Conviction in Da Club
Updated: Mar 4
This blog here might hit a few hearts kinda like the way you stub a toe. So if that's you, I apologize, I do not mean to make you stub your toe, but I'm going to be talking about my own instance in stubbing my toe. If you feel this applies to you, then maybe this may help you miss the corner of the counter, but if you are confused as to why I'm stubbing my toe on this one, then maybe ya just don't see the counter, and that's fine too. Or maybe your toe is numb since you've hit it too much, you're just kinda dealing with it.
I didn't really want to tell this story because it makes me vulnerable and I could possibly be judged, *gasp* oh no! Whatever shall we do! Then I realized it's the story I have to tell because it's the one that makes me the most uncomfortable. So, *ahem*, here we go.
This past weekend I went to an awesome, awesome event called Latin Dance Night with a good guy friend of mine. For four hours, we danced the night away. I got spun around by Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Colombian men and I felt like I should've won the Mirrorball Trophy (the trophy from Dancing With The Stars). If you're a lady and wanna feel like that, I suggest you go to a Latin Dance Night and let someone lead you in salsa, you will not be disappointed. They're really quite talented, they trick you into thinking you can actually dance... it's awesome. That night was a four-hour long training for the day I'm on DWTS and let me tell you: I. am. ready.
Towards the end of the night, there was this group of guys around my age. We got to mingling and they invited me out for round dos of dancing at a bachata club. By this time it was 11pm, way past my bedtime, and I was hesitant. (Because, let's be real, nothing truly good ever happens after midnight.) But feeling bold and in the salsa mood, I decided it seemed fun. I'm not stupid though, so I asked my guy friend to accompany me with these group of guys to the bachata club. A bunch of strangers asking me out... yeah I am not going alone and I am definitely going to bring my strong trustworthy guy friend with me.
But before I move on with this story, I'm going to have to let you in on my past. Here we go, letting you all in on the past. Some of you are my friends from high school and college, and some of you are my friends from church. I will be completely honest here in saying you both know two different Christina's. Praise The Lord for that, for it was all done through His work in me.
Starting in about eighth grade I started going to parties. These parties were not parties where we sat around with our bibles open talking about relationship with Jesus, no, these parties were dozens of people getting together, wearing short shorts that earned a dress code slip, talking about all the alcohol they supposedly "drank beforehand", and trying to go straight to a home-run. This, was normal. And for a lot of you, you may have had the same middle school experience.
From then on, it went to ninth grade, to tenth grade, to eleventh, and so on. The parties got bigger and teenagers more reckless, and you all know how this goes. I was exposed to this type of environment: seeing drugs, alcohol, and locked doors in people's basements, drunk friends driving home, putting holes in people's walls, and yaking down the parent's toilet... all a little too young. But, once again, I think many people do too. It's a fun Friday night for most. House parties become frat parties and frat parties become clubs and I never felt weird being in these places. It's what we did. It seemed to be what everyone does. I wasn't the one to necessarily engage in all this activity all the time but it was a good time making lasting memories in this environment.
If you enjoy these types of environments, I am not judging you, promise me. Some of my best high school memories come from these parties. But, now I stub my toe.
Back to the Present
As my guy friend and I make our way to the club, I am actually excited. It is near midnight, all my energy has come back and I am feeling the same way I used to. There's a certain feeling when you're getting ready with your girls for a party and you know it's going to be a good time. Driving my way over there, I had that same dopamine hit. Oooh we goin to da club ayyyyyy!!! We gon bachata our way through this night ayyyyy! Cute boys might be there okurrrrr.
I hadn't had this same feeling in a long time and it felt great to get it again. It brought me right back to my old stomping grounds. But let me remind you...it brought me back to my old stomping grounds. I'm just going to say something real quick: If there was an activity you used to partake in (that you've left because of conviction) and beforehand you had that dopamine hit, that certain feeling... when you get that certain feeling back, that same dopamine hit, I promise you it's going to lead you into that same convicted feeling.
