to ask why, even when a family member dies, or someone hurts you so badly you doubt you’ll ever be the same again.

I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to ask why.

And in fact, I still don’t.

As Christians, for some reason we seem to have been conditioned for easy believism. As Americans, we’re taught to take things exactly as they are. It’s all for a test, so as long as you can spout out whatever the teacher was teaching you, you have no reason to understand the why behind the fact.

But we aren’t supposed to just settle for what’s handed to us.

¬†The Bible says, “Prove all things, hold fast to which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) We are supposed to ask WHY. Why do we believe the Bible? Why do we believe in God? Why does our faith make us act differently than the world around us? WHY?

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Job. I know, I know, a lot of people find it really depressing, but I personally don’t. Why? Because here is one book in the Bible where we see a conversation between God and a man who is suffering. And what does Job do?

He asks why?

And God answers him. Now, God doesn’t answer him with an easy answer, or even with an answer that you and I would want. God answers him, and God asks Job to trust. Because God is the God who hung the moon in the sky and created the great depth of ocean, and all of the things in-between. And maybe when you ask why, that will be your answer. 

I also love the minor prophets for the same reason. Here are small books that are often overlooked by the church today. Books filled with truth, filled with conversations God has with men like you and me. And these prophets as God why. In some of the books, they argue with God, they run from God, and yet. 

God doesn’t strike them dead. He doesn’t turn his back on them. He isn’t enraged that his chosen men are asking him why. 

Instead, he answers them. 

We should ask why. The Christian religion should be full of why’s. We should search for the answers, question the answers, and search some more. We should never settle for a “because.” Unless we know it’s something that just is. Like gravity.

What are some why’s that you are wondering about right now?

~~Amie~~

Trusting the Wind

I’ve spent the last week looking through a lot of my blog posts from the past year. Which naturally led to me spending a lot of time thinking over the past year. And it’s been strange, because I’ve grown so much.

I found me, mostly because I wasn’t looking anymore.

In the past, I spent so much time dictating who I was. I would be this, I had to do this, I would become this, and if I didn’t fit what everyone expected or wanted from me, I wasn’t really being me, was I? Because me was the person who made everyone else happy.

This past year, I stopped telling myself who I was. I stopped telling myself that YOU ARE A WRITER. Or YOU ARE A GOOD CHRISTIAN GIRL. Or YOU ARE A MUSICIAN. Instead, I started asking and just learning.

Who did God make me to be? And how can I accept that?

Instead of denying my problems, I accepted them and tried to find solutions. Instead of denying my wants, I acknowledged them and then went about seeing if it was practical or okay to fulfill them. Instead of putting myself through purgatory, I looked after myself and let myself be.

I wrote this whole post two days ago, and it was around 900 words, but WordPress was sweet and decided not to save it, so I’m just going to write from my heart here, since my heart felt words for the intro were deleted.

I’m by no means perfect. This year didn’t bring about a perfect Amie who loves every last part of her messed up, crazy being. But it did bring about a girl who’s so proud. So proud of herself, because she put in the hard work. She spent time crying, she spent time trying, and guess what? It has payed off.

This year, I let myself be me. I let myself let people and things go. Not because they were “bad” for me, but because I can’t keep up with a million people, and that’s okay. I can’t be everything for everyone, and that’s okay. I’m not rejecting those people. God knows I didn’t mean to hurt them if I have, but I needed a moment to step back, to work on me.

Not in a selfish way. I hope they realize that, I hope they understand that in order for me to be a good friend, I had to step back and stop being an ever-present friend. In order to truly love them, I had to find a way to love myself.

And this year, in a weird and messed up way, when the world is a mess and full of injustice and pain and sorrow, I did.

Not because I’m awesome and spectacular, but because I realized something so simple, yet so profound. I realized that the Creator of this world, the Savior of all the amazing Christian people you hear about, knows me. Little, small, conceited, messed up, hurting Amie. He doesn’t just know me, he loves me with a love so powerful, so strong, so broad, I can’t comprehend it, but I know it.

Oh, goodness, do I know it.

I always knew God was love, but from a lot of the teaching I felt as if God just loved the universal church. Maybe he had a bit of personal love for those great and amazing pastors, like R.C. Sproul or Charles Spurgeon or some love for King David. God wouldn’t love me, a messed up kid who had so much hurt rolled into a suit of armor, right?

