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Hi there, I’m Malisa and happy to have the chance to share my story with you all.
I was raised in a Christian home and got saved at a very young age. I know because I was afraid to go to hell and every Sunday night (or so it seemed), I would ask Jesus into my heart again to ensure that it “stuck.” Fast forward a few years and I began to work in the children’s classes as serving was the good thing to do.
My mom was a children’s pastor. I volunteered to work in the children’s classes nearly every service. Again, it was because that’s the thing you do if your parent is a pastor. You work. When I got to be old enough to start going to the high school group, I chose to stay working with the kids. I knew the kids liked and accepted me.
I was homeschooled and as such, my parents were incredibly involved in what I was exposed to. Before transitioning to the community college, I enrolled at our church’s Bible College. There again, I gave my heart to the Lord. But all along the way, I was learning what Christians acted like and looked like.
I can’t recall an occasion where someone asked me how I was doing and wanted to know the real answer.
Around age 18, I started working alongside the college-aged pastor as one of the college staff members. I was a little work horse and I thought what I did was invaluable. I know, because he frequently would say things that made me think that what I was doing was incredibly helpful. A pattern began to emerge.
I began to believe that what I did ensured I was worthwhile to the pastors and other leaders. This inaccurate viewpoint also began to be the way I believed God thought about me.
If I wasn’t working or making pastors/leaders look good, I wasn’t fulfilling my God-given talent or giftings. You see, I knew what in the church world, they call spiritual gifts, were. The gifts I had (according to a long survey) were organization and administration. I came to believe I didn’t actually have the spiritual gifts, I had the worker gifts.
A few more years went on where I believed these things: my worth was determined by what I did not who I was. Or even more important, my view of God was based on me performing for him. It had little to do with who I actually was. But this wasn’t true.
At a conference in 2007, the speaker said, “some of you have gotten church but you have missed Jesus.” I started to weep. I knew all about church. I knew how to look good, act good, serve good. But I knew virtually nothing about who Jesus was and how that shaped the way God saw me. The speaker invited us to get to know Jesus and that’s what I’ve begun to do.
I began to hear that God had chosen me from before the beginning of time. He was the one that called me. I was saved because of Jesus. What I did, wasn’t a determining factor of God’s love and care for me. I was seen in light of what Jesus had done.
This new thinking began to radically change my life. I know now that God does not see me as a worker bee for him. He sees me as his daughter and he is pleased with me.
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles – Galatians 1:15, 16 New Living Translation
I have experienced joy in being a follower of Christ. I didn’t know that joy before when I was working to gain the favor of God and man. The difference inside of me is one of rest and peace.
I know that no matter what I do, God loves me. That doesn’t mean I live carelessly. I want to do things for the Lord out of love for him, the same way I do things for my husband. I serve my husband as a way to show my love. But doing things for him doesn’t determine is love for me. I know that God doesn’t just love me for helping Him to look good, He doesn’t need my help. He wants me to love Him because I choose to.
I’m on a daily journey of discovering what living as a follower of Jesus looks like. Will you join me on this road? I assure you it’ll be bumpy and messy, but we’ll grow as we learn more about Jesus!
Find Malisa on Twitter at @malisaprice