Do not do the same things expecting different results.
You will end up feeling worse.
A New Life Looking at the Old
Settling into the club, the dopamine wore off. I knew exactly where I was: the same position I was in for years prior. Now, I'm not knocking a good night out, but what I'm trying to say is: you can't grow in the same place that hindered you. This goes for relationships, this goes for old friendships, this goes for bad habits.
If you find yourself back in the place in which you left, do not expect to grow there.
If you are trying to leave the 2am-driving-your-drunk-friend-over-to-a-guys-house-to-sleep-with-him, then don't go to the same place where you drove them from. If you are trying to grow in your faith, don't go to the place that your faith warns you about. If you are trying to break a bad habit or an addiction, don't surround yourself with the people who convinced you to start. If you go to these places in which you left, you will be dancing with the devil. Although possible to come through, it will be very hard to not slip into your old patterns.
This time at the club, I saw things with a whole different set of eyes. I wasn't roped into the false security of fun. For the first time in, well, ever, I felt conviction in da club. This new lifestyle I was devoted to living did not match those around me. For the first time,
I was standing in my new life surrounded by the life I left behind.
And, wow, was that a weird feeling. This time, I did not partake in the same activities I used to, but wow, did I feel worse for being there. I had guys grab at me and pull me in to dance, asking to kiss me. Many would feel flattered, but I truthfully forgot this is the way most guys try to "get those digits". How dare they ask to kiss me when they have not yet asked for my hand in courtship! I said, appalled, in my Christian British accent. I truthfully forgot the little idioms of the world. I forgot how I'm supposed to act, how I'm supposed to mingle, how I'm supposed to laugh off discomfort. I was paralyzed with trying to fit in, but really having no desire to. For one night, I was put into my old life, completely understanding the conviction it brings me.
Environments are Influential
I never prayed: "Jesus help me get outta da club. Help me get outta da frat house. Help me get outta da house party." I never saw going to these places as a problem I had. I actually enjoyed going to these places most of the time. When I started my walk with Jesus, I knew I had to leave the activities of this environment behind, but I never thought about actually leaving the environment behind. I often went out with friends in the beginning of my walk, but this time I decided to DD, or I decided to dress a bit more modestly, or I decided to help those who were wasted.
I never realized it was not only the activities that affected my growth, but the environment too.
They say you are influenced by the five people you spend your most time with, but I think that can also go into, you are influenced by the five places you spend most of your time at. You can go to a library and not study, but eventually, by seeing those studying around you and being bored to death, you'll be encouraged to do the same.
Conviction Signals Growth
Next time you find yourself in an old spot and you aren't feeling good about being there, reflect on it. What changed in my heart since the last time I was here? Why do I feel this way? A party environment which I used to feel comfortable in, now makes me feel not-so-good to be there. If we make an internal growth, it will affect us externally and, a lot of times, we may not be directly aware of it. My heart has changed so much that by being in old environments, I don't fit in and no matter what I do, I won't feel comfortable. Next time you go back to an old habit and now, all of a sudden, you cringe at it, it may be because your heart has changed. Have you ever had an ex who you thought you were so in love with? Then about a year later you see them again and you have no idea how you were ever with them? Yeah, that's probably because of growth. Next time you feel convicted about something, step away from it, pivot. But take time to Thank God for the growth He has been working in you for you to feel that conviction -- that feeling of "maaaaybe I shouldn't be doing this" or "maaaaybe I shouldn't be here." God gives conviction, not condemnation. And what a blessing it is to hear that little voice, which we might've use to silence, and act on it.
Being in the club made me stub my toe. In no means am I saying that I am perfect and I never sin, that I never stub my toe. Yeah, that is far from right. And I'm not judging anyone who doesn't feel their toe being stubbed at the club. I'm not even saying that the club is this horrible place no Christian should go. Personally for me, it brought conviction at this time in my life. Listening to that conviction, thanking God, and pivoting, has brought so much fruit out of the situation.