I was born again from atheism. Because of that, I didn’t grow up “in the faith”, so I had to learn everything about Jesus and God and scripture from God’s Holy Spirit, as God intended. Strangely, that’s left me at odds with many if not most Christians, and has also left me questioning at times whether or not I should do this or that, wondering whether it’s sufficiently “Christian”.
The funny thing is that the one who gets on my case the most in pushing me to be myself is God. He hates cookie-cutter Christianity. He hates people thinking they have to dress a certain way or talk a certain way or act a certain way they’ve been told is “Christian”. He hates people smothering their personality and hiding what makes them unique in order to conform to a standard that he never set and never wanted for his children.
Jesus is an excellent example of someone who loves God and who persisted in being who he was during his ministry years, despite pushback from all sides. This is another reason why we should emulate Jesus. That doesn’t mean we should grow a beard and wear long robes and sandals just because Jesus did, but it does mean we should just be ourselves, regardless of other people’s opinions.
Case in point: I started wearing make-up when I was 13, and I still wear it, several decades later. The only time, for a time, that I stopped wearing make-up was for a while after I was reborn. I thought it wasn’t “Christian” to wear mascara and eyeliner and lipstick, because I thought I had to be “pure”. That’s fine; God let me think that for a while, but I never really felt like myself when I didn’t have my face on.
If you’re a woman who wears make-up, you know that people treat you differently when you wear make-up and when you don’t. When people respond to you more pleasantly, that makes you more pleasant in return, and I have found people to be more pleasant to me when I have a face on. That’s just my lived reality.
So I wear make-up when I go out in public. It’s part of my public presentation, and it’s who I am. I like how I look in make-up. Sometimes, if I’m in a hurry, I’ll consider skipping this step or that, but God will tell me to take the time, as it will be worth my while. Yes, God himself tells me to put on make-up and to put it on with my best effort each time.
And yet there’ll still be someone reading this who’s thinking: “Well, that’s not very Christian….”
God loves his children. He doesn’t want us to think we have to change who we are to live up to someone else’s idea of what it means to be a Christian. You’re not a Christian by the clothes you wear or the jewelry you hang off yourself. You’re not even a Christian by the words that come out of your mouth; you’re a Christian by what’s in your heart, which then, by extension, affects everything you do.
So you can be a Christian and still wear make-up. You can be a Christian and still wear nice clothes. You can be a Christian and still spend time with tax collectors and prostitutes and drunkards, not preaching to them, but showing them that they’re loved and that there’s a better Way forward than the path they’re on. You can be a Christian and still be you – in fact, God wants you to be you. He doesn’t want you to change who you are to conform to someone else’s expectations.
Yes, we always need to look to Jesus for our example of the right choices to make in life (that’s what it means to be his follower), but at the same time we need to remain loyal to ourselves. God doesn’t want me to change any part of my personality in being a follower of Jesus – I’ve always been loud and spirited and vivacious and insistent and by turns a social butterfly and a loner. I’ve always been somewhat larger than life and a non-conformist. I’ve always spoken up for what I believe in, and I’ve never been afraid to jump into whatever needs to be jumped into.
And yet, for a short time after I was reborn, I became quite restrained and low-key. I bought a “Jesus shirt” (demure loose-fitting white cotton blouse), which I wore religiously to church every day. That is to say, I would wear something else until I got to the church door, and then I would put on my Jesus shirt, the way that older Italian women put a veil over their heads when they enter a church. I thought I had to be that way and dress that way to conform to my new Christian life, seeing as how most Christians I knew at the time were restrained and low-key and wore modest, shapeless clothing.
Thank God that God sprung from that delusion! The notion that Christians have to be “meek and mild” wallflowers that all dress the same and pat each other on the hands while murmuring the same lame set phrases is propaganda from the dark side to keep us down. Yes, many Christians are meek and mild, but not because they’re Christian: they’re meek and mild because that’s their personality. I tried that on for size and it wasn’t a good fit. It didn’t work for me.
So now I’m just me. I’m just Charlotte. I’m STILL Charlotte. I’m a born-again believer first and foremost, but I’m a born-again believer with the same personality I had before I was born-again. I don’t have to change that and God doesn’t want me to change it.
My values changed at my rebirth; my personality didn’t.
So if you’re being pressured by someone to change your personality to be “more Christian”, tell them Charlotte says to kindly bugger off.
Just be you.
God himself made you that way.
Good to read from someone who without reservation has come to the Lord and is still willing to stay who He has made you to be… A vessel in which to work through! Many Blessings.
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Thank you I really needed to hear this, right now! To our Heavenly Father the glory forever.