I spent the majority of my twenties working hard during the week and playing harder on the weekends. None of my friends really went to church or talked about God so I didn't either. I had always believed in God but I didn't understand how to become a Christian until a few years ago.
Before God, my weekends consisted of going to happy hours, waking up hungover from drinking, sometimes sleeping until noon or later, and sometimes waking up next to a guy I wasn’t even dating. It was the classic go out, wake up, rinse and repeat, party lifestyle full of drunken nights and casual hook ups.
Now, my weekends consist of game nights or dinners with friends, waking up feeling refreshed as I read my Bible on my couch, beach adventures or hikes with my husband, the occasional weekend bible study or connect group, and going to church.
I remember a Friday night not too long ago where I was sitting in my apartment surrounded with ten other ladies discussing a bible study we were doing together. We were laughing, eating, and having genuine connection over God and what he was doing in our lives.
We all agreed that we never knew we could have so much fun talking about God on a Friday night yet there we were.
I never imagined I would be the kind of girl that hosts bible studies on a Friday night after all my Friday nights spent at the bar. I never imagined I would be the kind of girl to jump out of bed by 7 am on a Saturday morning so I could spend a quiet morning with God.
So how did I transition from a party girl to a girl who loves Jesus? How did I go from a girl who didn’t think sex before marriage or getting drunk was a big deal to a girl who teaches about purity and how to drink less?
To understand the 6 key steps I took to become a Christian, I need to tell you a little about my backstory growing up for context.
I grew up going to a Catholic church as a kid but I didn’t actually surrender my life to Jesus Christ until I was 29 years old.
Growing up, I learned all the stories from the Bible and would my prayers before dinner and before bed, but I never had a real relationship with God. God and church felt more like a religion, something I was supposed to do but I never had the desire to pursue.
I thought I was a Christian, but looking back, I was not a true follower of Christ. I believed in Jesus Christ but I had never made the decision to follow him. I had never made the decision to surrender my life to him and to accept him as my Lord and Savior.
Fast forward to my late twenties, I started to realize that something was off. I started to wonder what my purpose was at my job and I questioned what I was supposed to be doing with my life. Surely life had to be more than working in a job I wasn’t crazy about and drinking a lot on the weekends.
So I started going to church and had an awakening experience with God where he showed me I couldn't live in the party scene anymore. Here are the 6 key steps I took to become a Christian and the 6 main things that resulted in my transformation from party girl to a girl in love with Jesus.
These are the 6 biggest things that resulted in my transformation with God and becoming a Christian. Becoming a true follower of Christ may look different for you but these were the 6 things that were foundational in my journey to following Jesus.
Going to church may seem like a basic first step but for the longest time I went to church without giving my life to Christ.
I started going back to church in my late twenties when I realized something was missing and I figured God would be able to show me what my purpose in life was.
My friend had introduced me to a Christian, non-denominational church in Chicago and at first I felt bad going because “I was Catholic.”
I didn’t understand why everyone was singing so loud with their hands raised but I quickly realized that I loved it. This church was full of other young people my age and they had lots of small groups I could attend to meet people. They even had a café where you could get a coffee before the service!
And I could actually understand what the pastors were saying. I understood their sermons and they had a way of making me laugh. I was learning so much about God and it was refreshing to be in a church with other people my age where fun was encouraged.
But I didn’t surrender my life to God until a few years later. I was taking a step in the right direction by seeking God and going to church, but I was only letting God be a part of my life on Sunday mornings and I only went to church when I wasn’t hungover from the night before. I still had no real relationship with God the other days of the week and I was still living my life in the party scene.
So while going to church helped me find God, just going to church alone wasn't enough for me to follow Jesus.
After a few years of going to church, I realized I needed to do more to seek the plans God had for me. I had been going to church more consistently but I was still struggling. I kept getting my heart broken by guys that weren’t good for me and I was still struggling to control my drinking when I went out.
And I was getting more and more frustrated working in a job I wasn’t passionate about when I still had no clue what my purpose was.
I had a total God encounter when my only Christian friend at the time suggested we do an online bible study together. At this point, I still wasn’t reading my bible and had never done a bible study before but I figured I had nothing to lose.
So I established a morning routine where I woke up every day to read the Bible study. I was doing the Discerning the Voice of God Bible study by Priscilla Shirer and this is when I had my awakening with God. This is where I first started to have an actual relationship with God.
It was like God opened my eyes and showed me who he was and who I was in this study. I learned all about the Holy Spirit and how to have a relationship with God. I learned how to read the Bible and I learned how to hear God’s voice in my life, directing me to the plans he had for me.
The bible study taught me how and why I should read the Bible so I got in the routine of reading the Bible every day while I did the bible study. And for the first time, it was finally all making sense. The Bible wasn’t boring like I had always thought.
