In case you hadn’t noticed, I gave my blog a bit of a makeover a few weeks ago: simpler theme, new about page, improved blog description. I had been wanting to change my theme for awhile, but I had no plans to make any other changes besides that; the about page and new description just kind of happened. It seemed right.
The only change that I felt any sense of hesitation about was the inclusion of one little word in my blog description:
It’s a totally innocuous word for me and for my readers. But if you’ve read my blog you know I’ve had somewhat of an ambiguous relationship with religion for the last few years. For a long time I wasn’t sure if the label of “Christian” applied to me, or if I wanted it to: prayer was more like a chore than a joy, I felt like I didn’t belong when I attended church each Sunday, teachings and morals that I once considered law had come into question. I believed, but cautiously and half-heartedly. I felt unqualified or like a fraud whenever I considered writing about faith on this blog because of my mixed feelings for it, so I tried to keep this space as faith- and religion-neutral as possible. Adding that word to my blog description felt like a risk.
But I never totally gave up on that aspect of my identity, no matter how far-removed I sometimes felt from it. There was always something in me that knew that it would all start making sense to me again and that I would embrace it wholly instead of just being Christian in name only. I just never knew when that would be.
I think that great “when” is coming, though. In the few weeks that have passed since my blog make-over, I’ve been feeling more comfortable attending church. Quiet reflection is becoming gradually easier. I’ve been seeing scripture and the Gospel in a new light: one of joy and hope and practicality instead of burdensome obligation and loftiness. All this is happening in the season of Advent, a season of new beginnings and hope and standing on tip-toes and waiting on bated breath as the world anticipates the celebration of the birth of Jesus and looks forward to his next coming. The timing of my rekindled interest in my faith couldn’t be more perfect.
And for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel as much hesitation in calling myself a Christian, or in sharing that part of my life on this blog. Not because I feel like my relationship with God has been restored to what it was three years ago when my convictions were still fierce, but because I know that new and changing ways of seeing and understanding Jesus and the Gospel are a sign of growth, not drifting away. Because I know that my life as a Christian is a journey, ever winding, ever twisting, ever changing–I don’t have to have everything figured out. I just have to trust that I’ll learn what I need to know in its due time. And because I know that being a Christian, though demanding, is rather simple at its core–love, goodness, trust, hope. And I don’t need any special qualifications to partake in that. I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to feel super holy after leaving church or have mind-blowing experiences in prayer. I don’t need to earn the name of “Christian.” I just have to want it. And then pursue it.
And I think I’m ready to throw myself head-first into that adventure again. I might not have all my feelings for faith sorted out quite yet, but the uncertainty I feel about including the word “Christian” in my blog description is outweighed by the promises that I feel are being offered to me by going with the flow and diving in: hope, joy, positivity, and a sense of purpose.
And those are things that I think I could use a little more of in my life.