I realized something important. For many years I have dreamed of being a voice for Christians, aiding them with wisdom and love and encouragement in the name of Jesus. But some things have slowly dawned on me: God never exalts those whose desire to be in the limelight. The focus should be on His glory alone. Even if He does humble me enough to honestly focus on serving Him over myself, I realize now that I might not fit well into the Christian world.
I am, by all respects, a bad Christian in the eyes of many admired Christian leaders.
I like Halloween. I drink wine in moderation. I am an avid watcher of Game of Thrones. I think we should prepare young people mentally for the realities and beauty of married sex. I don’t believe people should be expected to procreate if they don’t want to. I am not convinced the Creation story is literal. Attending church is a struggle for me. I feel highly conflicted about my dissonant religious and political beliefs.
I don’t believe I am alone. I am the reigning example of Millennials everywhere. Where are all the others like me? I know you are out there. I know you are afraid to speak up in fear of being ostracized and treated as a second-rate Christian.
As far as I am aware, I am not sinning by enjoying a fantasy show or drinking the occasional glass of wine. But I feel that I have to hide these and similar aspects of myself in order to keep up my “good-girl” appearances. There is much judgement and fear of judgement from the Christian world regarding these things. Sometimes the fear is worse than the judgement itself.
The thing is, I must either accept my actions as non-sinful and do my best to not offend my brothers and sisters in Christ, or I must accept the fact that I am hiding my actions because some part of me believes it to be sinful.
I am tired of hiding away who I truly am for the sake of protecting my facade. I am tired of pretending to cater my behavior to please larger-than-life Christian figures who profess wisdom but who shut those of us down who disagree or feel uncertain with stinging accusations that we are not true Christians. My facade isn’t real faith; it’s just a costume I put on to seem like I am a good Christian.
This is my confession: I strive to please God but in so doing I find I strive harder to please men of God. The Lord has convicted me that there is no greater deception. I must shed this weary mask and proclaim to the world the brutal, honest truth: I do not have it all together. I am not a perfect Christian. I have more doubt than faith sometimes, more questions than answers. I am worthy of nothing, yet Christ bestows grace upon grace to me and I am grateful. I can respond to Christ’s love in the only way I know how: honesty and love and my best efforts at Spirit-led obedience.
I revel in my liberation from earthly fear and judgement, but I take care to avoid jumping into the apathy of shameless sinning. My goal is to be honest with my Savior, my community, and myself. If there was any change I could inspire in the Christian world it’s that we could have open, honest conversations without proselytizing within our own religion. Is it possible to build relationships among brethren rather than convince one another who is right and who is wrong? Can we focus on what it means to truly glorify God rather than focus on behavioral modification? Behaviors will inevitably be modified when the heart has ears to listen to the Spirit.
Fellow Christians, I know I am a “bad Christian” for admitting this, but there are things I like or opinions I hold that are traditionally looked down upon in the Christian world. Ask me why I believe what I believe. Ask me what I struggle with. I’ll do my best to tell you. I bet we’ll have a really excellent conversation over some coffee and we’ll build a relationship. One day your actions and wisdom will influence me because I trust and admire you. Maybe then, when you describe how the Lord has changed your heart, the Spirit will whisper into mine and I will be changed in ways neither of us expect.
Until then, may the Lord bless us both mightily on our path to serving Him more honestly.
I for one really appreciate your post, Nicole. Maybe it’s because I find myself in an all too similar place right now- struggling between the percieved Christian expectations of the way life “should be” and they way life “is”. Seldom do I really feel this pressure to live the “should life” from God, but from godly men. And of course, I have the ever present self-imposed struggle of trying to minimize my own daily contradictions between what I really believe and how I live. Know you’ve got a sister who’s at least living and struggling in the same ways.
Thanks, Rachel. Your encouragement means a lot! I pray the Lord’s been giving you peace and wisdom in the midst of this beautiful chaos we call life.
Psalm 37:4 and Proverbs 3:5-6 because 1 Samuel 16:7!
You may also feed the spirit with this truth 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
and remember the character of the holy spirit 2 Timothy 1:7
well this can go forever, praise and glory to God Romans 11:36!
Absolutely, Diego. Thanks for being such a great brother in Christ.
Fantastic blog. Love your honesty. I look forward to reading more!
Thank you so much, Emily! I look forward to checking out The Purposed Initiative.