Why 14 year old me wouldn't recognize 20 year old me

I started this blog when I was fourteen. Don't go looking for those posts, I've definitely hidden them. But if you were to read fourteen-year-old Heather's posts, you would find the words of a heavily convicted young Christian. (and I say "young Christian" to mean young in the faith.) She didn't listen to secular music, and had very definitive reasons why she didn't. She wasn't on Facebook, and she also had very definitive reasons for that. She didn't date, or believe that other teenagers should be dating. Of these three, she had the most reasons to defend this one.

She didn't have a lot of tolerance for "gray areas." She knew what she believed, and firmly stood to defend it. Those beliefs were heavily defined by what she didn't do, and what she knew she was supposed to do, and what other Christians were supposed to be doing. She was consistently being fed sermons about what revival was going to take, and she was intent on sharing that news. If she was honest with herself, she didn't know exactly how to apply that to her life. She had the intentions, and she felt the call, but she often directed that into preaching to the choir that she was surrounded by.

As she grew up, she was slowly given more responsibility, and more freedom. Fast forward to her freshman year of college, where she was much more out of her element than she cared to admit. Her growth as a person and a Christian became exponential during the next year and a half.

Now, here I am. Twenty, finishing my sophomore year of college. Last night, I went to a secular concert and greatly enjoyed myself. I recently made a Facebook page. I've also been in a relationship for the past six months, and that in itself has been a wonderful growing experience.

Fourteen year old me would probably be traumatized by these things. She would be disappointed, and wonder what happened to trigger all of these decisions.

She may not look long enough to notice that I'm also involved in a ministry here at school, leading small Bible studies with girls on campus. I also help out at church at home, mostly in the youth group.

Fourteen year old Heather would have been very confused about how there is fruit of spiritual maturity in my life, while I'm also doing things that she so avidly abstained from.

I think I can answer her hypothetical question: it's because of growth.

I'm glad that I was so careful about what I did and let into my life when I was young. I was growing, and I was very impressionable, and I wasn't very strong on my feet.

But once I started being forced to be more independent with my walk and self-disciplines, I found that these things didn't affect me the way they used to. I was still standing, still strong, still knew who I was and who God was. I wasn't swayed. It's because of learning how to keep growing and walking with the Lord, I can apply my faith to every other area in my life with gentleness that the Bible calls for, yet with strength and conviction that younger me strived for.

I'm all about reflecting on how I've grown and  what I've learned. It's how I know that God is faithful, not just to all, but to me. And the one revelation that sparked all of the growth in my life, which fourteen year old Heather knew very well, was that God's love is for all, but personally for me, too.

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