Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You believe in God. Grew up going to church. Even have a personal relationship with Jesus. I mean, it's a little off and on, but it exists. Maybe you even go to Bible study now and then. But then your fun friends call. There's a party going on and you just have to be there.
You hesitate for a minute but with a little help from your friends, you ignore any concerns you had and live it up, down another drink, dance with the cute guy, and order pizza when you get home at 2 am. Any time you feel wrong about something, you think to yourself, it's no big deal, you're only young once…right?! But the next morning you wake up feeling a little bit guilty and further from God than you did yesterday afternoon.
It's a pretty sticky situation, isn't it? You enjoy the party scene but for some reason something nags at your heart and a little tinge of guilt hits you with your hangover the next morning.
I hear your heart. You don't want to be uptight but you also don't want to live a double life.
And the question becomes, “Can I be a Christian and party?”
Can Christian Girls Party?
You know, it's often assumed that girls who love Jesus are boring and simply don't have fun at all but maybe they're just celebrating something that brings so much more life than partying (and in a different way…no booze required).
Nevertheless, I don't think it's about labeling ourselves as a Party Girl or as a Christian girl and then just hanging out in whichever box our label belongs.
There's so much more to the story because Christianity was never meant to be a label that fits in it's own little box next to all the other little labels we stick on ourselves.
It's a whole identity that's meant to transcend and blow up any other false identity or label the world tries to define us by.
Partying (or the mistakes made when partying) is one of those labels. It was never meant to define anyone nor was it ever meant to be a part of our identity. They aren't even on the same playing field and they shouldn't be labels compared against one another…or labels at all.
One is an identity, the other is a false sense of identity.
There was a point in my life where I felt the same wrestling you may be feeling. I felt like I was trying to be a chameleon…I wanted to fit in with my Christian friends but I also had my other friends…and I wasn't sure how to blend the two so instead I just blended in wherever I was. Yet something inside of me knew there was something upside-down about how I was sitting on the fence.
After some time, I realized: We aren't made to live like chameleons. We aren't made to just blend in, we were made to stand out. As a Christian, you've been given new life but blending in and stepping back into the old ways is tempting.
But when we're focused on blending in, we're essentially trying to fit back into the old way but it's never going to feel quite right because we are not our old self (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:22-24). And we wrestle because we are designed to walk in new life.
We are not meant to party like the world does.We are not meant to party like the world does. Click To Tweet
This doesn't mean we can't have a social life. But we also need to evaluate our heart, understand our purpose, and look at little closer at what we are really seeking.
So instead of telling you to just sit in your room and read the Bible, I want to take a closer look at the heart of the issue to help you come to the best conclusion for yourself about how to handle the party scene.
Here are a few things consider to help you come to the best conclusion:
1. Consider what root desire you're trying to fulfill – WHY do you like to party?
Scripture tells us that our heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) so that means we have to really take a hard look at it instead of overlooking it and saying, “Well, it's not that deep. I just like to have fun and party, so…”
We can convince ourselves that it's as simple as that but it's really not. That's where our heart tends to deceive us.
The truth is, all desires start out as good desires but they can get twisted.
Think about it. Perhaps the root desire for partying is to have relationship and feel like you have community–a good desire in and of itself. BUT that can get twisted into seeking affirmation and approval from the world or compromising our character just to have friends and share a good laugh. Sometimes we settle for a false sense of community instead of seeking true community because it's easier.
Another good desire in and of itself is happiness. Everyone can agree that we all desire joy and happiness. No one likes pain. But it can get twisted when we seek to numb the pain or insecurity we may feel with substances instead of with something of substance. That good desire gets twisted into something destructive when we seek fleeting feelings of being carefree and fun in the circumstances surrounding us instead of standing in true, lasting joy in spite of the circumstances surrounding us.
So my first piece of advice is to look a little harder at WHY you like to party in the first place.
What is the DEEPER ROOT DESIRE you are trying to fulfill or satisfy?
The desire for community? Maybe that's why you're so afraid of what your friends may think if you chose not to party.
The desire for love? Maybe that's why you feel so tempted to dance with guys who give you attention.
The desire for confidence? Maybe that's why you love the instant confidence that you feel after a couple beers.
Hear this: You're not a bad person because you like to party.You're not a bad person because you like to party. Click To Tweet
But as a Christian, you aren't called to look like the world, you are called higher. The fact of the matter is that your desires don't define you however they can destroy you. The problem comes when we seek things that only GOD can give FROM partying because ot will will leave you pursuing more and more of a world that can't deliver on it's promises.
Trying to fulfill those root desires through filling up on empty calories just won't cut it. It's a false promise because it promises to give what only God can give. It'll draw you in but doesn't last, which is why you'll feel the desire to keep going back to it to get another hit of the feelings of fun, confidence, or companionship your heart craves.
That's when the enemy will dare you to settle for the lie, “It's not that deep, I just like to party,” when in reality, it's much deeper.
Ask yourself: Am I trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? (Galatians 1:10)Seeking life FROM partying will leave you pursuing more & more of a world that can't deliver on it's promises Click To Tweet
2. Define PARTY
Many young people assume that partying means to get drunk or high (or both) with friends.
But it doesn't have to.
To party also means to celebrate, to have fun, and to get together. While I understand that many consider things like drinking to be fun and enjoyable, the fun only lasts a little while, right? It's an enjoyment that wears off (and can quickly turn into misery when a hangover hits). Partying like this is essentially fake fun. It lies. It's empty. It doesn't deliver on it's promises.
A party in its most basic meaning is a celebration of something…when you celebrate something you observe it or honor it. For example, when you celebrate someone's birthday, you are honoring their life. When you celebrate an anniversary, you are honoring or observing love and commitment.
