Someone completely blew my mind recently.
And yes, my mind is easily blown. Often.
I moved into a new dwelling this year, and as I upgraded into an adult apartment, I figured it was also appropriate to upgrade to a new bed (keep in mind: any bed different than the ones I slept in while I stayed in residence is an upgrade). With the new bed, it was time for new bed coverings, too, which I was excited about because I could get any colour. So I got green. And blue. And red. Pretty much my bed looks like it’s for an 8 year old.
Anyway, a friend of mine asked me a very important question since then: “How often do you change the sheets on your bed?”
Of course, I answered with what I believed to be the normal amount of time: “When they start to noticeably stink.”
Now, the look I got from my friend informed me immediately that that was not the appropriate timeline of bed changing. Based on the ridiculously fast growth of bacteria - especially in your bed - a person should change the sheets on their bed once every three-ish weeks. Now, I have no source for that, but it sounds legit. I just always thought that you really only had to get your sheets, wash them once, and you’d be golden.
Now, as a quick side note, I just feel compelled to remind you that I don’t write for the sake of reminding you how to be a “proper” Christian (really, if you’re looking to a single college male who apparently doesn’t know proper sanitation, you’ve got other things to figure out). I just share the things I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made.
Many times I’ve had to take my colorful Christianity off of my bed, give it a quick wash, and then have the best sleep ever in some super fresh beliefs. It has been a little scary at times, but it has definitely been worth it.
With that out of the way, I think for a lot of my life I’ve lived as a Stinky-Bed-Sheet Christian. I figured the only change I had to do was going from an unbeliever to a believer; from an enemy of Jesus to a brother. Then I was golden until I got to heaven one day. All I had to do was make a decision, grab my handbook of proper living and proper beliefs, and go make photocopies to share with everybody else. Over the last couple of years, through mentorship, teaching, and divine revelation, I’ve found that to not necessarily be the case.
Once I really started to form a serious relationship with Jesus, I struggled every time another so-called “believer” would have a different opinion than me on an idea. For example, how I interpreted the graphic images in the Book of Revelation might be different than someone else, but because what I believed was perfect, the other person was obviously wrong. I had a mindset that what I believed was what I believed which was always true, set in stone, and completely inerrant.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are definite aspects to what I believe to be set in stone (i.e. Jesus was God. Jesus died. Jesus stopped being dead. I’m free. Cool beans). But there are many other points of my belief system that have changed and will inevitably change again. Some things that I believe to be true now may not fly with future Cole.
And that’s okay.
Why? Because that wouldn’t be a relationship otherwise. I define my beliefs as being rooted in a relationship with God, so what kind of relationship would it be if everything stayed the same all the time? Answer: A boring one (just in case you weren’t sure). I’m an individual who grows and changes. I learn things - like how often to change my bed sheets - which lead me to change my belief system and eventually my actions - like changing my bed sheets before I can see the imprint of my figure on them.
I was golden until I got to heaven one day. All I had to do was make a decision, grab my handbook of proper living and proper beliefs, and go make photocopies to share with everybody else.
Sometimes I believe something. Maybe I believe it for awhile. And it turns out to be wrong. But I find out that it’s wrong at a specific (and arguably, perfect) time in my life because God reveals it to me when I’m ready. Our relationship changes. And that change equals growth. And in that closer relationship with God, every other relationship in my life - with friends, peers, family - changes dramatically in the best ways possible. Christianity is a process, it’s not a destination.
Many times I’ve had to take my colourful Christianity off of my bed, give it a quick wash, and then have the best sleep ever in some super fresh beliefs. It has been a little scary at times, but it has definitely been worth it. With the proper guidance and support group, I just ask you to consider to do the same.
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