I thought it would be simple to answer the question, “What do you believe?” But it’s not. And now I’ve gone and said I would answer the question, so I’ll try, even though it’s hard. I haven’t gotten into detail about my faith on the blog too much in the past, and I have my reasons for that. So this is a bit uncomfortable, or at least more uncomfortable than I thought it would be.
The reason for my discomfort? Well, I ask you this:
How DOES a person put into words what they believe?
It would take pages and pages! Faith is so multi-layered and individual, nearly impossible to describe. And sometimes professing faith can sound so trite or cliche. So much of the language of “believers” has been repeated so many times, it doesn’t hold much meaning anymore. Even so, I have no other words to start this off with except,
I believe that Jesus was who He said He was. (You know…God.)
That makes me a Christian, even though sometimes that’s hard for me to admit. Not because of Christ, but because of some Christians and their failed attempts to live the love of Christ. (Don’t get me wrong, I fail too, but I’m still embarrassed by fellow Christians who do more hating than loving.)
There are a whole lot of reasons I’m a “believer.” Those reasons are completely personal to me, due to my experience. It’s amazing what God can show you if you take a little tiny leap of faith and seek Him out.
Here’s a little faith analogy for you:
I can’t remember much before the age of three (or sixteen for that matter), but I know I existed. I can’t remember the long days spent with my Mother as she dealt with sleepless nights and toddler tantrums, but I know she was there with me. It was in those early days that my Mom and I developed a bond. I look at my relationship with God in much the same way. Even though I can’t see Him, and I have no tangible proof that He’s been with me, I’m still so connected to Him that I’ve never been able to deny Him, even when I’ve doubted.
I don’t think professing in detail what I believe in words on a blog can speak what I’d like it to speak.
For instance, I could tell you stories from my life, of times that I ran from belief, from church, and from God, and how He plucked me out of my self-made pit. I could tell you how that makes Him very real to me, but those are long stories and many are too difficult to tell in a random public forum like blogging. Sure, if you were all sitting here in my kitchen, I’d ramble on and on and see your faces and hear your words and I wouldn’t hesitate to tell all my stories. I would love it. (Well, maybe not in the current state of my kitchen, but let’s imagine a theological discussion around a campfire, wouldn’t that be cool?) But since you’re not here, I won’t get into all those testimonial type stories today.
Ryan and the boys and I attend an inner-city Methodist church, but that isn’t because it’s Methodist. We go there because it feels like the right place for us to worship the God who loves us. I don’t get the feeling of self-righteousness, arrogance, and judgment that is sadly present in many evangelical circles when we’re there. Instead, the focus is on justice for the poor, sound Biblical teaching, and unconditional love. It’s diverse in every way, and the purpose of the church is to help the poverty and crime-stricken area right outside it’s doors. It rocks.
Many times, when someone says they’re a Christian, people jump to some conclusions. Some of that is because it’s natural for people to assume stereotypes fit every person under a certain label. But it’s impossible for anyone to fit any kind of mold perfectly. I’m an individual with my own thoughts and beliefs separate from the next Christian. We may believe the same fundamental truths, but we most likely differ in many ways. I think God made us all so extremely unique, knowing we would each find our own unique road back to Him, long or short.
As for an example of these differences: Some Christians are very focused on lifestyle and moral issues. I’m just not. I guess I would rather not focus so much on behaviors or lifestyles (since none of us can claim perfection-I know I don’t come anywhere close-it’s just simply not my job to focus on others in that way). I wrote a post about the whole judgment topic here, if you’re interested in more of my ramblings.
I can’t help but to see every person through eyes of grace and mercy. That’s because of Jesus, not me. His are the eyes that saw me and loved me despite myself. He has taught me a lot, and I’m looking forward to a veeery long relationship with Him (like forever or so), learning more and being inspired by his awesomeness.
I fail a lot, just ask my husband, but I’m absolutely crazy about people. I can’t believe that God was gracious enough to share His eyes of mercy with me.
If I were ever able to keep it short, I would sum it up like this:
I want to see people the way that God does, since He’s the One with all the answers, and He’s crazy in love with each one of us. I think it takes a really long time to fully see with His eyes.
Wow. If you read all of this, I’m seriously impressed. I doubt anyone needed THIS much information. Sorry, but it’s nap time and I couldn’t stop rambling.
(Some friends and I have another blog (same one that the post I linked to earlier is from)where we think aloud about faith and stuff. If you like the topic of faith, stop by. We don’t post often, but we’re honest when we do, wrestling with issues and sharing our hearts as openly as possible.)
The End. (finally)