So, now look at it like this: when you party just the sake of partying, do you ever really consider what you're really celebrating? What you're honoring or exalting? If we're being really honest, isn't it simply a way to celebrate our own self…and satisfy our own twisted desires?
A party in and of itself isn't bad. A celebration in and of itself isn't bad. I mean, Jesus' first miracle was at a wedding feast, a celebration! But when it gets twisted to the point where we're celebrating and exalting the wrong thing, our choices can become destructive and partying can be like an idol in our hearts.
So maybe the party itself isn't the problem but partying in the wrong way–in a way that dishonors God–is.So maybe the party isn't the problem but partying the wrong way is. Click To Tweet
If we shift our perspective to be in constant celebration of JESUS and who we are in Him instead of celebrating ourselves and what others think of us, the desire to ‘party' in the way that brings destruction begins to fade away as our desires become truly fulfilled in Him. We will want to honor Him and exalt Him and that's hard to do if we're slurring our words. A real party celebrates true life and true life doesn't require booze or boys.
Bottom line: God is the creator of all good things worth celebrating–right down to laughter and friends. So, partying in a worldly sense should not be what grants you the freedom to celebrate life, experience joy and have fun. If it is, then you aren't really free at all because that freedom already exists outside of the typical party scene.
3. Is it a stumbling block?
The Lord gives us laughter and love and friends that add enjoyment to our lives…but He doesn't want us to draw our joy in life from anything outside of Him. When we misplace our celebration, we misplace our freedom.When we misplace our celebration, we misplace our freedom. Click To Tweet
If FOMO (fear of missing out) consistently controls your decisions and makes you succumb to peer pressure, you're really never going to experience the freedom of the Lord that you say you believe in.
Because freedom isn't about doing whatever you want. Freedom is when things like partying or drinking don't have control over you–over your joy, your friendships, or your decisions–because you're living for God, not for partying.
So, if going into the party scene is too tempting of a situation for you, if you're unable to make the separation in your heart and constantly feel like you're spinning on a hamster wheel, then it may be a stumbling block.
If you think you can't stop partying because you're afraid of losing your friends, you're not free at all (and they're probably not very good friends). Your desire to fit in and for the approval of people has a hold on you (Gal 1:10). That's not freedom. Freedom is being able to leave something, knowing that your identity rests in Christ–not that thing. If you can't leave it, you are a slave to it.Freedom is being able to leave it. If you can't leave it, you are a slave to it. Click To Tweet
4. Take some time
If you're a Christian but still struggling with old temptations and desires, you're not alone. But before you write yourself off as hopeless, remember that Jesus is a doctor for the sick not for the righteous (Mark 2:17). Just like a broken leg can't heal without time and care from the Physician, our hearts can't be healed or transformed without time with and care from the Physician.Jesus is a doctor for the sick not for the righteous Click To Tweet
The reality is that your party life likely won't catapult from a frat party to a faith party overnight. In other words, your desires may not shift right away.
It takes time for our desires to change…it takes time to grow closer to God and know His Word.
And time is exactly what I suggest taking. That doesn't mean ban yourself from going to all parties forever. It means taking a step back and allowing yourself to actually experience freedom from it.
Scripture tells us to be of sober mind (1 Peter 5:8-9). If you can't go to a party without making decisions with a sober mind, that be your answer–it probably not the best place for you to hang out and it's best to remove yourself and reset for a bit when it's a stumbling block for you–not to be uptight but to break it's hold on you.
If you do go to a party down the road, consider taking a friend that shares your belief with you that can serve as accountability. You won't feel so alone and you'll be more equipped to stand out instead of just going with the crowd. And you'll have a clearer vision of what you're truly celebrating.
When you allow yourself to step back and remove the shackles that the party culture tries to put on you, you will begin to have opportunities to share your faith, meet people where they are, and offer them hope and encouragement…which is much more fulfilling than filling up on empty calories.
To wrap up: this isn't about being legalistic or an uptight monster, it's about honoring God and looking a little deeper to understand your own heart and motives.
I'm not telling you what to do, I'm simply saying that you should consider what's a stumbling block for you. I'm daring you to consider what you're really celebrating and seeking life from.
This isn't about being boring but about having the courage to recognize when you're letting partying have a hold on your heart instead of letting God hold your heart.
So whether you've been trying to be the perfect girl or a party girl, regardless of how many shambly nights you had or haven't had, you need to know something: this isn't about what you've done or haven't done, but about what Jesus did. It's not about legalism or hypocrisy. It's about true freedom. And your salvation doesn't flex according to your behavior failures or victories. Your salvation happens in a moment–the moment you choose Jesus. Growing into the person God made you to be is a life long process. When you fall down, you're not helpless or hopeless. God doesn't give up on you. He picks you up and dares you to reset and keep going with Him.
So the truth of the matter is that you were not made to be labeled a party girl or a perfect girl. That's not what defines you. Jesus does.You were not made to be labeled a party girl or a perfect girl. Click To Tweet
And when you choose Him, there's a seat with your name on it at the greatest party this world will ever see (Matthew 8:11). There's a God that has so much more life than a party will ever offer. That's what have to live for. That's what you have to celebrate.
So, it's okay to walk away from parties. It's better to trust God than to be popular. You can live for something better, something more.
Some people may not like it or understand it but just because God sends us into the world, doesn't mean we are made to be of the world. You know a different kind of party now — one that celebrates life and Jesus. When you no longer live for people or for partying like the world, you're going to have a party in your heart that never ends because you'll be free–totally and completely whole and free.
They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:16