by Becca Christensen
We will call my four years of college ‘the wilderness years’ of my faith. I took an Israelite approach, forgot what the Lord had been doing in my life for the thirteen years of faith prior and spent four years serving myself. I was the definition of lukewarm. I was never fully in the world, but I wasn’t committed to or growing in my faith either. After losing a close childhood friend to suicide, I started to wake up. My life felt empty and I realized that all the success I had achieved academically, socially, financially, and in my career journey wasn’t fulfilling. The loss of my friend stole my feeling of being invincible and reminded me that life is fleeting. I wasn’t sure how much time I had. I had bought into the lie that I could always ‘return to my faith when I was ready’ but what if I didn’t have as much time as I thought?
As I neared the end of my senior year of college in the Midwest, I determined that what I needed to get my ‘fresh start’ was a clean break. Over Christmas break I applied to jobs in Tampa, seventeen hours from where I was attending school at the time. I spent spring break interviewing, and I eventually accepted a position, as well as setting up my future housing. By the time May rolled around I was ready! I packed the last week of school and left 12 hours after finishing my last final exam, with strict instructions for them to mail my degree straight to Florida. Three days later, I was starting a job in a Christian non-profit.
For an entire year I turned down every leadership and serving opportunity, and honestly admitted I needed to fill my cup up. I was attending Grace (again), I plugged into a small group, and invested in Christian friendships. I was honest about the journey that had brought me to this point and the wilderness I’d just been through. I was met with acceptance, love, and a whole lot of truth. I am grateful now that the Lord placed people in my life that weren’t afraid to push and challenge me.
It has been an incredible five years now of growing in knowledge and love of scripture and thriving in my relationship with my Savior. I have since made Tampa home and in recent weeks made Grace Family Church not just my church home but my employer! Once I got that cup full I couldn’t wait to plug in leading a small group, sharing with others the joy I’ve found from forfeiting ‘my way’ for His.
God is so good. When I look back now on the driest season of my walk I still see His hand of protection and His quiet, constant pursuit of me in every moment. What an amazing God we serve that even when we turn our backs on Him, He is constant. His grace has been sufficient for all of my weaknesses and every mistake. The ones that happened in that desert season and the ones I still make to this day.
I hope if you take anything away from my story it is this: we don’t have to ‘fix ourselves’ before we follow Christ. He’s ready and willing to take us at our worst. He can handle it. No sin is too great, no mistake too big, no desert season too long. This is my prayer for you:
‘And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’ – Ephesians 3:17-18
Becca Christensen works at Grace Family Church as a Ministry Assistant. She loves to travel, entertain, read, spend time with family, and root on the Indianapolis Colts. In addition to contributing to the Beautiful Blog, Becca leads a table at Beautiful Monday Nights. You can read more about Becca on her blog, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.