A few weeks ago, I asked the question “why do you believe what you believe?” I gave an answer, but since then, I feel that answer was sort of a cop-out answer.
The truth is, I don’t know how to tell you why I believe what I believe without sounding like I’m trying to sell you Jesus. I don’t know how to explain it without sounding like a mass marketer trying to get you hooked on a feeling.
My vocabulary has been flooded with religious jargon and rhetoric so much so, it has become difficult to separate it all. I feel like if I tried to explain my beliefs to someone who doesn’t believe the same, it would come across as me trying to “save their soul” and be disrespectful to their own belief system.
How Did This Happen
Sure, I could get on a soapbox and blast religion and so on, but that would be easy and it would be my attempt to absolve myself of personal responsibility.
Truth is, my belief system came from not questioning what was told to me, but accepting it at face value and trying to convince other people to accept it at face value too. “Oh, if you just believe what I believe, your life will be so much better.” “Oh, what you believe is wrong, trust me, I know the truth.” Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
My beliefs felt more like something prepackaged, ready to be sold. Instead of something organic and breathing.
Over the past few years (since 2003), I’ve learned to figure out why I believe in God. Why do I trust Jesus? Why do I assume people want to believe what I believe? How can I love God and love people at the same time? These and other questions I am still figuring out. But perhaps truth is a journey and not a destination.
That burst through all the internal walls I had built up with religion. All the masks I was wearing of “church” or “I have it all together” began to crack and the real me started to come through. I realized I was too wrapped up in Christianity and that was a safe, comfortable place to be. Some days, it feels like Jesus has rescued me from my version of Christianity.
Meaning I’m learning to be far less focused on a religion and more focused on Jesus and other people. For example, I read the Bible because I want to, not because I feel it is a duty or something I should do or out of a sense of guilt. Again, just talking about my own version of religion I constructed to keep me safe and comfortable. I’m slowly but surely becoming more and more allergic to being comfortable.
I’m learning to be transparent and honest, learning to respect people and not sell them on my belief system. I’m learning to receive love. It’s not easy, but why live life doing the easy thing?
So why do I believe what I believe? Jesus knows me, and he loves me anyway. He knows all my faults, fears, masks, stuff I do nobody knows, my hurts, my hopes, my dreams, my worries, my doubts, and he loves me anyway. Word.
[photo from wiki]