Monday, January 2, 2012

Pillar of Faith

This week has been the most challenging week for me spiritually. I've been feeling a bit attacked and not personally but in general. In high school I never cared to fit in with people and had no trouble being different, but as I got older I started caring. I was sensitive to others and conformed my values and beliefs based on how comfortable others could be with it.

Let me preference this with saying: I am a proud, public school educated, intellectual woman. I think about things 100 times and try things 100 ways before I make a solid decision. I am open-minded and like to learn new perspectives and hear others world views (even if they aren't ones that I share). I am conservative and liberal. I vote Republican AND Democrat AND Independent. I eat at McDonalds and try to eat vegetarian. I like country music and rap, line dancing and booty dancing. I love cats AND dogs. (i just can't pick up dog poo). I believe in individual rights and community rights. I know that good and evil exists. I know that in order for their to be evil, there must be a standard for what is not evil. I'm not prejudging what is considered evil either, that's for the reader to discover for themselves. I honestly don't love ALL people but I do care for people and have compassion for the human condition.

With that said: The people around me this week have really pushed me to make a decision. One that hasn't been easy for me, someone who typically likes to fly under the radar [religiously speaking]. For some reason, just recently, it seems like there have been a LOT of people hating on Jesus and Christians. I think a big reason at the moment is the Tim Tebow hype. This week an old friend I used to really admire talked about his "disdain for the Bible" and Christians because of response to a comment Bill Maher said earlier. I totally understand but I think everything has gotten out of control. Read this if you are interested in a poignant response of the Tebow hatred by someone who claims to not be religious at all.

Everybody's mad: I thought being a Christian would be easy or a little hard, like choosing not to deny Christ in a Columbine situation or staying away from vices. But no, that's not it at all. Being a Christian is a daily choice to deny self. I feel like I am at constant battle with myself. I haven't give over full control yet--to literally just trust and obey. Going with the flow doesn't always work with Christianity because as I've seen in the past week----going with the flow is going against everything Jesus preached. When others hate the Gospel, you must love it. When people hate you, you must continue to love them. Not out of duty, but because love is healing. The love of something perfect doesn't just cover up wounds but can literally heal them. Jesus entrusted some of the most plain, despised, and flip-floppy men with a mission to heal a people who have been wounded by things like greed (the 99%), gluttony (the sick), perversion (incest), and the loss of loved ones, with the promise of hope of a life after death.

What does this mean? This weekend someone asked me why I attribute good things in my life as an answer to prayer from God instead of something of my own power that made a positive change. It was an interesting question that no one has ever asked me, but I sincerely have wondered myself. I think that prayer is a fancy word to describe conversation with a holy spiritual being (to make it different than going to call a friend on the phone). But the time I spend in prayer is when I feel most vulnerable, open, and intimate with God. It can be like that time right before bed, pillow-talk. You usually are most open and that bonds people. Think of all the childhood sleepovers with friends and staying up all night talking about life and dreams and for me, boys and movies. I have never felt closer with my friends than when we spent that precious time opening our hearts to each other. When I talk to God, I just feel like I'm being hugged. I find it interesting that this concept offends people. The mere existence of God is offensive as Paul said it would be. The message is clear---we are not of this world, all of this is temporary.

I was talking to a kid at school and we were playing a special game of JENGA where I wrote questions on the pieces just to get kids to open up a little and so I could learn about them. One of the most intriguing answers I got to "What is something you are afraid of?" was "I'm afraid of going to hell." She said it so thoughtfully and matter-of-factly. not like it was burning inside of her but it was a real fear. I thought, you know what....deep down, I am too. Not in the way where I care what anybody else thinks, but at the end of the day I will have to account for my own life. What if afterlife is real and there are consequences for the life lived on earth? Am I really prepared for a life separated from the One i love?

I'm starting to lose my train of thought and recognizing this is not my best post.

All of this to say, I have to make a decision which side of the fence I'm going to jump on. The more that people hate on Christianity....the more I'm thinking that there is something to it beyond just going to church. I'm not saying Christianity is perfect or that religion is perfect and without hypocrites or fallacies. It's worth the investigation on your own to seek truth and not just assume. I've had a relationship with God since I was a little child and I can't deny the truths I've seen. I'm ready to accept that people will think I'm crazy, stupid, and idiot for believing in unseen things. I don't know where God came from or why God is invisible. I also can't tell you how living things came into being without being created. something NEVER comes from nothing. so i guess the people who think religious people are crazy are just afraid to ask the question "what if" and find the answer that no one can truly know The Beginning of all things and all life. I've already answered my own question "what if there is no God?" and wasn't satisfied. I know there is more to ME and life that just a heartbeat. Its all a beautiful work, a magnum opus.

Psalm 28:1-2
"Lord, I call to you;
my rock, do not be deaf to me.
If you remain silent to me,
I will be like those going down to the Pit.
Liten to the sound of my pleading when I cry to You for help,
When I lift up my hands to Your holy sanctuary."


Stephanie Jane said...

I am excited to see where God will take you from here! 1 John 4:18, perfect love has no fear. So push on fearlessly, my friend. Our perfect God will never leave or forsake you. And he has your reputation in His perfect hands, Psalm 62:7. Love you!

Lauren said...

Thanks for the encouragement!!

Shelby Danielle said...

I love you sis. When I go to the YMCA...after my workout I get something called "Way Protein"...a Bible verse. Today, it was perfect. 2 things....don't let other decide your faith or your fate, and don't treat others differently, worse, or better, based on what they claim to believe, who they claim to be, or the mistakes they (and all of us make). God has huge plans for you and I can't wait to see them!!