*laughs* I was wrong. In knowing God loves me, ME in the singular, it just . . . opened my world. No longer was religion a kind of Bible references and rules and “BE CAREFULS OR YOU’LL BE WICKED.” It was a relationship. It was about knowing God, and letting him know me, even though he already does.

I’ve not only let God know me this year. My mother, even though this has been a crazy hard year for her, has really pulled through. I’ve always felt protective of my mom, as if I have to shield her from the beast within me, from the person that could wound her sensitive soul. But this year, I’ve let her in, and instead of shying away from the hurt, the monster, like I thought she would, she hugged the monster.

My mom has probably seen some stuff with me that no mother would ever want their child to go through, but instead of saying, “I didn’t sign up for this, see you later!” She’s been there to hold my hand. She’s explored with me, intent on finding out more about me, so she can help me. So she can love me to the best of her ability.

My mom is my biggest supporter, and I love her to death.

This year, I learned to love life again. Sure, the news reports suck, but life is so rich. There is so much to see, so much left for me to do, if I just let myself dream. If I stop holding up the regulations and let myself fly, it’s surprising how much God puts into place.

That’s another thing I learned. Christianity isn’t about being a bird in a cage, it’s about being a bird who trusts the wind. God puts us on earth to fly, to make a difference, to worship Him, to experience his world, and to make him known while doing it. Which means we have to fly, while trusting the wind. We trust that the wind and our wings will keep us up.

This year has been full of so many lessons, and I’m so grateful. I’m grateful for all of the amazing people who have been helping me through it. I’m so grateful for the people on the sidelines who have been watching and cheering me on during this race.

This year has been on crazy ride, but I’m not sorry it happened. This year hasn’t been full of happy, peaceful days of self reflection. In fact, over half of this year have been days where I’m in bed, or so depressed that it’s hard to function. But guess what? Each depressive spell has gotten a little bit shorter. Each dark thought has gone away a little bit quicker. We’re on a journey, and it’s getting better. It’s been a year full of hardships and learning, but I’m not sorry it happened.

I’m eager to see what happens in this last month, and to see where 2021 leads.

~~Amie~~

What Do You Want To Fix? (Three Ways to Become a Better Person)

“What do you want to fix about yourself?”

“Um. Everything.”

When we look at ourselves, we see so many flaws. Too thin, too large, too many bones, too many stretch marks, too morbid, too happy, too giggly, too quiet, too flirty, too standoffish, too nerdy, too stupid, too opinionated, too indecisive . . . the list continues to build as you stare at yourself, trying to figure out what to fix.

If you struggle with an illness, mental or physical, the list seems longer. Too tired, too sad, too confused, in too much pain, too broken.

It’s overwhelming to choose just one thing to fix, to choose one thing to be thankful for because there are so many things that needs to change. How do we change ourselves and at the same time, be grateful for who we are?

Understand your Strengths

I’m sure most of us struggle with this. I don’t see myself as gifted, or unusual, or strong in any way. It’s hard for me to see any quality inside myself as a strength, especially when you realize that the thing you were probably rebuked about the most as a child can be your greatest strength.

I was a stubborn kid. Like, really really stubborn. When I was five, my mom and I would argue for half an hour over my outfit, and the argument usually ended with my mom backing down. (Since then, my mom has learned to let her daughters explore fashion and figure out who they are by themselves. She says you got to pick your battles, and outfits aren’t worth the battle.) If I decide to do something, I’m going to do it, come what may. But it goes the opposite way, too. If I decide I’m not doing something, I’m not doing it. (Which still at times can get me in trouble.)

We all have strengths that can be translated into annoying or troublesome facts about yourself. For instance, I’m also really distractible. Conversations aren’t my forte, because I’m going five million places in five minutes, and I’ve already found the answer to my question and moved on to a totally different topic by the time you’ve caught up with me. Some people would find this annoying, and at times it really is. I have to work twice as hard to learn from a teacher or to listen to podcasts or sermons. But it’s also a strength because I’m able to more in a day than most people, and I’m positive it helps me with my creative and random ideas.

Identify what you want to become.

