I was baptized as a baby and that it pretty much where it all stopped. I mean, I had heard about Jesus and I had sort of had the mind set of: “I don’t want to perish in hell for all eternity so I guess Jesus is a cool guy and I will stay on his good side.” That is really where my faith began and ended and where I was comfortable to leave it. But if you are intrigued by this man who walked the earth and you keep hearing how amazing this God is and you want to know more,then why not start here. Just a forewarning that I don’t know everything about God or the Bible…in fact I don’t think I can even quote a single scripture, but this is my journey from my heart. These are the things that helped me to calm down the intensity of Christianity and all of the societal stigma associated with it, and really understand the heart of it all. So don’t take it as gospel….lol, see what I did there.
Watch a Good Movie:
First things first, I needed to dust all of the misconceptions and fears that I had about God and the church out of my brain and start again. Now, don’t laugh at me but the thing that wiped it all clean was a movie called The Shack. After watching that movie I had such a different image of who God was and the way that he operated. It debunked a lot of myths and really got rid of this preconceived image that I had of God. I had perceived God to be this bearded man sitting on a golden throne in the clouds sort of gazing down at me and shaking his head when I did something idiotic. But I was so wrong. He wasn’t above me, he was next to me. He wasn’t shaking his head, he was holding my hand. I began to think of God as a parental figure, and Jesus as an old time friend.
What about those dreaded C words:
‘Christian” and “Church” freaked me out. I don’t know why, but those words had a lot of weight on them. When you told me I would be defined as a Christian, I heard “you will need to be completely perfect and never swear and never mess up and never look like a complete tonsil”. When you told me I would then go to church, I heard “ you will need to dress all fancy on a Sunday and pretend your life is perfectly fine and that you didn’t just cut that guy off in traffic or pretend you always blow dry your hair.” In hindsight, Jesus never really mentioned his love for labels. He didn’t really say that his main goal was to form this group called “The Christians” and that he would create a set of rules in order for you to join. He mentioned his desire for us to know His heart, to know God in our own hearts and for us to need God’s grace and mercy in moving past our mistakes and growing stronger in our faith.
Find the right church for you:
In my own experience, church had 2 outcomes for me. I had a horrid experience at a church where I looked around me and all I saw was lots of broken people who were pretending to be perfect and ridiculing others for their attempt at hiding their mistakes. This just scared me away and deterred me from ever setting foot in another church under my own free will. However, I do still firmly believe that Jesus wants us to worship Him in community and so I continued my search. It was a grueling process filled with lots of fake smiling and forced hallelujahs. Eventually I came across this tiny little church that was 2 years old and a pretty far drive away. But when I walked in and looked around, I saw a group of broken and slightly disheveled people; who were embracing the chaos of life together and praising God for His love and mercy, despite that chaos. My heart did a little happy dance, and no matter how much more I searched after that encounter- nothing seemed to slot as comfortably as to what I encountered at my church. Finding a church that I truly felt was home for me, where I felt comfortable to shout out my most embarrassing secret is a vital part of my continual growth in my faith. No matter how long it takes, keep searching until your intuition tells you it is right.
Spend Time with Him:
God is a real person. Just like any relationship with any real person; the only way you will get closer to that person is by spending time with them. Perhaps start out with some small talk, because even small talk is necessary in a relationship. Perhaps giving thanks for everything in your life, maybe talking about the weather or your day with Him. Small talk can only take you so far until it just can’t bring you any closer to the person, and then God will start asking you the tough questions. He will then start to dig into your heart and your soul and begin challenging you on real stuff that may be happening in your life and within you that you REALLY don’t want to talk about. It’s your choice if you want to talk to Him about it or not. Just know that if anyone can make you feel better and help you grow through what you’re going through, it’s Him.
The one thing I realized when I began my journey with Christ is that there is no right way or wrong way. There is no miraculous formula or checklist. Each person’s journey and relationship with God is unique and everybody communicates and builds upon that relationship in a different way. So if anyone approaches you with something that sounds similar to “you aren’t doing it right” or “you’re not supposed to do that” tell them that your relationship is between two people and unfortunately you aren’t accepting third wheels right now.