Writing about my faith makes me nervous. There we go, I said it. I don’t know it all, infact I know very little (my memory isn’t good for a start, which is hardly helpful if you’re expecting me to help out with your Old Testament answers to this weekends crossword clues that inevitably crop up). I haven’t got it all figured out. Nothing puts me off more than the thought of attending a ‘coffee morning’. I’m not a church goer. So, really, I don’t tick many of the traditional boxes.
It’s really hard, for anyone, to be typecast into a group. Whether that’s a football team, an area that you live, what level you’re educated to. It all comes with lists and expectations of what you should be according to the pre-conceptions others have of that group (or the one person they met that was a part of that group).
I think that’s why writing about my faith makes me nervous. There’s an expectation hovering in the space between what I’m writing here and where you are over there. And depending on your experiences of Christianity (or perhaps of me!), is going to depend on what you think you’re going to read from me. So, I’m going to promise honesty and my feelings. You can take them or leave them 🙂 If you want to ask anything, go right ahead. I’ll always give you an honest answer. Never be afraid to ask questions.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. That’s not to be confused with me being naive and just ‘going with it’. I think faith is very difficult in the modern world, it’s not an easy option that you just ‘fall into’ and don’t get out of. It requires work and commitment and I don’t like it when there’s an assumption because you have ‘grown up’ with faith that you haven’t had your own fair deal of difficulties and challenges. It’s not the easy option.
I would think that people born into committed religious families still have a personal choice to make (their own ‘journey’ if we’re gonna go all XFactor on it), because you could have all the support in the world, but if you don’t believe in the things your following for yourself then you’re going to struggle to convincingly live however much you might want you to.
So, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. But I can remember times when I was absolutely convinced of God. You know, like he was just there and it was as clear as day to me, like it just dawned on me that it wasn’t possible for there not to be a God. Like when someone gave a vision to me that was *so* clear and accurate to my life story (without knowing the details of my life) that it still sits with me today and makes me feel wonderful inside. Or moments where I have felt absolute and complete peace like I can’t even describe to you (which is rare for me because I am anxious by nature, so to feel peace is a BIG deal!).
My faith gives me hope in difficult situations. And although I’ve been really fortunate not to have faced anything really traumatic, I know that when the road hasn’t been entirely smooth, God has been the one thing that I can rely on.
God helps me love people. I think it’s a huge shame that Christianity seems to have the reputation for judging people. And I’m not saying that hasn’t been the case in some circumstances (perhaps you have first hand experience) but it seems strange because God loves everyone. And if that’s the case, then that’s what I’m striving for too. We’re all guilty of judgement, whether that’s because someone has bright blue hair, or a terrible dress sense or is from the wrong side of town. But, what I try and work on is recognising that I’m doing it before it lets me decide on my like/dislike for that person. Now, I am not perfect, I’m not even close to it. There’s always going to be people you don’t see eye-to-eye with and you’re always going to have good reason for not liking that ‘someone’ in your life perhaps because of the hurt they’ve caused you – I’m not diminishing your feelings about that. But I do believe in good in everyone, and giving the opportunity to see what someone has to offer before deciding that they aren’t your type of person. And showing everyone some love once in a while.
Speaking of which – feeling loved is the best isn’t it? Knowing someones got your back in good and bad, that they love you first thing in the morning when your hair is all crazy and terrible or in the evening when you’re too exhausted to do anything other than slob out on the sofa and eat a whole packet of choccie digestives whilst watching Eastenders (oh, is that just me?). Yes, that’s love. God’s love is much the same. But a bit better. He knows everything. Your bad hair days, but also your bad thought days (you know, when you can’t help but roll your eyes at *that* person again). He’s got you covered in His love whether you woke up this morning thanking him for another day, or whether this is the first time you’ve thought about him this week. And in a world where love is, mainly, conditional, that unconditional love blows my mind, and gives me a tiny bit more confidence in myself to persevere with the day ahead. There’s a song which has these lines in it: “There is nothing I can do to make you love me more, There is nothing I can do to make you love me less” and I just think that’s just the best couple of lines to say to myself over and over if I’m not feeling very lovable. For me, my faith is about love. Love for God, love from God and love for others in the best way that I can. And that is why I love it.
And it’s out of God’s love that we arrive at Easter this weekend. Happy Easter everyone! 🙂