We can identify bad habits and weaknesses all day long, tearing us down until we don’t want to do anything because we’re such terrible people. How can we become anyone or anything? But instead of identifying bad habits, we need to identify the person we want to become.

What do I mean by that? It’s easy to list reasons why we can’t become who we want to become, easy to say that we are us, and that’s it. But if we want to become more like Christ, if we want to become a healthy person, if we want to be an actor, a writer, a musician, a dancer, an author, fill in the blank, we need to identify that, and act on it. Once we know, “I want to be a mentally stable person.” Or “I want to be more like Christ,” we can figure out what to fix.

The steps to becoming something or someone is slow and steady work, but it’s not impossible.

Create a path, and don’t give up.

I love lists. Lists, lists, and more lists. I have notebooks full of lists, I have lists on my computer, I have lists beside my bed. When I journal, I journal in lists. Why do I love lists so much? Because for my brain, they don’t overwhelm me. I can take all my fears, all that I know and everything that’s floating around in my head, and spit it out in a list.

A list helps me take baby steps to success and quenches the overwhelming thoughts and anxiety that keep me from taking action. But the hardest thing is sticking to the list. Because it gets boring, and missing one day can’t hurt, can it? And then you miss two days and you get discouraged, wondering if you should continue working on this.

Don’t give up. Maybe you’ll end up taking a week off. Just start back where you started, and continue working towards your final goal. Lists are there to stay, and keep you on track, even if you fall behind schedule, or struggle to stay on track.

~~Amie~~

EDIT: The new WordPress design is not being very friendly for me at the moment, and so you’re blessed with an early post. ūüėā

Things Friends and Loved Ones with Mental Illness Want You to Know

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Whether your friend or loved one has depression, anxiety, or some other long-term mental illness, there is so much going on in their brain that they want to say to you, but find impossible to say. So many emotions are buried beneath the surface, so much they wish you could know. But when you’re in the middle of these emotions, it’s so hard to tell the people who love you about what’s going on your mind.

Being vulnerable hurts and takes time, especially when you’re confused, hurting, or numb to the world around you. So here are seven things that people who battle with mental illness and mental health would like you to know.

DISCLAIMER: Not everyone with a mental illness will relate with these. I am not a psychiatrist, or have any degree in psychology.

We really don’t know.

We have so many emotions or such a lack of emotion, so we aren’t lying when we say we don’t know. Our rational mind has no excuse or reason for what we’ve done or the way we feel. We wish we could give you a concrete answer, we wish we knew how you could help, how we could help ourselves. We’re afraid to explore our emotions or to poke our dead mind back to life. We’re afraid you won’t believe us or understand. So we just don’t know, and we don’t try to know.

We’re afraid.

So afraid. We’re afraid of ourselves, of failing, of giving in, of giving up, of failing you, of hurting others. We are afraid of waking up and we’re afraid of falling asleep. We’re afraid of letting people see what we’re really like. We’re afraid of how we’ll react to situations that normal people are fine with. We’re afraid that we’ll never get better, that medicine won’t help, that we’ll end up weighing you down. We’re afraid of everything that happens in our mind, and we don’t want it to translate over into our life. At the end of the day, we are afraid.

We’re trying.

You might not like our reactions or seeing us struggle, but think how painful it is to be the one struggling with it yourself. We hate it as much or more than you do and we’re trying so hard. Every day we’re waking up and trying. Some days, it’s more fruitful and we are able to function like you. Other days? Celebrate that we’re out of bed. Celebrate that we’re talking. Be thankful we’re smiling. Because God knows we’re trying.

We try, we take our medicine, if we have some. Or we just sit there, to be with you, when all we want is solitude, all we want is sleep, all we want is to pace around the room and try to quiet our mind as it frantically thinks. But instead, we’re with you. We’re trying, and we’ll keep trying.

We’re tired.

Not only is insomnia one of the most common symptoms of mental illness, fighting your mind and emotions, keeping everything bottled and neatly packed away takes so much energy. But we aren’t only sleep tired. We’re tired of feeling, of not sleeping, or if we’re hyposomniac, we’re tired of sleeping, we’re tired of living like this, tired of being needy, tired of trying to smile, tired of not being believed, tired of feeling guilty.

