it’s like forgetting the words to your favorite song
you can’t believe it; you were always singing along.
it was so easy and the words so sweet.
you can’t remember; you try to feel the beat.

you spend half of your life trying to fall behind.
you’re using your headphones to drown out your mind.
it was so easy and the words so sweet.
you can’t remember; you try to move your feet.1

in six weeks, a dream that has been four years in the making will finally be realized. this story is almost over. i am almost a college graduate. the changes that have occurred during this time feel thorough and all-encompassing, while i remain inherently myself. i am the same, yet completely remaderenée2.

my Redeemer specializes in healing broken people. He finds beauty in unlikely places. with Him, bruised reeds aren’t broken, and flickering flames are not quenched3. and i was flickering.

i used to believe faith was something i had to manufacture to earn God’s favor4. i objectified my own body5, believing its power was irresistible6. i thought i was responsible for the sin of others7.

even as i was told Jesus wanted a personal relationship with me, i imagined my parents had special intimacy with God that i could never attain. i disavowed prosperity gospel, not realizing that my view of God should be subject to my knowledge and faith in Him rather than my circumstances.

i am not ashamed to renounce these beliefs. i easily assent to them with peers, colleagues, strangers. but surrounded by those who knew me before, i have seen a tendency within myself to disassociate with them in an attempt to protect myself from their criticism.

the truth is, i am different now. i wear tank tops when it’s hot out. i listen to rock music. i use strong language sometimes. occasionally, i drink alcoholic beverages with my husband. i am learning what it means to no longer try to earn God’s favor by what i do or how i look.

in the future, my life will probably look different still. i might get a tattoo. i might send my kids to public school. i might vote for a democrat. i’ll probably have a career. and i’m going to wear clothes that make me feel confident, comfortable and yes, sexy.

i say none of this in an attempt to be shocking or antagonistic. i am grateful for much of my upbringing. i cling wholeheartedly and only to Christ. but to pacify others, i have been hiding behind a veil of hypocrisy and i am done with that. i will be authentic.

Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.8" after tasting freedom, there is no way i can go back to the bondage of legalism. the Son has set me free, and i am free indeed9. and so grateful.