It’s been almost exactly two months since I wrote this post. I haven’t done as much reading or praying or investigating as I probably should have while I’m deciding whether or not become a Christian again, but this issue has been in the back of my mind the entire time. The more I think about what I really want to do, the more I think yes. But something is still holding me back.
Part of me is like, go ahead and commit already! It’s the part of me that likes having decisions made and in the past. I hate having to make decisions. I don’t like being in the limbo state of deciding; instead I want to just pick something and do it. It’s easier to pick something and say, well, it’s too late to go back now, so I have to just go with this, no matter what. Even if it may not have been the best decision.
But another part of me still hesitates for some reason. First, as I’ve told myself before, I don’t want to rush into this decision. I don’t want to read a few convincing things, dive in, and then realize that there are still too many things I can’t reconcile. It drives me crazy when people are on-again, off-again in relationships because to me, if you have that much trouble staying together, you probably shouldn’t have been together in the first place. I refuse to be like that with Christianity — I’ve already picked it up and put it down once, so if I pick it up again I’m not going back. That’s not something I should rush into.
Another reason is that I don’t know if I’m familiar enough with the actual teachings of Jesus. I used to read my Bible every day, but I have forgotten a ton of stuff. Paul, our marriage counselor, wanted us both to read through John. I read about halfway through, and there’s so much in there I didn’t remember. But I haven’t finished the book, either. Part of me thinks maybe I should at least try to read the entire New Testament before I truly commit. That way I can say I’m informed, and I can really back up my decision.
Even though I haven’t been reading the Bible much, I did read Strobel’s The Case for Christ. (It was recently made into a movie, by the way — Christopher and I watched it, and it was surprisingly good. I was hesitant, because Christian-made movies are usually low-budget and terrible — sorry, but it’s true. This one wasn’t, though. It’s an interesting watch for anyone, regardless of beliefs, in my humble opinion.) I had tried to read the book before, when I was younger, but it was too far above my comprehension level at the time. However, I really enjoyed it this time around. Honestly, the evidence that Strobel put together is incredible. He asked every question that could possibly be asked about the story of Jesus, and almost every contradiction he posed was pretty firmly shot down by science. And he didn’t just ask random people — he went to the best and brightest of academia. (I’ll have a more expanded review of the book in my next “what I’ve been reading” post.) As someone who loves facts, and had recently been questioning if God is even real, it was wonderful. It made me want to go through the Bible for myself, although I don’t think I have the patience (or the need) for the kind of investigation Strobel did.
So my dilemma is do I wait, and take a few more weeks to go through the New Testament more thoroughly? Or do I go ahead and pray and make the commitment, and let that shape my study of the Bible? This is an urgent decision, and if Christianity and its fundamental beliefs are true (and at this point, I feel confident enough to say I believe they are), this is the most important decision I’ll ever make. What if I don’t make it in time, and die in a car crash tomorrow? What then?
Experiential is becoming my new favorite word. I’ve recently heard several testimonies from other fact-loving people about how they ultimately came to Christ, and all the testimonies I’ve heard in the past have this element somehow: everyone who is truly a Jesus follower has “experienced” God in some way. It’s not something that can be explained. I don’t know if I’ve had that type of experience, and I’m afraid of not ever having it. If I never have that experience, what is wrong? Does that type of thing happen only after you truly commit? I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here, either. Maybe that’s something some people get, but not others. Sometimes I feel like accepting Jesus will open up more questions than it will answer. But I feel like it might be worth it.
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First I want to thank you for being so honest, that takes a lot of courage. The life of a Christian involves a lot of vulnerability. We are vulnerable every time we commit to a relationship with someone. And that is what I want to leave you with, the Christian life truly is a relationship. I have been a Christian my whole life, and even now, I am amazed at how much there is to God and His love. Like any relationship, we are constantly growing and learning. It’s perfectly okay to still have questions, in fact, you always will. If you ever want to talk, I’m here. I don’t claim to know everything but would love to help you. It truly is a big decision you are making, I wish you the best.
I truly appreciate your kind words and support. Thanks for reading!
In my opinion, this isn’t a decision that can be made on an external timeline (ie 2 weeks). I believe it needs to happen holistically, and if you’re like me, you feelings will continue to change over your lifetime. This is a bit outside my area of expertise so I might not know what I’m talking about, but you’re treating Christianity the way I treat alcohol. I either over-do or I don’t. Looking around, I see bazillions of people with a healthy, moderate relationship with alcohol. It’s the sort of thing I’m envious of. Can your relationship with Christianity be more moderate (if that’s what your feeling now).
I believe it should happen holistically as well, but I don’t know if it’s something that can be moderate in the sense that we think of it. For most people who are true, dedicated followers of a religion, it shapes their entire lives and the way they make decisions. That’s always the impression I’ve had, anyway.