We’re tired of not being normal, we’re tired of trying to fix ourselves, we’re tired of eating, of feeling, of breathing. We’re tired of hearing our heart thunder in our ears, tired of our breath coming in heaves, tired of a mind that won’t give us relief.

We don’t remember.

When we say we don’t know or we don’t remember, we truly don’t know or can’t remember. It might be something as serious as forgetting what we did at a party, or as simple as not remembering the first half of the day. We don’t remember. And we hate the fact that a part of our life has been swallowed up and dissolved by our minds. We’re sorry that we don’t remember the awesome time we had, or we don’t remember when we first met, or that we don’t remember being hurt or being yelled at. We just don’t remember.

We’re sorry we don’t remember saying something, we’re sorry we don’t remember hurting you. We’re sorry that we can’t answer your questions at the moment, we can’t do our school work at the moment, and we’re sorry we missed another meeting. Someday, we’ll remember it all again.

It physically hurts.

Our head throbs with our heartbeat, our muscles are so tight you could strum them like a musical instrument. Our chest feels like it’s being crushed, our arms and legs weigh a hundred pounds. We’re nauseous way too often. Food is disgusting or we eat way too much. When we say we have a headache and skip dinner, we really have a headache. Every sound, every sense, the air even has a taste. It’s all intensified to such an extent that if we don’t hide, it’ll cause us to explode.

I’m okay.

How can we tell you that we’re dying inside? How can we explain emotions when we’re not even sure about? How do we know if this is what normal people feel like, or if it’s something wrong with us? So we’re okay. Because we choose to press it all down, to hide it for you. Because we don’t want to be that morbid person, we don’t want to weigh you down. We don’t want to hurt you or wear you out. So we’re okay. Because we love you. And we want to be okay.

~~Amie~~

People

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Thoughts have been swirling in me, and I’m just going to let them out. Will I delete half of this post? Probably. Will it matter? Definitely not.

People are important. How can I stress this enough? From my brainstorm partner that brightens my day with her smile, to my friend that pokes fun at me for not having a “guy” but still genuinely cares about me, to the one that I call to have a heart to heart for two hours.

And the people that have burned me. The ones that have caused my eyes to overflow, and stream pain down my cheeks. Those people, they’re important, too.

At one point in my life, I thought I was too broken to heal, too heartless to love, and too hurt to feel. So I pushed everyone away. Those who cared and those who spoke heartless platitudes alike.

Hating humans, blaming them for the pain I felt, and hurting people like they hurt me. Because that’s the only fair way to respond to the pain of life, right? The stronger you are, the heavier your hand, the drier your eyes, the better you are at handling pain.

But that isn’t true.

People help you through pain, they help the wounds heal, help your mind to dwell on things that matter.

This topic is so important to me, because my people are important to me. They make life so much more livable, each adding a different shade of sunshine. And when one tells me that they worry about me, it makes me want to cry. Because it means they care.

Underneath all of our sarcastic banter, underneath me avoiding them for a month, underneath our business, each of us have a heart that needs love. Sure, love stinks sometimes, but it’s so worth it. When you find someone who actually cares, when you finally see that even through the pain, love sets you free.

Let people in. Let people see the you that you’ve hidden underneath layers. Stop trying to be lovable, because when you stop holding up a picture perfect facade, you’ll finally feel free. No longer sweating underneath the layer, you can be you.

And people will love you.

At first it may seem as if no one cares about who you are. But after awhile, God will bring people in your life that care. That want you to live this life to your fullest potential while serving Him.

Please don’t let those who have hurt you, or the circumstances that have torn you ruin the rest of your life. Don’t let them ruin your memories either. There’s always a gem of a good memory, even in the bad.

So take that gem and shine the light on it. It’ll certainly sparkle back.

~~Amie~~

P.S. As my readers, what are some topics you would like to see me write about, talk about, discuss on this blog? I’d love some ideas. ūüôā

Freedom Or Liberty?

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The people on the streets cry, “Freedom, freedom!”

People in their homes wish for freedom, freedom.

The veterans look at their sons and say they fought for freedom, freedom.

But when they ask for freedom, they don’t know what they mean.

The French obtained freedom with their Revolution. And what was the end cost?

