And of course right now I am thinking of all the other bloggers that have written the same kind of thing, that I'm not as good as Jen Hatmaker, that this is all going to sound really contrived, yada yada yada. We haven't been to church in weeks and I'm going to post about faith? Well, yes. I am, actually. And all of this is only my opinion because you know, this is just a BLOG.
He Gets Me
Over the years, I've felt like I didn't totally belong at church, or fit into the ideal of Christianity. There are so many things I don't DO. Aren't Christians supposed to DO stuff? Like every day without fail? Dang...I don't pray every day, I don't do any kind of daily devotionals, and my Bible probably has dust on it. Sometimes when I'm in large groups of Christian women, I don't know what to say or how to behave. This is due to the fact that who I am, truly, is a person with a bit of an edge who is heavily dosed with sarcasm, has majorly twisted humor, and often a filthy mouth. I love music and going to shows, and I know sometimes people probably think "isn't she getting a little old for that?" I'm not a typical wife either, my husband cooks every night, we share bills and have separate bank accounts. I clean, but not nearly enough. He totally and completely shares in the parenting. I let my 14 year old watch things I didn't think I would, because she's really mature. These hangups, like I don't fit the "mold", is 100% my problem. Am I getting judged by others for not being Christian-y enough? It might happen here and there, but it's probably not happening in the way I think it is.
And it's all crap. God sees me come to church in flip flops and be completely over it and uninterested sometimes. He sees me stay in bed on Sundays sometimes too, He sees me yell at my kids. He knows my road rage is off the chain and how badly I want to go see Straight Outta Compton. He hears me laugh at inappropriate things at work, and He knows that there are days when I feel like maybe I could scrap this whole career/family thing and just travel for the rest of my life...by myself. And He definitely hears me when I curse like a sailor, and while I am trying to rein it in just a tad, I am totally convinced that He has accepted that it's an integral part of my personality. So f'ing there!
DON'T Have To Be Someone Else!!
I didn't grow up really believing in God, at least in not a direct way. I didn't go to church when I was young, I was never in a youth group. From the outside, I know what it looks like. It looks like you have to fall in line, pray daily, read daily, vote Republican, hate gay folks, do only churchy things, only hang out with churchy people and NEVER listen to secular music. That said, there are things that help you grow in faith for sure. Praying and reading the Bible help. Any opportunity to help others who have less than you do, and to demonstrate that God is only about love are essential elements in my opinion. I'm even going to list a VERSE!
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love- 1 John 4:8
So Why Bother?
I feel like it's possible for me to be a decent human without faith and I know quite a few people who don't believe at all and it doesn't affect how I feel about them. I'm not the kind of person to tell folks they MUST go this route in order to be validated and respected. So all I can speak to is what this is like for ME and how it feels.
- It brings me peace. I
never sleep better than after I've been grappling with horrible thoughts
before I finally give it over to Him. Calm. Peace. There was a day
recently when I was in a completely vile mood and I was driving. A song
from church came on my Ipod and the words made me feel SO much better. It
sounds so contrived, but it did happen. Then the next song was NWA.
- It keeps me focused on
what I should strive to be. Perfect? Absolutely no way. But I do need to
strive to be kind and love my neighbor, even when she calls the
homeowner's association on us for not properly landscaping our front
yard...in a drought.
- It's an amazing thing
for me to know that regardless of how jacked up I am or the next horrible
mistake I'm about to make, He loves me and forgives me. This is not the
same as having a license to screw up. It's not insurance, it's acceptance.
One of my favorite scenes in The Sopranos was when Pauly Walnuts went to
church to ask for all of his tithes back because the ghosts of all the
people he murdered were haunting him. It doesn't quite work that way!
I don't think I was meant to believe any earlier than I did, I think I had to live my first 24 years without Him. I do think he has a plan for all of us, and we can't make it happen the way we want to all the time. The bottom line is that He truly understands who I am, who we all are, and despite this fact? He loves us anyway.
And He needs more people brave enough to just be themselves.