Wednesday, January 1, 2014
When I was younger, I had friends that would talk about God like He was another part of our group of friends. As though He were someone who would pop over for tea and biscuits whenever we needed Him, or a Father that we would have deep discussions about and how He played a role in our decisions, our way of considering others feelings, our way of deciding how to be better people. Some people consider this a weak way of thinking or being, but to be honest, I miss it. I miss it a lot. I miss being able to talk about God with people like He's a person that we know. But I know it's uncomfortable for probably about 90% of the people that I know, and I don't wish to change my relationships or friendships with those people. I don't want to offend anyone, and society has pretty much changed into the direction of, "faith is something to keep to yourself, it's a private matter". And I get that idea and where it comes from... I just wish that I had more time set aside in my life to keep that connection that I used to have.
I pray every day, I think about God with this undoubting faith in His mere existence, but I still miss being able to have a relaxed conversation with things like, "What are you doing with this? Are you praying about that? Doesn't it say in Luke that this happened? Maybe God has a bigger plan..." As if they were perfectly normal things to say to your friend. Because to me, they are. I constantly repress these feelings and tell myself that maybe my old friends were "too Jesus-y" which to some people they probably would be.
Last year I took my boyfriend to a wedding of some friends of mine, and they hadn't had sex before the wedding. The wedding was so "Jesus-y" that it quickly became apparent to my boyfriend and he leaned into my ear, "Wait... they REALLY never had sex yet?!" No, surprisingly in today's world some couples that I know won't do that before marriage. Now, regardless of my own opinion on this (or yours), the reason I bring up this wedding is because of its sheer beauty overall. There were many biblical references to love, and not just the obligatory "Love is patient, love is kind..." verse that everyone has their cousin read to make her feel special at their ceremony. It had prayer, and songs I listen to on Chris Tomlin radio when I put on Pandora, and this message of marriage being a pure Godly choice between two people. I loved it, and I bawled my eyes out (a couple of times). And this was the environment that I was in on a twice-weekly basis in high school and college. Sunday church, and bible study, and talks with my friends. But that's not the whole story...
When I was in college, I lived a double life. I was an officer of Navigators, and teaching a bible study, and then living in my sorority house and drinking and doing things not worth mentioning if my boyfriend were to read this. I was constantly having a mental battle with myself, not knowing if I was a good person, not having a clue if I was even a "real Christian" because I have always had an unshakable faith in God, but I felt like I didn't know how to make good decisions. There are two schools of thought on this, and I still struggle with which one is "right" or "wrong" or if either make sense. There's the idea that if you're a good person, and you do good things, then you won't go to Hell and you don't even have to really believe in anything. That's what probably most people believe in today's world. Then there's the other side of the coin that you could be a crazed zealot about God and faith, but if you're a crappy person and you're missing the point of Jesus' message (or any religion's message of being good to others) then it doesn't matter and you'll go to Hell. So imagine me, feeling like I was a bad person but I had a lot of faith... and then when I would go on a mission trip or try to participate more in church, I would feel like the person with the least amount of faith and like I didn't deserve to be there. Always, it was like I didn't feel good enough to belong in a group.
I swear, I drink, I have a boyfriend, but I go to church on Sundays and I pray all the time. But I still feel like sometimes I don't have anyone to talk to about God like He's our friend. Like we can call Him up and Hang, and it's normal. But I would feel like I had to censor myself in front of old friends that I could that with sometimes. Like I wasn't "Christian" enough for them because I swear and I was too adventurous. And I know some of them would hate my standup comedy! But then there's my friends I'm with all the time, fellow performers, colleagues, etc, and I feel like I have to hide a certain part of myself or I'm gonna be a freak. So I still feel like a lot of the time I don't belong or maybe I'm never FULLY myself. Is anyone ever really fully themselves?
I go to this church that's amazing, because they accept anyone and they have a rainbow flag above the door, and I feel like it's good for people like me. But then sometimes I feel nervous to talk about God like he's a friend of ours, because they're not the crazed-for-Christ types that I was used to at my old church (but then again those crazed types weren't really ok with sex or gay people). I hate talking to God like he's a symbol, or praying out of obligation. I miss the way things used to be sometimes.
SO IS IT ME OR DO I NOT BELONG ANYWHERE?! This is really sad and conflicting for me, and it tears me up inside.