I was born and raised in America. Therefore, I am an American.
I went to school and I graduated. Therefore, I am a graduate.
I got married. Therefore, I am a wife.
I gave birth to a baby. Therefore, I am a mom.
I regularly go to church. Therefore, I am a church-goer.
I was born into a Catholic family and raised Catholic. Therefore, I understand Catholicism.
Wait… what? Notice that I didn’t say that I’m a Christian (or Catholic) because my family is and therefore I am. I didn’t say I’m a Christian because I grew up going to church. I didn’t say I’m a Christian because I was confirmed at some point through the Catholic (or any other denomination of) church. (I actually never was “confirmed” in the traditional Catholic sense.) I didn’t say I’m Christian because I vaguely believe in some form of a god or higher power. I didn’t say I’m a Christian because isn’t that what Americans are??
I had a moment five years ago when I chose to follow Jesus Christ with all of my life. Therefore, I am a CHRISTian.
Being a CHRISTian doesn’t just happen because we grew up in a Christian home or with a church-going family. CHRISTianity is not a set of rules or traditions to follow. It’s not a default because of our nation, neighborhood, family or family church. It’s a choice. A very simple choice, although, it’s not always easy.
Being CHRISTian is a choice to put CHRIST first in everything we do. It’s a choice to follow His leading, no matter what He’s asking. It’s a choice to love and show love like He does, no matter who we’re facing. (And He loves EVERY person.) It’s a choice to the right thing, even when it’s really hard. It’s a choice to pray with and for every person that He died to save (READ: EVERYONE). It’s a choice to trust Him, even if it makes us seem kinda weird.
I’m aware that I’m not the standard when Americans think of Christians; I’m a true Christ follower. I’m a CHISTian – a “follower of Christ”. Which is what the word literally means. As I go through my days here on earth, I try to consciously ask myself, “what would Jesus actually do in this situation?” And then I ask Him for myself. And I listen for an answer. That seems weird, but it usually gives me the ability to love you, even if I don’t like you.
Therefore, I won’t bash you for your beliefs. I won’t bash you for your lifestyle. I won’t protest your lifestyle. I won’t protest your choices. I won’t tell you who to vote for. I won’t tell you which bathroom to use. I won’t post things on social media that will start a fight. I won’t fight with anyone on social media at all. I won’t fight people. I won’t tell you that you’re going to hell if you disagree with me.
I could go on.
However, I will pray for you. I will talk and post about Jesus a lot, even if it makes you uncomfortable. I will love you. I will boldly walk up to people I do and don’t know to share who I have received. I will pray in public. I will probably look strange to you if you aren’t the same “kind” of Christian, or if you aren’t one at all. I will be bold with my faith. I will do things that seem weird if God asks me to.
I could go on.
My God is real. More real than anything and anyone I’ve ever known. He knows me in ways that nobody else ever could – including me! He loves me unconditionally and meets me right where I’m at. I don’t have to change to “be better” to go to Him. He will continue to make changes in me and I consider it a blessing when He does. Even if the rest of the world sees those changes as weird, or however they see them. I’m not the same woman I was five years ago. And I thank God that I’m not!
I’m a CHRISTian. A Christ follower. I pray that you are or will be too.
If that’s something that you want to know more about, here is a great starting place.