Becoming Different in Shincheonji

“You’ve Changed”

If someone said this to you, what would you think? Would you take it as a positive comment or a negative one? 
It would depend on the situation and the person’s intention. 
For me, these words hurt me deep down, a wound that seemed to grow in pain with each day. 

With narrowed eyes and a hard edge to his voice, my boyfriend told me, “you’ve changed.” 
With a surprised, shocked voice, my friend told me, “you’ve changed!” 
With a disapproving tone of parental disappointment, my mother told me, “you’ve changed.” 

In each of these cases, the ones I loved the most told me that I changed. They didn’t mean it in a nice way. 
They said I changed for the worst. 

That I was no longer a loving, attentive girlfriend who cared for her partner. 
That I was no longer the fun, outgoing friend that was always free to hang out with them. 
That I was no longer the daughter who would say yes to everything my parents said. 

Did I Really Change?

Why? Did I really change?

Yes, I had changed. They said this because I had been going through major changes in my life, my priorities, my schedule, and my thoughts. Even in the way that I carried myself and talked to others, I was changing. They thought it was for the worst, but to be honest, I knew that I was changing for the better because I was changing myself according to the Word. 

When I started devoting more time to God  — to studying the Bible, to fellowship with sisters in my small group, to outreach and evangelism to spread the gospel, to quiet time of prayer and reflection to build my relationship with God — this came at the cost of my previous lifestyle and schedule. 

My Change in Priorities

Yes, I didn’t have as much time as before to spend with my boyfriend, friends, or parents. My schedule wasn’t as free as before, and I wasn’t as available for spontaneous get-togethers or requests. I would plan in advance to make time for my loved ones, and I had to be more diligent about my time management. I couldn’t afford to slack off or push things behind. Now that I was adding God as a high priority in my life, I had to make room for Him in my daily life. But isn’t this true of anything new and important that enters our lives? 

A new parent has to make sacrifices in their social life, hobbies, and personal time to take care of the child. 
I willingly chose to make sacrifices in my social life, hobbies, and personal time to take care of my spiritual well-being. 

Was this so wrong? According to the Bible, I was supposed to offer myself as a living sacrifice to God, and devote myself wholeheartedly to Him. 

I was happier, more fulfilled, and I was walking on the path to heaven and eternal life, with the hope of guiding my boyfriend, friends, and family to the Word too. Now, I was on a path that would lead everyone of us to true joy and an eternity of being together. Wasn’t this something greater than we could all hope for? 

A Happy Change

Today, I can tell myself “you’ve changed”. 

I can answer for myself how I have been created and changed according to the Word we’ve been learning. 
I can see for myself how I am more patient, loving, forgiving, and yielding to others. 
I can hear how my thoughts are more aligned with the Word, and how His voice remains within my words to others. 

I agree. I have changed. I have changed from just an average person to a child of God and a citizen of Christ. 

I am proud of this change. I know I have a long way to go in fully changing myself.
But it is a journey I am excited to continue on, because I can see the beautiful conclusion at the end. 

It is my prayer that, as I change for the better, it will be a light to those around me and inspire them to be curious about the Word and community that have allowed me to make such strides.