Monique shares her story of Freedom That Comes With The Cross.
None of us want to confess "our darker Peter moments", when one of Christ's most beloved disciples attempted to conceal his relationship with the Savior. It's easy to believe we'll always be ready to proclaim our faith in any situation. It became less difficult for me when I volunteered to be a Children's Church teacher, the Church clerk, and woke up early every day to read my devotional. My commitment to our Heavenly Father seemed stronger than ever. Then, there was a day I met with television executives for the first time and easily slipped my cross necklace into my suitcase instead of wearing it to the interview.
While it was my first screenwriting fellowship interview, it wasn't the first time I had a darker Peter moment. I remained speechless when my Intro to Film professor insisted the Bible was a myth during freshmen year. My movie-loving friends cracked Jesus jokes during meals and I simply frowned over my food. Though I privately showed my devotion to Christ and everybody knew I was a Christian, I failed to speak up and defend the Son of God.
We all yearn for the secular world to embrace every part of us. What if they all cheered for us when we stepped out to show how we're different? What if they loved us like Napoleon Dynamite, an outcast who follows his heart and takes the stage to dance freely? Could my faith, my differences, be visible and loved? I didn't believe this when I removed the cross necklace two years ago. It was in the invitation for the interview, right there in black and white: we're anxious to get to know the person behind the script. Yet, how could they get to know me if I was hiding the faith that guides me every day and shapes my values? I made a fear-based decision that I couldn't offend any of the executives by wearing a faith-based symbol. I knew completely what I was doing. God knew it too. I was not blessed with that opportunity.
Like Peter who hid his relationship with Christ more than once, I asked for forgiveness. I promised God to publicly praise Him should another opportunity present itself to me. I received financial aid to CEG courses and a writers' retreat in France in the following years. Since then, I've made a committed effort to defend and praise God publicly off and on the page. I'm heartened when I read Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." I'm saved and free. I feel liberated whenever I'm in the CEG community and other Christians in entertainment proclaim His name or recite Scripture. Why shouldn't I live freely when I have peers who understand me every day? I put on the cross necklace again, but more importantly I put on the armor of God, which makes us shine differently so others might see.