Someone Like Me

Steph sat in the conference with her head bowed and her heart pounding. The speaker, a pastor, had talked about how Jesus had changed the life of so many people. He gave example after example of person after person. People with anxiety, people with depression, people who were bullied for being different; all kinds of people. But not people like me, she thought.

Steph’s friend Gemma had invited her to go to this youth conference over winter break. Steph had thought it would be fun. She could hang out, shop, and get away from her life for a little while. She hadn’t planned on this. She wasn’t prepared to face the questions and deal with all the realness of it.

“You can have the same freedom that Sam and Alex and Jennifer have experienced.” The pastor continued. Steph’s heart continued to pound. She wanted that freedom. But what would people think about her? Especially someone like me. 

“Don’t worry about what others may think. This is a decision only you can make. Reach out and grab a friend if you need to. Come. Counselors are waiting to talk to you.”

Steph thought she might throw up. The harder her heart pounded, the more sick she became. She reached out and took Gemma’s hand.  When their eyes met, Gemma started crying and pulled Steph into a tight hug. “Can I come with you?” she whispered into her ear. Steph wasn’t able to speak so she just nodded. Hand in hand, they walked to the front to meet with a counselor. 

With every step, Steph was bombarded with misgivings. What am I doing? Maybe this isn’t a good idea. Jesus will never accept someone like me. I’ve made too many mistakes. Thoughts raced through her mind as they walked through the door to the counseling room. Gemma practically dragged Steph to the middle of the room where a woman was standing holding up a book. 

“Hey, are you available?” Gemma asked her.

“Absolutely! My name is Lynn. Who are we talking to?” Gemma indicted Steph and Lynn turned to face her. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Steph.” Lynn turned to the other girl. “And who are you?” The girl smiled. “I’m Gemma.” Lynn shook both girls hand. Alright, this is my first time doing this and I’m supposed to read this to you and we’ll go from there, okay?” As Lynn read the different options Steph wanted to race out of the room. What was she doing? Jesus was never going to accept someone like her. She really shouldn’t waste this woman’s time. However, when Lynn read the part about knowing Jesus but falling away from Him, Steph’s heart began to burn and tears started pooling in her eyes. “That one.”

“Oh Steph! God has sent me to you. I understand. Let me tell you a little bit about me.” Lynn explained what she’d experienced and how Jesus had changed her on the inside and on the outside. Steph’s heart leaped in hope. Here was someone like her! Lynn continued to encourage Steph with scripture after scripture and story after story. When they finally prayed together, Steph knew that this was the right decision. Just before they left, Lynn pulled her into a hug, then looked deeply into her eyes. “Steph, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not going to be easy, but you can do this. I’ll be praying for you.” 

Follow Up Verse

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

OPERATION: ACTIVATE 

Have you accepted Jesus as your savior but not lived like it? You can come back! Jesus loves you and promises that you can be made clean and pure and new. Pray, confess your sins, and ask for forgiveness. Make a commitment to really follow Jesus, get into the Word, and find a friend to help you stay accountable. 

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