I've been wanting to post something about this for a while now, and it will probably be a lot of scattered rambles, but here we go.
A few months ago at GCC, we got to do a series called, "Don't Call Me A Christian". If you want the gist of it, you can check it out here.
During this series, I was asked by our media guys, along with others, to share about the time I didn't want to be called a Christian. I was super humbled to share among leaders that I respect, and really nervous and excited to share some of my heart. I had planned on sharing about the season where I lived and worked in Yosemite National Park, but God had other plans. He asked me to share about my mom. I thought I could just glide by, and talk about a tough period in my life...but nooooooo. He wanted me to share about something that I struggle with daily, and an area of my heart that I have trouble fully surrendering to Him. He was asking me to be vulnerable.
A little backstory.
My mom left the church when I was young. She grew up in a Christian home, with a loving family. But at a very early age, she bought into the lie that she had to be perfect, and if she was, then she would earn Christ's love.
I don't think that lie ever left. She spent time in therapy, and developed questions and doubts about God. She wasn't getting the answers to her questions. And they were good questions too, not meaningless whining. Questions like "Why does a loving God allow pain?", "Why do I get to live in a country with SO much, while others are starving and struggling for life?".
She reached out to the church we were attending, and didn't find what she was looking for. In fact, it pushed her away even further. Any questions she had were answered with scripture, or something of the sort. While I believe that the church had the BEST intentions with that...to someone who is struggling to be heard, it's not the answer. All she needed was someone to listen.
It's easy for me to blame that specific church, and the people. BUT she made the ultimate decision to leave the church...and unfortunately, that helped seal the deal. So she is a self proclaimed agnostic.
However, my mom has never been anything but supportive of my decision to follow Christ. She's told me multiple times how she wishes she could have that happiness. It breaks my heart, because my mom points me back to Jesus more than anything in and of this world. She asks the hard questions, is not afraid to be herself, and state her opinion(for better or worse).
Because of my mom's story, I feel like I'm more perceptive to Christian pompous. What, Christians can be pompous??? Yes. It happens often.
Now, I could jump on a soapbox and write 10,000 books on my opinions on this matter, but I'll spare you, and just leave it at this:
-If you have a friend who does not know Jesus, or does....take time to JUST LISTEN. Listening holds so much power, and no one likes the person who think they have all the answers.
Which brings me to my next point...
-You don't have to have all the answers. Often times, someone just needs to hear that you struggle with the same questions they have! Then they know they are not alone/don't have to be perfect...address all the lies they believe with a simple truth. We all have questions, and doubts, no matter how long we've been walking with Jesus.
-If you speak out with your opinions, please do so in love. NOTHING will turn someone who has questions away faster than stating harsh, biting opinions on the following: politics, homosexuality, social status, pure-bread dogs...you get my point.
-Be real. My relationship with Jesus does not look like my dad's, pastor's, boss's, friend's, role model's, or drivethru worker's relationship with Jesus. So why would I try and put on a show, pretending that's how I connect with God? From experience, nothing made my relationship with Christ(and others) take a nose dive faster than that route.
Following Christ is a journey, and I'm still(sometimes reluctantly) learning. But what I've said in this post has been on my heart for a long time. I'm not telling anyone how to live, just sharing from my own experience.
Be who Christ made you to be, and you will impact some one's life who needs your own unique version of Jesus. Be real. Don't pretend to have your life together, because no one does. Let's just walk with each other, and encourage one another. Taking one step at a time towards Christ.