Freedom from government will bring nothing but anarchy, bloodshed, tears, and more repressive governments. Freedom is not what we need, freedom is not what we desire. Freedom was not what we were promised by our founding fathers.

We were promised in the Declaration of Independence the right to pursue “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Freedom is each man on his own, but liberty. Liberty is freedom of a government that creates tyrannical rules.

Liberty is what is threatened. When we are all free, free from rules, from responsibility, from consequences, no one is really free. We are enslaved to others, we are the slaves of those around us. We are slaves of ourselves.

For we always serve a master.

For some, that master is money, some serve themselves, some serve the government, some serve food, other serve Christ. And when you serve Christ with all that is in you, you are free, and you can truly understand liberty.

You can understand that absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is why anarchy leads to dictatorship. If each man is in control and able to make his own rules, does he have absolute power? Does it corrupt a man to be free, totally and absolutely free from all standards, rules, morals, and obligations?

Americans need to stop fighting for freedom. Instead, they need to take a moment and step back. They need to understand why our founding fathers appreciated liberty. Why men and women risked all to leave their countries to create a new one. Why we are sitting today in a “civilized” and “free” country.

Why would Patrick Henry stand and famously say, “Give me liberty, or give me death?”

Why do we now stand and say, “Give us freedom, or we’ll give you your death?”

Will we never understand that government is not the one that creates evil? Will we never understand that the evil was created way before governments, before civilization, back when Eve disobeyed and brought grief to mankind? Our hearts long for peace, and we’re promised peace with freedom.

But true peace only comes from righteous rules. Rules that protect us from harming other citizens. Rules that protect other citizens from harming us. Rules that are created by a government that is checked and balanced, unable to grow, unable to steal, unable to infringe upon our God given rights.

So will we fight for liberty?

Or will we continue to stand in the streets and cry for freedom?

In Joshua, Joshua tells the people that they must decide for themselves. They must decide whether they will serve the Lord, whether they will stand for the God who has protected them through the wilderness. But as for Joshua? Well, he has already decided.

You must decide what you want for yourself. What you want for your children. What you want for the future of our country.

But as for me?

I stand with Patrick Henry and say,

“Give me liberty or give me death. I will settle for nothing less.”

~~Amie~~

Leave You Alone

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Everyone needs someone beside them, shining like a lighthouse from the sea.

Lamplight shines through the window, filtering through the lace curtains and slicing the darkness. Emotions grip my chest, tightening and twisting, whispering thoughts and words, swirling and pushing, hating and demanding.

Here I am alone.

But then a text comes. Listen to Brother by Needtobreathe. 

Brother, let me be your shelter
Never leave you alone
I’ll be the one you call
When you’re low

The acoustics in my room are magical, the music in the darkness calm the tears that long to be released. Soothe the pain filled ache, and remind me that I am no longer alone.

There are so many brothers I have in my life. One’s giggle sounds like¬†tee-hee-hee, her eyes laugh along with her voice, she understands my wackiness and she is always there to annoy. Another one listens to me, tells me I am not nothing. She “tucks” me in, reminding me I’m no longer alone. She whispers truth and helps me look to find the root problem. Another is a genius, brainstorming with me, loving me, and she is unafraid of the darkness in my mind. Another laughs with me for a whole hour, reminding me of God’s new mercies, of His love and forgiveness, and helping me embrace my awkwardness.

I know that in my weakness I am stronger
It’s your love that brings me home.

Left alone in my mind, struggling through the clouds, looking for land. Where was the home that I left? Where am I? Who am I?

A gentle hand, holding mine and keeping me grounded, reminding me that home isn’t far away. My beliefs are a reality. I’m not all alone.

Humans to keep me believing in the world around me. Humans to remind me that the world isn’t just virtual. There is a real reality. There is a home. There is a world outside my mind, and all I have to do is call. They’ll take me home.

Brother, let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home.

The darkness is no longer full of thoughts and fears. Instead, my heart is soothed, my mind at rest. I’m not alone. My dog is at my feet, her head resting on my ankle. I know I’m not alone.

My sister walks into the room, and quietly turns on a book light, whispering that she loves me and telling me goodnight. I’m no longer alone.

