Once upon a time, there was a little girl who had a wild imagination. She had wondered about the mysteries of God and the universe since she was very young and continues to do so to this day. Her road to knowing Christ was a bumpy one, although many had always assumed that she was a perfect Christian. She never did what many would consider “major sins”. Therefore everyone assumed that she was okay. But the truth was that in her heart and mind, there was a constant battle. She was never sure why she had chosen Christianity; she remembered that when she was seven she had misunderstood a youth leader at Vacation Bible School and only became a Christian because she was afraid of Hell. And for a while, that was reason enough. For many years, she made Christianity just another small part of her life while she tried to be a “good person” because she didn’t want to remember that she was afraid.
That girl used to be me. I used to be a coward; the biggest coward I knew. I used to feel that I had to keep pretending to be someone else, to put on a mask so that people would still love me. I suppose some people had to have seen into my act; I couldn’t completely put on a front and have people not become suspicious of why I acted like I had my life all squared away. But it was mainly the quiet nature that I had while I was younger that hid this.
For the longest time, I didn’t quite understand Christianity. I would hear one group shout out rules and regulations, another group would banish all the rules, and still another group would hate all the other groups. I may have known all the answers to questions in my Bible classes, but if you could look into my soul at that time, I hardly had a clue what I was talking about.
I was faced with extremists! I didn’t know where to go or what to do. So I mainly just ignored it, only “being on fire” for God when I’d go up to Hume Lake during the summer. But even then, I only had a taste of what I could have been experiencing every day.
All of this confusion sparked many of my fears. I was afraid of doing something wrong. I was afraid of being wrong in my beliefs and going to Hell. And for some time, I was even afraid of God.
Don’t ask me how I was afraid of any of these things rationally. These were the most irrational fears I had. But I think that’s because for a long time my faith was irrational.
It wasn’t until this year that I finally woke up and realized that I shouldn’t be fake about who I am anymore. I’ve seen all the wondrous things that God has done for people. I’ve seen how being filled with the Holy Spirit can bring people joy, and peace.
I’m saying this because I know that there are so many people out there who are like me: It’s not just about being a good person all the time and acting like your life is perfect won’t fix anything. All it does is make you feel alone and terrified inside.
But now, I’m not afraid anymore. All of that ridiculous but very real fear has been replaced by God’s peace.
I’m a Christian because I know that I no longer have to be afraid.