I was saved at age 7, baptized at age 8, every school I attended was a Christian school, and I was a member of a church body (rare these days… but that’s a topic for another time). I attended Sunday school, small group, Bible study, church summer camps, went to a historically conservative public University where I signed up for the Christian orientation camp, made Christian friends and, the majority of the time, I stayed within the confinements of those circles. I could go on, but as you can gather, graduating college at age 22, I could not imagine what life consisted of outside of the ‘Christian’ bubble.
I had been given glimpses of this outside-of-the-bubble world here and there throughout college, but it truly was not until I began my life post-college, post-friends who knew my true heart, post feeling safe and known, when I realized how much of a barrier I had built up around myself. I was thrust headfirst into a life where my beliefs and lifestyle were challenged and certainly not the norm. I began a job surrounded by other 20-somethings from everywhere in the country. It took all of three weeks at my brand-new job for everyone in the office to know that I was a virgin waiting for marriage… here we go…
I became the resident “religious girl” and as much as I despise that title to this day, it did lend itself to conversations I otherwise do not think I could have started just on my own boldness. Not just conversations about saving myself for marriage, but conversations about Judaism, Israel, abortion, relying on Jesus when you have nothing else, prayer, Bible verses, Catholicism, the covenant of a Godly marriage, and how to find that heavenly comfort. All of this was brought on by those people who did not grow up the same way as I did.
Now on the contrary, I am obviously a huge sinner, as I have been my entire life, and it took all of one week to say yes to partying all night with these newfound coworkers of mine as if I did not have a witness at all. Thus, this began the tug-of-war in my head and heart on how to truly live a life for Jesus in a world desensitized to him. How do I possibly build a rapport with people by keeping my morals but by also not coming off as stuffy?
It has been six years since I heard the words “There’s a rumor going around that you’re a virgin.” Six years of navigating a life where I sometimes surrender to Christ and sometimes surrender to the world. I have taken a lot of punches to the face in these six years, but I have also learned and gained wisdom on how Jesus would have handled these situations. My decision-making skills get sharper and sharper with each new interaction set before me.
I see both sides of the coin now; one of the sinner who doesn’t necessarily have any guiding light to their life, and one of the sinner who only surrounds themselves with like-minded individuals in the sense of their faith, and doesn’t know how to cultivate a rapport with those who don’t have a relationship with their creator. And can I be honest? I find myself wanting to be around the sinner who doesn’t know Christ more times than not. Not because I long for their lifestyle, but because it kills me to see Christians with their bubble still intact. They don’t know how to speak to a non-believer, they don’t know how to even begin to relate.
Did Jesus not desire to be with the lowest of the low? The ones that were lost, hungry, deprived, and lonely? How can we as believers go about life and not even lend ourselves to make disciples among men?
Time and time again it is the morally disgusting, the socially reviled, the inexcusable and undeserving, who do not simply receive Christ’s mercy but to whom Christ most naturally gravitates. He is, by his enemies’ testimony, the ‘friend of sinners.’Dane C. Ortlund
I slip up a lot. I choose the wrong decision a lot. I must continue to have my compass rerouted. I sometimes feel empty because I have been pouring out, and I don’t allow anything else to fill me up. It is hard to balance, but it is necessary. Listen, I need and rely on my Christian community.
My closest and dearest friends are the first people I run to when I need guidance. However, we all have a good balance of knowing how to be in this world and not in our Christian bubble.
I do not for a second regret the life I have led thus far, my deeply Christian upbringing instilled who I am today. But I am so grateful my bubble popped. I was able to start living a life not of this world but start walking among lost creations and begin pointing toward Christ in any way possible.
Only as we drink down the kindness of the heart of Christ will we leave in our wake, everywhere we go, the aroma of heaven, and die one day having startled the world with glimpses of a divine kindness too great to be boxed in by what we deserve.Dane C. Ortlund
The fabric of Holly Webb includes living the Navy Brat life for 19 years in 9 different cities/states/countries, while mentally and emotionally being raised in Texas; being George H.W. & Barbara Bush’s choir grandchild (it’s a real thing), and the youngest and only girl in a family of 5. Prefers going to the movie theater alone, a plane ride to a brand new destination, and when the mountains are blue on a CL smoothie sitting by a Texas lake. The friendships garnered through the years from all over the world mean more than anything, as they constantly have given new perspective and wisdom, and have always strengthened a relationship with Christ. She also recently started cursing more.