Heart beat calms, peace washes over me, knowing that tomorrow when I awake, people will be beside me. They’ll tell me good morning, and ask me how I am. And they’re okay if I say I’m terrible. They’ll try to help, or they’ll just send me hugs.

I ain’t made for rivalry, I could never take the world on alone

I never was made for the drama, I don’t mind if you’re better, or prettier, or nicer. All I ask is that you won’t leave me alone. Let me need you, let me love you, let me care about your victories and your failures. Let me bring you coffee and tea, let me send you gifts for your birthdays.

Please let me love you.

And please, don’t leave me alone.

Brother let me be your shelter
(Brother, NEEDTOBREATHE)

Please, let me give back, let me know your dark places. Let me in to your heart. I know I can be cold and needy. I know I have problems, but let me be your shelter. I’ll love you until the sky falls and until the Lord comes again.

Just give me a chance.

I won’t leave you alone.

~~Amie~~

The Road Isn’t Easy

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(read last weeks post here.) 

The road isn’t easy, and my energy isn’t endless.

Two sad facts that pain me everyday. How do I remain on the path when my mind is so fogged, I can’t remember my own breakfast? How can I remain on the path when every time I sit down, I start drifting to sleep? How can I remain on the road, when all I feel is a heavy sense of defeat?

Does God still take worship from a tired mind? Does He still honor its plaintive cries?

Rocks crumble along the roadside, my step is slow, and my mind is weary. Somedays I can run along the path, keeping my thoughts straight, my mind on things above. But then it seems the fog rolls in, the numbness follows, and it takes all my will to keep from letting go and becoming hollow.

This week has been kinda tough on my mind. It’s reminded me that I’m not perfect, that the world is full of sin and sickness, and that I need to have patience with myself as well as with others. If I could have my way, I would be a super hero who could do everything all at once. But I’m just a girl, with a list of problems. Thank God He’s given me a list of grace to cover each of those problems. It’s just that I hate accepting grace and admitting I’m not perfect.

God calls us to do our best. (Colossians 3:23-24) Not to be perfect. Perfection is unachievable by the fallen human race. (Genesis 3:1-8, Romans 3:23-26) My best isn’t always what I want to do, but that’s where I can practice giving grace.

For me, it’s often times easier to give grace to others than to myself. My mind makes excuses for those around me, pulling at my sympathy and besides, how can I judge and know if they’re doing their best or not? But when it comes to myself, I’m truly my worse critic. In my mind, I can always do better, always be better, and if I fall from my schedule, or from my exercise routine, or if it takes me longer to draft a blog post than I think is acceptable, I’ll beat myself down with a mental metal rod.

I would feel horrible if any other human did this to themselves. But I believe I deserve it. I deserve to be beaten up by myself and others.

Which isn’t true.

And that’s why, this week, I spent a lot of time doing what I would consider “nothing.” I would wake at six, and instead of getting up like usually and working right away, I just let myself lie there and admire the sky. I let myself rest, because for once, I knew that I needed rest.

It isn’t shameful to be unable to do as much as someone else. The sooner you acknowledge you aren’t a superhero, the sooner you’ll be free to be the best hero you can be.

So take a breath.

It’s okay if you haven’t had a clear mind to pray, or if you needed to take a nap today. Keep heart, and remember. Someday we’ll be in a place where there’s no more tears, sickness, or brain fog. ‚̧

~~Amie~~

Which Road Will You Take?

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Is Christianity worth it any more?

I was the child who loved God. I loved being in His Word, new verses excited me, catechism class was my favorite part of the week. I loved to listen to hymns, to learn new ones, to be with other people who shared my faith. I grew up around extremely conservative Christians. People who wore long skirts, kept their hair long, hardly ever wore makeup.

As I aged, I was constantly critiqued by these people. I would never stand up to their standard. Or at least, the standard I placed on myself. I would accidentally say shocking things, things that didn’t fit in with their lifestyle. I was wicked to them, and I must reform myself in their ways or be alone.

And I hated being alone.

But they didn’t care about me. As I got older, things happened in my life, but they never asked how I was doing. They would just critique other people who were “wickeder” then us. People didn’t mind if I came to church and hid in a corner, as long as I just came to church. People didn’t care if I stopped enjoying Scripture, as long as I knew the key passages and could flip through a Bible.

