For as long as I can remember I have always believed in God, it wasn’t pushed on me as a child, I wasn’t sent to Sunday School, a Christian school or anything, I just KNEW for some reason that God was real and that I could talk to him… I think thats pretty cool.
Although I felt this way, due to the fact that I wasn’t brought in a “religious” household – or a household of faith – that’s all I ever knew, I didn’t know much about church, I didn’t know anyone else who felt the same and I certainly didn’t know who God is! It wasn’t until I was around 14 that my little brother said he wanted to go to church – he was about 5 at the time!!
So one Sunday we all turned up to the church he had pointed out and sat kind of awkwardly amongst a lot of people who seemed to know what they were doing – the rest of that part of my story isn’t relevant to todays post but I’ll write a testimony one day! After a couple of years of attending this church many things happened in our personal lives separately and as a family, I personally hadn’t felt too connected to the church as a whole so when my family stopped going so did I.
My best friend at the time had been telling me all about her church, what the youth leaders were like, the types of craziness they got up to and that it was completely different to the traditional church I had only ever experienced. When I finally gave in and attended this church I instantly felt a connection… and I haven’t left! My family however, did not join me on this new adventure, they have been a couple times to support me if I am speaking or for Christmas but other than that, its just me.
So what is it like being in a household of 6 people and being the Christian?
The short answer? It’s tough.
It’s tough not because anyone makes it tough, I am totally supported, as far as my family is concerned, what I get up to on a Sunday morning is my business! But being a Christian isn’t just about putting on your Sunday Christian face and being polite for a couple hours, when you truly give your life to the Lord your eyes are opened and your LIFE CHANGES!
So yes, I get up for church on a Sunday morning but I also study my Bible as much and as best I can, different things are important to me while others no longer have a hold on me and when you start to change, the people around you notice, it can be confusing to them, annoying even. I remember telling one person that I wouldn’t marry someone unless they were a christian, they immediately got defensive! It’s not because I think I am better than anyone else but from a simple point of view, if I am going to marry someone I am going to want kids with them and having parents with different beliefs isn’t going to help the poor little guys, they already have me as a mum! – But anyways, back to the point!
The things I watch, the music I listen to, the books I read even the way I dress has been affected by my faith, as you probably know, your family and the people you live with are often the people that are closest to you and when they notice these things it can be difficult.
One very big example for me personally is my health, as you probably know I am ill, I have something called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia which means I spend pretty much all of my time either in pain or incredibly tried… or both. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that my faith is one of the most important things to me, it can be hard for some family members to understand why I would want to use up energy on attending youth events or stop resting after an episode to get up and go to church.
For me, no matter what condition I am in my goal is to be at church on a Sunday or read my bible or listen to worship music – SOMETHING. If I think I can manage it I will do it, even if that means spending the rest of the day in bed or in pain!
The main thing I have learnt from these experiences is to explain as best I can that these things are important to me – those who love you won’t care unless you’re happy so that will be enough for them – I also make sure that I am still looking after myself and am not afraid to show the benefits of these things! If i go to church feeling the WORST, get some prayer and come back feeling better… even if its only a little bit! I will let everyone know!
Something else that can be challenging is the pressure to represent God well, God is love, he acts out of love so lashing out at a sibling because they offended me or took my stuff isn’t representing God correctly. We all make mistakes and thats ok, but no one sees that more than the people you’re closest too, they choose to love you anyway but when you feel like you have to represent God on top of that it can get hard and confusing.
I have learnt to give myself a bit of a break, those around me KNOW when I have a lot going on and they’re not just going to assume that “well that’s how God must be then!” but equally it is in those exact moments that we should take a breath and think about how Jesus would react to the situation, would he snap at his mother? Never. Would he glare at his father? Of course not!
Once you become a Christian, whether you like it or not you now represent the one who created the sun and the stars and although that might not seem particularly fair, its just how it is, because our human brains go “oh she’s a GREAT christian” don’t give them a reason to be sarcastic with that statement but also remember that you’re NOT God, you’re not expected to be Him to anyone, you just have to do the best you can!