The more I read the Bible, the more I understood who God was and who I was. The Bible felt like a manual on how to live life, a manual with the best tips for life that I had been missing out on for so long.
The more I read, the more I understood that living for God meant following what he actually said in the Bible. I realized that we are supposed to obey God’s commands in the Bible out of love and respect for him and that there were consequences to sin and not following God's ways.
At this point, I had heard of people going all in for God and God showed me I had a choice to make. He showed me that I couldn’t expect his blessings on my life and truly follow him without obeying his commands. He also showed me that if I continued living in the party scene, that this would quickly destroy my life.
Reading the Bible on my own was essential to becoming a Christian. I had always heard people talk about the importance of obeying God’s word but I got to experience God speaking to me for the first time through reading the Bible.
And God made it pretty clear; I could either ignore what he said in the Bible and destroy my life, or I could do things his way and pursue the abundant life he wanted me to live.
So I made the decision to follow Jesus. I made the decision to surrender those areas of my life that were out of line with God’s will and I made a decision to obey God’s commands.
Surrendering my life to Jesus was a critical step to becoming a Christian. The Bible tells us that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
"If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved." - Romans 10:9-10
Another translation puts it this way:
"If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation."
I had always believed that he existed and I knew all the stories that we recite every Christmas and Easter, but I had never made the decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
When I gave my life to Jesus, I didn’t just tell him that I believed in him. I told him that I would follow him. I told God that I would obey his commands in the Bible. I told God that I would stop trying to do things my way and I would stop living a life in sin.
Surrendering your life to Jesus doesn’t have to take place in a church. You can surrender your life to Jesus right now, wherever you are reading this, if you believe and choose to follow Jesus in your heart.
You can’t just say you’ll follow Jesus and think that you have received salvation if you go back to living your old life.
He wants us to follow him and to establish strong roots in Christ, which means surrendering our entire life to Jesus, including the sin in our life.
God had showed me that getting drunk and having casual sex was not pleasing to him. He had already showed me the consequences of my behavior which was another reason I knew something needed to change.
God showed me that living in the party scene and getting drunk and having sex before marriage was holding me back from the life he had for me. This had been my world for so long but it was actually holding me back from the plans and blessings God wanted for me.
We live in a world where it seems like every young person is sleeping around and drinking on the weekends. There are even people at church who still live this kind of lifestyle.
But God makes it pretty clear in the Bible that getting drunk and sexual immorality are not how Christians are supposed to live.
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
And he makes it pretty clear that there are consequences to these sins when we disobey God.
"Like the nations the Lord is about to destroy before you, you will perish if you do not obey the Lord your God." - Deuteronomy 8:20
Letting go of these areas of my life were a process. I did not stop getting drunk or having sex before marriage overnight. Choosing to wait until marriage to have sex was the hardest decision I had to make in my journey of becoming a Christian.
These were the hardest areas of my life to overcome. But these were also the areas I experienced the most breakthrough.
To learn more about how I surrendered sex before marriage to God, check out my blog post, Why I Chose Not to Have Sex Before Marriage.
To hear more of my testimony with drinking, check out my blog post, Why Alcohol Could be Holding You Back from the Life God Has for You.
When I surrendered my life to Jesus, I had no real friends in San Diego and was healing from a broken heart. All the people I met around me wanted to go out to the bars and I knew I needed to find friends that wanted to do other things besides drinking and getting laid.
After months of praying for friends, God led me to a Christian church in San Diego. The worship music sounded like a Jesus concert and I was relieved that the pastors also had a way of making me laugh while learning about God.
I found myself going to women’s connect groups, women’s events at church and volunteering on the welcome team.
The relationships I formed when I first started going to church were essential to my growth with God. I met women who prayed for me and encouraged me as I learned how to leave the party scene behind. I met women who knew how to honor God while still having fun on the weekends. I met women who weren’t afraid to speak the truth and to offer Godly wisdom even if it was hard for me to hear.
Having Christian friends that also follow Jesus and God’s ways in the Bible is so important. And being planted in a local church provided the community and resources I needed to continue growing as a Christian.
After I surrendered my old life to God, I learned about the life I was supposed to live through reading the Bible and through a church filled with other believers of faith.
God showed me my unique purpose and calling through my church. The people on fire for God gave me the faith and courage I needed to step out to pursue the dreams God put on my heart.
Did I forget to mention that I met my husband at church?
Not only did I meet my husband while volunteering at church, but all the women who first prayed for me and encouraged me as a new Christian became my bridesmaids years later.
In summary, here are the steps that were pivotal to becoming a Christian and my transformation with God:
So there you have it. My story in a few thousand words of how I made the transition from party girl to Jesus girl. The steps I took to become a Christian and how God transformed my life in between.
I don’t know where you are at today but I do know that God is waiting for you to draw near to him. It doesn’t matter how far you are from God, just start somewhere. Start today. Make a decision to spend time with God and see what happens.
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