MELISSA’S TESTIMONY OUT OF NEW AGE INTO BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY
Growing up, the ‘God’ that I was taught about was the ‘New Age’ view of God. We went to church when I was a kid, but not regularly. My Mom was very much a ‘free thinker’ and extremely unbiased when it came to others beliefs. Because of that, I learned to be very open-minded and tolerant of other people’s beliefs, no matter what they were. We were taught to find the ‘common ground’ in what we all believed. In a sense, it was a type of ‘salad bar’ belief system- just take what you want from each religion or belief, and go with it.
My great Grandparents were Christian Scientists, so my family embraced a lot of their teachings. We believed in the teachings of Jerry and Esther Hicks, Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Emmet Fox, Rhonda Byrne, James Redfield and many many more New Age/New Thought teachers.
Jesus was very much looked like as the other great teachers of history. He was ‘God in the flesh’ only in the sense that He became ‘awakened’ and tapped into His Godhood — something we all can do. In short — it’s the serpent’s lie. You can be your own ‘God’ in this type of New Age belief system.
Ironically, I never knew there was a word for these beliefs until after I left them. I never knew we had ‘New Age’ beliefs. It was always a ‘higher consciousness’ or ‘spiritually awakened’ instead of ‘New Age’. The trickiest part is that it’s an extremely loving, giving, harmonious, peaceful, attractive and blissful belief system. It was the perfect deception.
When I became a teenager, I became very depressed. I developed attention issues, and discovered that lying to people was a great way to get attention. I would lie about very personal things. It seemed that attention was a sort of addiction to me. Lying was how I fed it. I loved the approval of people. I never ever felt happy with myself, so I found value in what others thought about me. I had low self esteem. Low self concept. No self respect. No self love. I lived for temporary highs and very superficial things. I had a sense of self hate. I remember there was time when I would actually sit in my car and burn myself on my wrists with matches.
It was at this time that I could actually say I was basically a professed Agnostic/theist. I was undecided. I can say I believed in a higher power. The god of the New Age is impersonal. An ‘it’. I sometimes thought about God, but not a lot. I was too intellectual. God just didn’t make sense. There was too much science, free thought and philosophy. The ‘god’ of the New Age was absolutely not in-line with one truth. It was extremely frustrating to me that I had no proof for God, yet at the same time I wanted to believe in something.
It was when I was 16 years old that everything changed. I started dating my first love. It was an extremely emotional relationship, and I quickly became obsessed with his attention and affection. Long story short, he caught me in a huge lie, and broke up with me.
It catapulted me into a deep depression, and I became suicidal. I planned on killing myself on a Saturday. That Friday, my entire life changed. I happened to go to a party where an unlikely friend of mine had just gotten saved. He was very verbal about telling people about Jesus, and I heard the gospel for the first time in my life.
It was the love of God that convinced me. I believed in Christ as my Savior that night. The very next day, I experienced my first miracle — I woke up as a completely new person. I literally felt ‘reborn’! I never felt that depression or emptiness ever again. The person that I was the night before was not the person who woke up that morning. I wanted new things — my thoughts, feelings, words and even what I ate were all different!
I had developed an absolute hunger to know the Bible, and I had hundreds of questions. The problem was that I didn’t understand a lot of the Bible, so I never read it or studied it, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking people my questions. As a result, I never spiritually grew.
I went to church from time to time, but it was never enough to satisfy me. This is what I would call the ‘spiritual plateau’ part of my life. I didn’t completely trust the Bible, and that was my spiritual ‘Achilles heel’, so to speak. Because of this, I had customized my own spiritual beliefs. After I had my daughter, I had re-immersed myself in my New Age beliefs that I grew up with. I never really abandoned them because I never knew they were false! I was very happy with my beliefs, but I became curious about other religions and what the differences were between them. For the sake of one day educating my child, I decided I would learn the very basic beliefs of each religion. I had absolutely no intent on getting as deep in as I did.
After my decision to research, who was to knock on my door but two friendly neighborhood Jehovah’s Witnesses! I happily invited them back, and for a few weeks, they shared with me their beliefs. It wasn’t until we were a few weeks in that I realized something was very wrong, and I decided to do some research. I came across information that was shocking to me!
I never knew that Jehovah’s Witnesses believed the things they did! This caused me to do some serious reflection, not only on them, but on my own beliefs. I did hundreds of hours of research on their beliefs, and also on the Bible itself. It was one of the most shocking realizations to not only discover that the Bible was true, but if it was then my open beliefs were wrong!
It was at this time that not only did I re-dedicate myself to Christ, and became a fully devoted follower of Him, but I received a divine calling to reach out to Jehovah’s Witnesses and to teach other Christians about the need to reach out to them. (And Mormons too!)
My heart absolutely broke for them, and it still does. It’s difficult to express the shock that I felt when I realized that not all religions believe in the same God even though they call themselves ‘Christians’. This all happened in the Summer of 2011. I have been learning about Jehovah’s Witnesses and reaching out to them ever since. Recently, I have extended my outreach to Mormons as well. It’s been an incredible experience, and I look forward to see what God is going to do next.