I’ve never been much of a people person. I have always described myself as a loner girl, an introvert, socially awkward, the quiet type, the person that turns the complete opposite way when I see someone walking toward me to avoid any human interaction at all costs. I used those examples to describe myself for my whole life, that is, until I experienced the intentional discipleship and comradery that goes on here at Real Life Texas. The first time I walked through the doors at Real Life, I knew something was different.
People didn’t just greet me and move on to the next, they welcomed me. They stopped what they were doing and took the time to ask me questions about my life that they knew nothing about, and they actually cared. But it didn’t stop there. People would reach out to me at the most random times throughout the week and check on me, ask if I needed prayer, asked if I had found a small group to plug into, ask if I could meet for lunch.
At first, I thought it was the weirdest thing and I wondered who these crazy people were that kept pestering me. I would keep everyone at an arms distance and didn’t really want to reciprocate in the kindness being shown to me.
After a few months, I kept hearing this resounding gong message about discipleship. Weeks after weeks, message after message, Pastor Brandon preached about discipleship over and over again…I was so tired of it! I did not understand what the big deal was or why this church kept going over it time and time again. First off, I didn’t even know what that fancy word meant, so I had to google it and ask around. What I learned is that the definition of discipleship is walking alongside someone to help them follow Jesus, be changed by Jesus and be on Mission for Jesus. But, at the time, I didn’t feel like anyone was intentionally discipling me. My past hurts and struggles led me to believe that I must have slipped through the cracks, that no one cared about me, that I wasn’t good enough to be so called “discipled.” Little did I realize at the time… those people that were pestering me throughout the week, calling and texting me, checking on me, and never giving up on helping me feel welcomed was the relational atmosphere that I so desperately didn’t know that I craved.
Once I finally came to the end of myself, surrendered my heart to God, and truly accepted the love that these people were showing me, I saw things in a bright new shiny light. I allowed people into my heart and my life which led to conversations about being discipled. I asked an amazing, strong, kindhearted woman of God to disciple me and walk alongside me in my journey with Jesus and she graciously accepted. She has stood by my side for the last year, our arms linked together in a beautiful relationship where she speaks truth with love and grace, she gently guides and corrects, and prays fervently with me.
Her plan in discipling me in the beginning was clear focused, yet, very simple. It was to walk beside me in all that I was going through, praying with me and for me, and modeling how to live a Godly life. It was to help me move closer to Jesus and to become more like Him every day so that I would be able to one day disciple and love others, and she has loved me. So now I do not describe myself as a loner girl who avoids people. Through the intentional love and discipleship that she modeled for me, I describe myself as a Jesus loving, disciple maker who intentionally makes disciples.
Rather than walk through a lobby with my head down, I walk with eyes up, looking for that woman just like me. Everyday I do my best to follow Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and be that disciple he calls me to be. No more googling definitions, my life is now committed to His mission, and I understand what it means to live this mission more than just read about it.
By Bailee Gilmer, Pastoral Admin Assistant
Real Life Ministries Texas