How I came to Christ III: My life after becoming a Christian

What changed after I accepted Christ?
Nothing.
Everything.
(If you’re interested in what my life was like before I made that decision, or why I did, take a look at my posts: How I came to Christ, parts I and II respectively.)
I still have good days and bad days. In truth, some of the hardest days of my life have come since becoming a Christian.

I know that some people become Christians and all there problems go away. They are happy all the time. All there problems shrink. All the sinful aspects of their lives go away. They are healed instantly, and they are whole.
If you’re looking for these, you’ll have to go looking somewhere else. This wasn’t my experience. I think I’m overall happier, but Jesus is not uber-prozac; people who know me would be the first to tell you I’m not somebody whose always got a smile on his face. (I’m a firm believer in psychiatric medications; no disrespect is meant at the prozac crack.)
So what’s changed? What’s the point? Why bother?

I believe for most people, becoming a Christian is the beginning of a journey toward Truth. I’m open to the possibility that some people are teleported to the truth, Star-Trek style. But for most of us, it glorifies God that we walk… and it is a long walk.
The difference between being embarked on an epic journey and randomly wandering is mostly whether or not you have a destination.
There was a time I wandered through life. Now I am embarked on an epic journey.
This meaning of the whole trip converys meaning to every little step. When I experience the metaphorical equivalent of a strained ankle or a blister, it is a blister I have in the name of my creator and redeemer.
When I’m at my best I feel the troubles of life less sharply and the joys of life more accutely. The idea that I am loved, that I am deeply and truly and loved, changes everything…
when I let it.

When I am praying, when I am serving, when I am in the scripture… not just reading it for geeky show off points, not just reading it to earn brownie points with God, not just reading it to garner support for presuppositions I had before even opening the bible… in short, when I’m reading the bible the right way; when it’s more an act of love and communication than a task a set of propostions…
When all these things happen my every day reality is transformed in profound, inexplicable, and deep ways.
When I don’t engage in these acts of love and communication with my creator, my life is not really much different than it was before Jesus was a part of it.

I don’t really mean that last sentence. Except that I exactly do.

It’s frustrating to try and put words to this. The simple act of orienting my life toward Jesus, of accepting Him into my heart, this is an action which is much greater than everybody ever said… and at the same time, if I don’t follow it up, with actions, if my confession is just for show, it’s exactly, at the same time, much less, too… But when I do follow it up, when my confession is one that penetrates me, when I know that it is heart-felt because it spurs me on to act on it… then everything is so different.

This makes it sound like Christ is only with me sometimes… and this, too, isn’t right. He is with me. But it’s more like, sometimes I’m with him, and other times, when he says “Follow me.” I say, “uhhm, I think I’ll take this short cut over here.”
I say this forgetting that the Israelite’s short cut lead to 40 years in the desert.
Evem when I go my way Jesus rains manna of all sorts on me. He doesn’t leave me even though I leave him… He continues to call after me, and I hear him, and sometimes I turn and follow, and sometimes I don’t… And I guess this is the story of the whole human race, of all human history.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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