I Will Never Be the Same

I had a very interesting day today. I got to chit-chat with several different amazing people throughout the day who have had a similar journey to freedom as me. It is awe-inspiring to me how we all lead different lives, are on different paths, and then in eerily similar ways, God exposed the religious bondage in which we were held captive and set us free. The road to spiritual freedom can be a little difficult to navigate at times and I think God strategically puts people in our lives to encourage us along the way.

One of these beautiful people said something that struck a chord with me. Something that I have said myself. In fact, I may have even written it out in some fashion, because I believe it, or I thought I did. They said, “I haven’t changed [since I left the church], I am still the same person I was before.”

I pondered on that statement this evening and it’s true, kind of. I am the same person I was before I left the UPCI in many ways. I am still sarcastic and laugh during inappropriate situations. I still have a serious problem with rolling my eyes out loud, and you can forget about me being able to hide my thoughts behind straight facial expressions. I am still an empath and a fixer, those parts of me didn’t change. I have always been one to root for the underdog and refuse to blend into a crowd. I am still not a cat person and absolutely loathe mornings. Yes, in many ways I am still the same person, but in many ways I am completely different.

I have awoken from my state of oblivious naivety. I have discovered how true friendships operate and my eyes have been opened to how convenient relationships can be mistaken for friendships. I have unfortunately been made aware of just how far people will go to obtain and maintain money and power. Once you see these things, you can never unsee them.

My outward appearance has changed quite a bit, so in that way specifically, I am not the same. I would say I have upgraded. I now have the freedom to present my unique self to others in a way I am comfortable with. But deeper and more meaningful than clothing and hairstyles I can say I have positively changed in some unexpected ways.

I find I tend to choose love over judgment more often. I have learned to recognize the still, small voice of God in my life. I have discovered my identity does not lie within a religious organization, but with Christ. I have become more sure of myself and confident about my status with God. I have found to sometimes in order to win an argument I have to just walk away. (That was a difficult lesson.) I have learned to apologize less for the things I cannot control and take more responsibility for the things I can. I am seeking to be better, stronger, kinder, and more Christlike every day. In these ways, I have changed.

While it sounds good to be able to say, I haven’t changed, I am still the same person I was before, I simply cannot truthfully make that statement. Truth is, I have changed. There is no way I could go back to the way I was before. I have seen too much. Experienced too much. I will never be the same again, and honestly I prefer the new me. I walk with my head held a little higher, smile a little brighter, and treat people a little nicer.

Sometimes change is good.

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