Most of my life I’ve been living with my Mum, except a few times where I had been thrown out because of my unacceptable behaviour before I was a Christian. Since becoming a Christian, I had kept it all relatively quiet, although everyone must have seen a change in me. I somewhat hid it probably due to the fear of being laughed at or alienated by existing friends. There was something about being in the church building that allowed me to speak about God and what he has done in my life, I felt like the people in church would understand me fully and encourage me in my faith.
This brings me on to the situation I have just went through. At the start of lockdown, I decided I would go and live with my Girlfriend, Abbie who is also a Christian. We quickly got into a good routine, we would pray every night before bed, have Premier Christian radio on throughout the day and do bible reading plans together. It was really something else to be able to share this stuff with someone on a daily basis, I had felt like for the few months I had been there I was able to be Christian Tommy rather that being a different person depending on who I was with.
Unfortunately nearing the end of the lockdown, my Girlfriend had to go back to England for 3 weeks due to a family bereavement, so I had decided then I would go back to my Mum’s for that period. Being back at my own house was a really big eye opener to the life I was living previously. My room seemed quite big before, probably because it’s where I spent most of my time but returning this time it felt like a tiny prison cell. I felt so trapped and limited to what I could do there. Because my family aren’t Christians, I found myself drifting away from that reinvented person I was in Glasgow, and gradually becoming that wee boy again. I didn’t speak about my faith anymore and I found it so difficult to pray and worship, not that it wouldn’t have been ok but I just felt like I had the handbrake on because I didn’t have that likeminded person there with me.
I do feel that in your early years of being a Christian you should surround yourself with other believers and place yourself in an environment where you’re going to draw close to God easily, I didn’t do this and I can now say it was a big mistake, although I didn’t know there was any other way at the time. I found when being back home when I saw my old friends I was swearing more and just slipping back into my old ways of speaking, I hated it but it felt so uncomfortable thinking of being Christian Tommy around them because they just didn’t know any different.
As I write this, Abbie has been back for a few days now and I have returned to be with her in Glasgow, I can honestly say the change in me since then is remarkable. Although she will say it’s just all down to her influence! I would say that because I feel free to be myself and have God at the centre of everything I do here I feel like I can be fearless. I remember I had a hamster and it would go in a little ball and run around; it would be able to go where it wanted but it always had the limitations of the ball stopping it from experiencing reality fully. That is how I felt being back home, being stuck in my little room feeling angry with the world. Well now it’s like the ball is gone! I don’t have that block anymore stopping me from being the best version of myself.
I would encourage everyone to have a look at the people you have around you, where you are living at the moment and the places you go on a regular basis. If you feel that you can’t fully be who God made you to be then I would consider changing things up a bit. Because God made our path to him easy but the enemy will put you in places where you feel restricted or put people in your life who limit your connection with God. So, I urge you to take an inventory of the people and places in your life and ask yourself if they are drawing you closer to God and if they aren’t then make that tough choice of an environmental change.
Putting it off and hoping it changes just doesn’t work.