When I Doubt if I’m a Christian…
Every now and then, I wonder plaintively if I truly am a Christian in the most authentic parts of me. If it were all stripped away—my upbringing, my prejudices, my culture, all the things this world has given to me that have led me to the belief that Jesus is real and He is the Son of God and the key to fulfillment and eternal life. I wonder if Jesus is nothing more than a safety blanket, a construct of humanity designed to drive us and give us purpose in an otherwise purposeless existence (whoa…that totally sounds like I pulled it straight from The Matrix Trilogy!).
So I think…what if? What if I abandon it all and live my life as a non-Christian? What if I just drop all these beliefs I’ve been lugging around my whole life and run free? If I’m better off without religion, wouldn’t that prove none of it matters anyway?
I try that sometimes, in my head. And guess what? I can’t do it.
The thing that draws me back to the Gospel like a prodigal child is the realization that life apart from Christ is just entirely inconceivable to me. A framework for viewing my world and my life and my spirituality that doesn’t revolve around the cross of Jesus is entirely unfathomable—nothing would make sense without it. Of course then I think, That’s just your upbringing speaking, Tiff. You just feel that way because you were raised in a predominantly Christian nation by firm Bible-believing parents.
But I believe I have come to know the recesses of my heart well enough to know beyond a shadow of doubt now that this isn’t true. That there is something deep inside of me with which the Gospel rings clear as Truth. Clear as Love. Clear as Light. There is a part of my heart that lines up with Jesus’ life, death, and teachings in a way that is both exhilarating and sobering to me—kind of in the same way that holiness is supposed to feel, I think. I can’t explain it at all but it is there.
And I wonder if that piece of me that resonates so deeply with the Gospel is the reality of faith. That mystical, illusive feeling that Jesus holds the key to life like nothing else does. I think trusting in that—letting that sensation of Jesus’ sovereignty completely saturate the way I think about Christianity—maybe that is what faith is. Maybe that is why the label “Christian” truly is the only religious label that will ever fit me.