By that I mean, my parents were Christian, we went to church at least 3 times a week, we prayed before meals, before bed, I read my Bible. The boxes were ticked. I fit the mold.
As a kid, I always felt a deep love for God, at times a possible connection. For sure though, if I did feel a connection, it wasn’t through being a ‘Christian’.
I was notorious for falling asleep in church (I still do). I’d have my eyes open during meal-time prayer, salivating while I watched my food grow cold. Bedtime prayers dragged on as well, and I seem to remember my sister and I having kicking wars behind our parents’ back.
As I remember it, the church we went to was hardcore Evangelical Christian… code for right-wing, and Anti… gay, sex, sin, and just being you.
Our identities were based on acceptable, or not so acceptable, behaviours defined by the church. As a result, the fear of God I definitely understood; the freedom in Christ, not-so-much.
And by fear, I mean the, ‘don’t screw up, get it right, don’t let God see you fail’ version of fear.
The respect, awe, and knowing-my-place kind of fear, I know now, but was muddled with the first kind when I was a kid.
The concept of God I’ve always been drawn to. Understanding all that God is, has been, and is, a journey. Sometimes it’s been facilitated within a church, and sometimes it goes beyond church walls.
I’m finally getting honest with myself about this. Instead of pretending that I get it and that I’m a good Christian, and trying to keep the people in my life that want me to have a certain faith happy, I’m getting real, raw & related.
I realized that if I’m really going to live as my True You, I have to apply it to my faith to.
- I want to own it authentically for what it is: Not completely figured out.
- I don’t want to change it to fit somebody else’s mold.
- I don’t want to hide the questions that I have, or the choices that I’ve made.
- It’s time for me to approach my faith and my God with love; without fear, judgement, or fear of judgement.
Which brings me to today…
I feel compelled to share a conversation I recently had.
It has to do with miracles.
When it comes to miracles, I’ve been on the fence.
I grew up with a pastor who experienced a physical miracle in his life: saved from polio at the age of 12. You’ve probably heard of these kinds of things. Physical healings, addictions disappearing in a split second, money appearing overnight, a vision in a dream.
Truthbomb: All these miracles sound great on paper, and at the same time are completely incomprehensible to me.
I don’t doubt that these things happened to those who tell the stories, I’ve just never seen it for myself.
And that is what I heard myself saying to my friend as we were cycling through the lush green hills of west Wales the other morning. Where’s my miracle!? (Dammit!)
I’m a bit like Doubting Thomas. I want to see the bloody miracle and then I’ll believe.
Later that day, I realized this: All this time, I’ve been waiting for a miracle, some life-altering sign that would strengthen and solidify my faith.
Except I gotta have the faith first.
And I gotta be willing to acknowledge the miracle for what it is. God’s hand, not my actions.
Ouch, that’s a toughy.
And then I realized this too… that the fact that I live in a little corner of Wales, more heavily populated with sheep than people, and I have met a woman who is crazy enough to cycle with me in the freezing cold rain in the middle of winter, has a property that she is willingly opening up as a community space that we can co-host retreats at, has as similar heart for people and God, and lives like 5 minutes from me… coincidence?
I think not.
Maybe there’s my miracle. And it’s probably just the beginning.
And then I realized this, I have to be open to seeing the miracle, to seeing something that is completely incomprehensible and that I can’t explain, in order for it to happen.
If I am not willing, it’s not going to happen. At least not to me, anyway.
So that is me.
[Tweet “I am willing for today, and tomorrow, to be something I can’t explain.”]
I am willing for a miracle.
And, I am willing for God to be bigger than childhood expectations of who he and I were supposed to be. I suppose that is a miracle of sorts too.