Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who am I?

I present this question in two ways.

To start, maybe you'd like to know. I'll give you a little background.

I was raised in a broken household (rather two households), and on one side was my mother, a completely non-practicing Catholic, and on the other was my father, a completely non-practicing Jew. My mom is non-religious, where my dad is anti-any-religion-that-is-Christ-based. I grew up knowing nothing about God.

By the time I reached an age where virtually everyone had some basis of faith in their lives, I had the opposite. Even as I say this I feel ashamed, but I laughed at it. I thought it was silly and couldn't understand how anyone could believe it. I was immediately turned off and my guard went up when a conversation turned down a religious path. I would feel uncomfortable immediately when people would mention God, Jesus, or prayer. I felt resentful that so many people could be so happy and fulfilled believing a big made-up story. The worst part is as much as I thought the whole thing was a joke, deep down I didn't know the first thing about the Bible or the teachings of Jesus. Still, I rolled my eyes. To me, the Bible was nothing but a book of short stories with good morals.

But I wasn't a bad person. I like to think I've always had a good heart, despite my upbringing (which I can tell you was troubled far beyond a lack of God). I've always believed in being accepting, sweet, caring, forgiving, generous, and passionate. I had been asked on a few occasions if I was Christian, because I "seemed" like I was. But I was anything but.

My belief was that "everything happens for a reason." I believed in fate and destiny. Not God's Plan, but in the sense that the universe was responsible for how things happened. Very recently, during an in depth conversation with someone who seemed to believe all the same basic ideas, except with the addition of a strong faith in Christ, I was asked, "why not give credit where credit's due?" We continued to talk. Over the past month, we have had many conversations on scripture and Jesus. Though previously hardened to the topic and unwilling to learn or consider, I began to feel a great need to learn as much as I could; like an empty bucket that I couldn't fill fast enough. It felt really strange to want so much to learn about God, but I know myself, and I know logically I can't feel good about any decision unless I'm fully educated.

He told me during one of our talks, that he felt that God was trying to get my attention by surrounding me with people who have a strong faith in Him lately. I knew it was partially true - though I had never grown up with it or had friends or boyfriends with it, most of the people I spend time around lately (my boyfriend, my best friend, my co-workers...) all have a strong faith and a strong background in living a Christian life. And that got my attention, since I've always looked for signs and signals.

It began as nothing more than an analytical study, but something started to grow inside of me. The more I would hear, the more this anxious, excited feeling would build inside me. It was foreign but I accepted it, and started to love it. I found comfort in it. The more I would learn, the more I wanted to know. I started talking to my best friend about his faith and about church services, a subject we had never really discussed before. He invited me to come with him to church, but I felt really apprehensive. I had literally never been! (Other than Catholic Mass on Easter Sunday a couple times when I was very young.) I had no idea what to expect.

So I started listening to sermons online. I started reading books. I started visiting websites.

I realized a lot of things about myself. I had always had this empty place inside, which I had excused in a lot of ways. Maybe a lack of love and security from my parents. Maybe because I wasn't ever good enough for them or for myself, and because I wouldn't ever be good enough. Maybe it was because I hadn't met someone who cared about me enough to fill that spot. Maybe I just didn't feel loved.

What I learned is that my empty place was a place for God. I learned that God loves perfectly, and that he loves me perfectly. Although I had shunned Him and built a wall around myself to guard against Him, He was waiting for me to let Him in. He wanted to hang out with me. The more I thought about it, the more I felt it. Deep down in the pit of my stomach.

The acknowledgment of the Lord was single-handedly the most comforting and exciting thing I've felt before. All of a sudden, things seemed to make more sense. I realized that I am loved and protected. No matter what mistakes I've made or where I fall short, I'm forgiven and I'm still loved completely.

Nothing in the world could compare to that.

So who am I? I've wondered that all my life. And I still wonder. But the one thing I've learned, and the most important, is that I am His child.

I started this to document my journey in meeting and getting to know God. It's a new and exciting world, and the most important relationship I will ever have.

I have a lot to learn about Him. But He already knows me completely.

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