I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
March 9, 2009
A couple of months ago, I wrote a little about my religious beliefs on this blog and then I asked about yours. What followed was a really nice dialogue in the comments about religion or the lack thereof. Some of you are atheists, some are Christians, some are Jews, some are Wiccans, some are agnostic. All of you couldn’t have been nicer or more open, and no one judged me or anyone else for what was revealed.
I was absolutely floored by your collective awesomeness- Your warmth and acceptance were a great big WHEW! for me, because in the last few months, I’ve finally been coming to terms with something that’s been holding me back from God ever since I was a child.
I grew up in the church. I went to Christian schools. I went on religious retreats- lots of ’em. Church has played a big part in most of my life and I actually like it that way. I like setting aside time each Sunday to try and give my upcoming week some moral focus. I think the Bible has a lot of sound advice on how I should live my life.
The problem I have always had is not with God or Jesus or heaven or hell or any of the big stuff. It’s with other Christians. And I’m only just now realizing that this is what’s been holding me back all along.
Because let’s be honest. To be involved in church and call yourself a Christian in this day and age puts an awful lot of pressure on you to portray yourself as a perfect person. You shouldn’t wear too much makeup. You shouldn’t go to a bar and have martinis. You shouldn’t curse. Your blog had better not have a tacky word in the header like ass; it should have hearts and flowers and blinkies on it, and Bible verses in the sidebar. You get major bonus points for living frugally and homeschooling and banning all radio in your house and car except the local Christian music station.
I spent serious time, both as a teenager and as an adult, trying to fit into those parameters. And both times when I realized I couldn’t, I simply gave up. I like to think I’m a pretty smart girl, but how dumb was I to let other people’s expectations of me hold me back from having an authentic relationship with God?
Only recently did I really examine myself, warts and all. I definitely have major flaws. I definitely sin on a regular basis. But you know what? Overall, I’d say I’m striving for good every bit as much as any other churchgoing Christian out there. I’m just not trying to cover up my mistakes along the way.
My blog has been the thing that’s really helped me to live transparently, both online and off. I think there’s value in revealing my shortcomings to you because we all have them, and it’s ridiculous to pretend that we don’t. So when I do something really embarrassing, I generally share it. When I mess up, unless it would invade someone else’s privacy, I share that, too. I’ve written things on this blog that I’m not all that proud of today, but I let them stand because they form a record of an imperfect person who’s had highs and lows, and I’d like to think that I’ll see emotional and spiritual growth on this blog over time.
In the last few years, rather than beating myself up over all my shortcomings and inadequacies, I have come to believe that God has made me the way I am for a reason. Who’s to say God can’t do as much or more through me as I am, a work in progress, than He could if I were portraying myself to you as a happy, smiling, hearts-and-flowers-loving Christian?
It makes sense to me… And yet some recent criticism of me by Christians on another forum was enough to call all these realizations into question once again. I’ll write about it, but this post is already getting too long. Let’s just pick up later on this week where we’ve left off today.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this, whether you agree or disagree, or whether this is making you freak out a little and can I please keep this whole weird Christian thing to myself or at the very least limit it to Parents.com?!
Image via leo.jeje/Flickr