Monday, March 13, 2006

What's Your Walk With God Like?

This weekend was great. I got to spend time with my family which is always a fun event. I’m always stuck being the ‘bartender’, because I do that on the side---so it’s always, “Deb! Make us a martini! Deb! Make us a bloody mary! Deb! Deb! Deb!” Thank God I’m not a mechanic, they’d be asking me to fix their cars.

Anyway, after getting my father completely ossified with gin martinis, we started talking about the new restaurant that opened up nearby. My girlfriend Madelene took me there the other night to celebrate the release of my book. The owner knows my father. He stated that ‘they went to school together’. No. Not ‘school’ per se, but the federal pen. Fine. Too much info for me? Maybe. It was nice that Madelene was going to treat me, but after the owner knowing who I was, everything seemed to be ‘whacked’ off the bill.

“Tony asked me sumptin’ de’utha day.” My father says.
“What?”
“He asked if you were one of dose’ Jesus freaks.”
He said, as his eyes were glistening from his second martini.
“A Jesus freak?” I asked, trying to remember if a huge crucifix was dangling around my neck.
“Yeah, he saw da’ fish on your truck.” He says, laughing.
“A fish?” And then I knew what he was talking about. It was the Ichthus which is shaped as a fish to symbolize Jesus.

Before Tony bought the restaurant, it was an Irish/German restaurant and pub. We used to have wild karaoke nights there and spent a lot of late nights there. We used to close the place out. The wait staff all knew us—and one in particular waitress knew that I was gay. She still works there. From what I gathered, Tony is confused with the concept that I’m a Christian, yet I’m a lesbian; which is understandable, because I get questioned a lot about this.

It amazes me that so many people have this assumption that you should be this perfect person if you’re going to worship God. They have this image of perfection in the mind when they hear someone’s of Christian faith. Some people of course, have other views. If we were all perfect, then we wouldn’t need God; we would simply go by our own understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

We’re all God’s children. God doesn’t want us coming to Him like wise men; He wants us to come to Him as ‘children’. He wants us to need Him---not go by our own understanding. The word ‘independent’ is also a negative word. If we are too independent on ourselves—we won’t need the help of God. Those who say they don’t need the help of God may not have enough faith. There lies a whole other situation or maybe a different faith in another religion. There are so many aspects of faith in God; I’m just describing what I feel is faith in Christianity.

It doesn’t bother me when people question my lifestyle and my faith in Jesus. In fact, I welcome all questions. I think it’s great when people are inquisitive. I’m happy to talk about it with them. The thing is, I’m not perfect and I don’t live a perfect life. I stumble a lot of the times. I sometimes lose my temper—and that in itself is sinning. Sometimes I’ll tell a white lie in order to make someone else feel better, or keep something in…which is all about ‘lying’. Again that’s a sin. What about impure thoughts? (raising hand) Yes. I have them all the time. We’re all human. The struggle remains in the concept of the carnal nature vs. the spiritual nature. They’re constantly fighting with one another. Can we try to be perfect? Sure. Are we going to succeed ‘being perfect’? Sadly not. We can’t. We’re human. God knew this, and that’s why He gave us His only son to die on the cross for us; to save us from the worldly sins.

I believe that all of our imperfections are means of spiritual training. The more we go through, the more we know and the more we can help others in their walk with God. Some people feel this tremendous amount of guilt in their lives because of something they did. Let it go, because God did. The reason for this feeling of guilt is to steer you away from God; to make you feel ‘too guilty’ to come to God. Who would want to do that? Satan. He will do anything to try and take you away from God. You will be tested over and over again if you have strong faith.

When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. ~James 1:3-4

I know for sure that my faith is going to be tested, especially after my book was just released. There are people in this world who want to take you down a notch or make you believe otherwise. My faith is way too strong—but never say never. The devil is very clever in ways to get you apart from God. I just have to be ready to fight for Him.

Everyone has a calling---and what better way to spread the word? A person who has an imperfect life---me! I believe I was called to speak about God. When people listen to those who claim they are perfect and live a righteous life, you begin to hear people snore. Once there’s a conflict of interest, or a life that is led ‘imperfect’ and with flaws, then people turn around. “Well how can she be a Christian? Isn’t she living in sin?” My question to them is…Aren’t we all living in sin? Whenever we can relate to someone, I think that's when we start listening more.

I assure you of this: If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I, the Son of Man, will openly acknowledge that person in the presence of God’s angels. ~Luke 12:8

If you have faith---speak up. Tell everyone about your faith. Never be ashamed of God and what He has done for you. I'm not talking all 'in your face attitude'---just don't shy away from it if it comes up. Some people who have faith in God are sometimes ashamed to speak about Jesus or feel weird about telling others of how they pray everyday, and how they have a personal relationship with God. Why is this so shameful? Does it make us appear weaker? Does it make us look like less of a person? If anything, I see it as a strong characteristic of a person.

Growing up in an Italian/Catholic household, I was always taught about God, but not in the ways of having a personal relationship with Jesus. I went to Catholic school, received communion, made my confirmation etc. I did the steps of every Catholic. When I turned 23 years old, something different happened to me. I began praying more often and developing a richer relationship with God. I started attending a born again church and every Sunday, Madelene and I would attend service. The messages I got from these services were incredible. The people I met in fellowship were amazing. There was such positive energy in that congregation that I never wanted to leave. We would get there around 9:30 am and leave at 1pm and have lunch.

I also believe that you don’t need to go to church every Sunday like clockwork in order to have a personal relationship with God. That’s something you want to do from your heart. I found it to be helpful being around people who were also believers. I did encounter a few people who had a few words to say to me regarding my lifestyle. “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.” Meanwhile, back at their cozy ranch, adultery was taking place or some other sin was lurking in their own lives. Judge not. Let God be the only judge. People are so quick to point out every flaw in you. You can’t believe how many people will gossip about one another within the same church. It’s incredible. If you just stay out of that loop—you’ll be fine. Just go there to greet God and receive His message. That’s what I do. I don’t associate myself with the hens of the ministry who are quick to judge; I just rely on treating everyone the way I would want to be treated.

Believe me, I don’t walk around the streets passing out flyers about being a Christian. I’m not ‘in your face’ about my walk with God; I just state my beliefs. People can be so quick to judge you; so quick to say, ”Hey---that’s not what Christians do!” The most important thing God wants us to do is to love one another and treat others with respect. He wants us to forgive—just as He forgave us. He wants us to have an open heart and an open mind. Being too confident, too independent means that you’re relying on your own understanding and not trusting God.

If you’re confused about your faith, just ask Him. Pray to God, and tell Him why you’re confused.

If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. ~James 1:5



Get a copy of my book, "A Prayer Away From Healing". It’s a Christian-based inspirational book about my life and how God helped me through certain trials. It deals with break ups, forgiveness, relationships, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues and how to love others unconditionally. It shows that even though we will never be perfect; God’s love for us will always be. It focuses on not judging others; to let God be the only judge. To get an e-book or a hard cover, please visit this site, go to the online bookstore and type in, “A Prayer Away From Healing” to get your copy!