I did it — I made my decision. I’ve been thinking about it since last summer, a little less than a year ago. I still think that looking back, maybe that wasn’t enough time, but then again — haven’t I been thinking about it since college, since freshman and sophomore year when I gave myself permission to let it go and come back on my own terms? Haven’t I been thinking about it since 8th grade when I made the first recommitment (or commitment, or whatever you want to call it)? Haven’t I kind of been thinking about it since I was 8 years old and did it by myself the first time, in bed, silently?
April 2, 2018 was when I made the decision, for the second and final time, to follow Jesus. “Follow Jesus” is the wording I’ve settled on to tell people. I despise the Christian-y phrases we use in churches today; I think they have been cheapened, like “saved” or “accepted Jesus” or “became a Christian.” It just makes me cringe to say it like that. But while “follow Jesus” has a bit of that same cringey-ness, I think it’s the best description of what I’ve done.
I’ve realized that when I was in high school trying to be a good Christian, I was focused on what I was trying to get out of the relationship. I knew in my head that Jesus was the main point, but I didn’t truly understand it. I don’t think I’ll ever 100% get it, but having looked at Christianity from an outside perspective, I understand it better. I’m drawn back to Christianity — to Jesus, actually — not because of the church or the people (because though there are good ones, we all know the reputation Christians have). No, I’m drawn to it because the story of Jesus, and the overarching story of history, is absolutely astounding. The evidence for his life is incredible and continues to be confirmed in secular and religious circles. Like honestly, Jesus is so cool. That sounds so 90s youth pastor corny, but it’s true. It’s true. And I want that.
I want to give a shout-out — my sister and my best friend have been my biggest real-life influences in making this decision. Neither of them are perfect. I don’t want to throw either of them under the bus, but truly, they are 100% human, just like me. Despite that, they both wholeheartedly love Jesus, the real Jesus, and because of that, like literally as a direct result of that, I have seen some incredible things happen to both of them. I have seen them be given exact amounts of money right when they needed it. I have seen them struggle with their beliefs because of Jesus. I’ve seen them make scary life decisions that became some of the best and some of the worst times of their lives because of Jesus. They’ve both had shitty things happen to them recently and they’re both trying to get out from under the weight of those things. But even through all of that, it’s obvious that they both just truly love Jesus. And they’ve both supported me through my little spiritual exploration, not pressuring me or guilting me, but listening to me and understanding my thoughts and celebrating when I made my final decision. That’s true Christianity, and that’s the kind I want for myself. The kind where the love of and awe for Jesus comes first, and everything else comes second.
I’m putting this on my blog for a couple of reasons. One is because a lot of the thoughts I’ve had about Christianity through the years are documented here. It makes sense to continue that. But the other one is because I can already tell that this time, in contrast to my high school Christianity, is going to be different in a lot of ways. One of those is that I want to be transparent. To do this completely, the way I want and need to, I need to be all-in, and that involves being honest.
I have to admit I am worried about alienating some of you who I consider blog friends. I know that a lot of the people who mutually follow and interact on this blog are not Christians and have no desire to be. I want to point out that while I don’t want Mission:Incomplete to turn into a Jesus blog (because honestly, I hate those myself), I probably will bring it up from time to time. That’s part of my honest human experience, and isn’t that what we’re all trying to document in our own ways?
That’s about it, y’all. I want to follow Jesus because I believe what he said about himself and I’ve thought it all through and done research and watched other Christians in my life say over and over again that yes, it is worth it. I’m honestly low-key terrified at what I’ve done, but I’m going ahead with it.
Feel free to ask me any question at all if you’re reading this and being like, “Sarah, what the crap?”