So I began to hate Christianity, because no one cared about my heart. No one cared if I didn’t believe God could really love me. I mean, all they talked about was God’s wrath anyway. Yes, I’m going to hell, why not go to hell in a hand basket?

I started wearing pants. Because who would stop me? I cut my hair. To prove that good girls can have short hair. I dyed my hair. To prove to my dad that hair dying wasn’t against the Bible. I wore makeup. To prove to myself that I could be the same person inside with a modified face. I changed myself. Because I wanted to prove to people that I could still know everything that was important to them in my head, but I didn’t care enough to follow their stupid rules any longer.

I no longer wanted to read God’s Word. I was angry at Him. Angry at the world. Angry at the people who served Him.

They said they did all this in Christ’s name, and yet they left me again. No one asks how I’m doing. No one cares enough to drag the tears out of me. They were thoughtful enough to appease their own consciousness, sending me letter that said they cared. But they never followed up.

So I turned to the world. Dear Evan Hansen kept me alive. If I just hung on, I would be found. There’s a reason to be alive, someday I would have a future. Someday someone would care.

I drifted through songs, and one day, I ended up listening to “The Devil Came Down To Georgia” on repeat for a whole day. So much, that the Devil came down to Georgia, and entered my dream.

Walking down a golden brick road, holding my violin in one hand and my dreams in the other, I stood at a crossroads. One went up a mountain, narrow, steep and rocky. The other road was flat, it went towards the beach, where the waves whispered happily, and people swam. 

And there I stood, clutching my violin and my dreams, looking down two different roads. My mind told me to go to the mountains, but my heart longed for the sea. 

“Hard choice, isn’t it?” A voice asked from behind me, and I turned to see the devil himself, the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. Tall, ripped, with hair the color of midnight, he smiled a toothpaste commercial smile in my direction. “Don’t worry, you’ve already picked.” He pulled out a golden violin and began to play, dancing in circles around me,¬†pulling me towards the beach. “You decided long ago, dear. It’s just taken you this long to notice.¬†The music that swells from your soul is mine. The tears that flow from your heart, the words that you write, the thoughts you think are all mine.”¬†

I struggled and strained because in my heart I knew he was right. I had strayed, I had been doing things for him instead of for the One I loved. He was strong, he held me without touching my skin, held me with his ruby eyes and his bewitching smile. I was unable to break his charm.

“Let her go, Lucifer, she’s not your prey.” The voice, like a¬†cymbal, stopped the violin’s play. On the other road stood a¬†large man, close to seven feet tall, dressed in white clothes that looked strangely¬†like Star Wars¬†apparel. “She’s been bought, paid for, and redeemed. She belongs to the King.”

If the white hand hadn’t caught my arm, I would have fallen. The Devil’s shrieks filled the air as the man pulled me back to my feet. “You’re safe, but the choice is still¬†yours. Follow the faith of your fathers, or fall.”

“Please, I want to go with you. I swear, I don’t want to go with him, I don’t want the golden violin or all the fame. Please, let me come with you.”

And with a slight smile, the man turned. “Then follow me.”

I woke in a cold sweat, swearing that I would never listen to that kind of music again. Dreams are weird things, aren’t they? But this one started a small flame that has been growing inside of me.

Most of my friends before never cared about Scripture. They didn’t care what I thought about theology. They didn’t care to talk about Jesus, they weren’t interested in anything but stupid, stupid Christian platitudes, or following a list of what’s wicked and what’s not. But I’m not interested in that.

I want to love God. I don’t want to be a people pleaser, I want to be a Jesus pleaser. I want to be on fire for Him. I’ll gladly trade the golden violin and the fame to know I’m following him. I would gladly give the world for a relationship with my King. Because I am His.

Fame will never fulfill me, a golden violin would never explain me. Christianity is worth it to me. Not the kind where you claim Christ but never search Him, never care to face the lions of the world. Never care to stand like Joseph and place your full trust in Him. But the kind where you stand like Daniel, where you preach like Peter, where you trust like George M√ľller, where you are in essence . . . a Jesus freak.

Because I’d rather be a Jesus freak than one of the crowd. Maybe the cost is great, but in the end, the gain is beyond comparison.

Which road will you take?

~~Amie~~