In the very early days of this blog, I was still in high school. I started it the summer before my senior year, when I still identified myself as a Christian and still tried to read my Bible every day. I had “professed” (if you can call it that) faith in Christ at 8 years old, but had only really begun exploring Christianity in 8th grade, when I met my friend Paula. Paula, whose dad was a pastor, moved here from Florida and was (and still is) a strong Christian. She encouraged me to be intentional about the faith I had chosen as an 8-year-old, and I began doing the typical Christian things — I read my Bible every day and tried to pray. But while I enjoyed the intellectual aspect of studying religion (and the friendships that came with Bible study groups), I never truly enjoyed being a Christian. I mostly felt guilty instead. So when this blog began, I was still trying. A lot of my very early posts reference God or the Bible studies I was doing at the time. But by then, my senior year of high school, trying to be a good person and a good Christian was wearing on me. I started getting tired of it. By the time I finished my freshman year of college, I decided that being my own, independent person did not include calling myself a Christian.
I know I’m only a few months removed, but my college years were some of the best of my life. I felt more free to be completely me (and that girl really isn’t too different than “Christian” Sarah — just less guilty). I learned to speak Spanish. I began blogging really regularly and found that it’s not just a hobby, it’s something I want to do for a long time. And I met my two best friends, one of whom will become my husband (in only 32 days, in case you’re curious). It was a really fun time, and I grew up a lot. I also fell into a more relaxed stance with Christianity, not claiming the Christian title but not completely ruling it out in the future, either.
Right now, getting married is my main focus. All the details are falling into place. (And god, will I be glad when planning is over.) Christopher and I, after booking food, clothes, and flowers, finally found someone to do our wedding and premarital counseling. Part of the reason it took us so long to find someone was because 1) we are living together and didn’t think either of our home pastors would be okay with that, and 2) neither of us knew what kind of ceremony we wanted, anyway, since both of us grew up Christian but can’t really call ourselves that sincerely.
My mom (bless her) finally convinced me to talk to an old friend about doing our counseling — Paula’s dad, the pastor from Florida. I agreed because as much as I dislike admitting it, my mom is right a lot of the time, and I was also really feeling the stress about having an entire wedding put together but no one to actually do the thing. So a couple weeks ago, during a whirlwind of bridal showers, we sat down and talked to Paul. As I suspected, he started out asking us both about our faith, which was a little uncomfortable. But once he figured out where we both stand, he explained that he would be happy to do our counseling, as long as we were both open to really and truly considering Christianity again.
That seemed fair to both of us. So now we are meeting with Paul once a week via Facebook video, where we’re doing 30 minutes of traditional premarital counseling and 30 minutes of faith discussion. He’s given us a book to read, and also asked that we read certain books of the Bible. He knows we are both fact-based people, and like it when we can see evidence of something, so he’s tailoring our discussions that way rather than talk about how much Christianity makes people feel. So far, it’s been enjoyable, and it’s sparked discussions between Christopher and I.
Right now, I’m taking a school-like approach to it, because that’s what I know how to do. I’m taking notes on what I think, and trying to look at the Bible objectively, instead of giving the “church answer.” In our sessions, we’ve already established the fact that choosing to be a Christian shouldn’t be taken lightly — an 8-year-old cannot possibly fully understand what it is to be a Christian and truly make that commitment. It takes more thought and consideration than what we typically tell kids in the church today (and that’s a whole other issue we may or may not discuss here later). So, instead of completely rejecting Christianity, I am beginning to take a hard look at what real Christianity truly requires, and then I’ll decide if that’s what I want for myself.
It’s a little uncomfortable, because I’m afraid of what might happen if one of us, after really considering Christianity, decides to take it on and the other doesn’t. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.