Hi! I’m Allison, a 20-year-old mid-western American gal. This year (2016/17) I’m studying at LSE in the General Course, but the University of Southern California is my home uni. London is cooler than LA (in both the literal and colloquial sense… I enjoy bad puns). Here are some thoughts and stories…
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
TLDR: Stubbornly, I conformed to worldly living. Through God’s faithfulness, I realize accepting Christ FULLY into my life was actually the best way to live.
Background: I grew up as a ‘good-kid’, smart, from a well-do-to suburb with no major life traumas. Through high-school I avoided any major troubles or getting caught up in bad habits, but I was
NOT truly living in a relationship with Christ. Despite growing up in the Church I didn’t understand the power or purpose of this. Then came uni…
The verse opens with, ‘Do not conform to the patterns of this world’… I’ve done my fair share of that. My first year of uni I chased after things like top grades (being pre-med this was of upmost priority). I balanced getting a 4.0 in my Honors science classes with partying and a bit of volunteering, so I thought I had found a good balance. Such rhythm left little time for serious devotion to my faith, so I continued to coast in my faith as I did through high school. I would occasionally attend church but do little to actually have a relationship and live in union with Jesus (little did I know how I was shorting myself). What changed?
I don’t have one hit-by-a-freight-truck-of-the-Holy-Spirit transformation type moment. Rather, God in His goodness and mercy, worked gradually through a variety of experiences, revealing Himself to me and allowing me to begin to understand how amazing what He did in sacrificing His Son for us was. These experiences started off small; for instance, I began reading my morning devotional religiously (pun intended). Once I started that, I realized that was unequivocally the best way to start my morning (checking the BBC got pushed back a time-slot). I also found my myself prioritizing attending my church, Reality LA, more and always feeling great after that. Despite these positive experiences, I didn't let Jesus totally into my life. Worldly standards, especially with regard to what is 'fun' still had a strong influence on my mind. I’ll share a story…
Going to Coachella this past year (Spring 2016) with five close friends, I had one of the most quintessentially LA college-student weekends. The weekend was filled with lights, music, dance, etc… amounting to the most cliché music festival experience. While it was oodles of fun, school the week after was not. The following weekend I went to my church. The service was great, as per usual, and when worship music came on in the latter half, I felt a sense of joy that the weekend before could not rival. Weird? I was amazed.
God wants us to live life to the FULL (John 10.10) and is our true source of joy. It took me a long time to understand this. Only through God opening my eyes, and countless attempts at trial-and-error on my part, have I realized this. I am now absolutely convinced.
Contrary to popular (mis)understanding, Christianity isn’t simply a religion of rules given by an aloof God. It’s nearly the opposite. Understanding God’s immeasurable love for us, and that He wants us to live with the fullest amount of joy possible, changes the way one wants to structure one’s life. I used to think that going to church would be good if I had the time, but now realize it is one of the most rewarding ways to spend time. Instead of living by your own terms – built upon ideas from society, peers and family – consider the idea that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing God. “How could one NOT want to live in the way this God says is best for His creation – humankind?” What is up with this God? Why does he even care? Should He? Does He?
God created humans to live in harmony with Him. When sin came into the picture with Adam and Eve, such an effortlessly perfect relationship between an all-good God and man was tainted. Only with the death of Jesus could man’s sin be forgiven in the eyes of God. And it is through accepting this that one finds salvation and freedom from sin, and the opportunity to spend eternity with God. Which is certainly worth some thought.
That weekend after Coachella wasn’t a conversion moment, but it was a clear reminder of the power of God and the joy waiting to be found in Him. It took me a long time to understand that God’s way actually is the best way to live. I’ve tried worldly life but it really doesn’t compare. This self-‘transformation’ reached its pinnacle this past summer when I worked at a Christian camp in rural Michigan, USA. For the first time, I gained a robust Christian community (I had somehow avoided this up until this point despite attending church regularly and a bible-study with semi-frequency). I saw God work first-hand through campers and other staff. I gained a better understanding of Jesus as shepherd, evangelist, Savior and Lord. I fostered friendships unlike any I had before, and I left with a vastly enriched confidence that Jesus Christ is the real Savior of the world.
Leaving that environment was a challenge, as was moving to a new country, making a whole new set of friends, and switching career paths. But all of this was made infinitely easier with my transformed understanding of what life in relation with God is.
Thx for reading. Sorry for the American spelling and casual diction. If you wanna chat/discuss/ask questions hmu
Questions? Ask them! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR find me on Facebook: Allison Mobley