Friends, we’re going deep today. There won’t be any pancakes, nutrition labels, or ab selfies here. I often find myself straying away from posts about religion (and politics) because they are so sensitive. They are by far the least “liked” or “commented on” posts that I do, which makes me believe that no one reads them or that no one is interested. It’s an excuse not to say the hard things sometimes. But that isn’t true. I know it’s not. I know that one person will read this message, and maybe it will change the way that that person looks at Jesus. Maybe it will lead 1 single person to Jesus. Isn’t that worth more than being #1 coach, than earning a six-figure income, than losing followers, than all of it?
I strayed away from religion and Christianity most of my young adult and adult life. I believe, like most people believe, that it was full of judgement, that it was black and white, that there was no room for you if you were gay, tattooed, broken, or anything less than perfect. So I made the choice to stay away.
I married a man who loves Jesus, who has never stopped loving Jesus, but who has made mistakes in his life, as we all have. Through the trials he faced, dealing with addiction and self-growth, he never stopped loving Jesus, he never stopped talking to Jesus, and he never felt unworthy of Jesus’s love for him. Because of this, and the influence of so many other incredible people in my life, I began forming what is now my faith, my belief system.
I try to live my truth, my entire life, very openly, very freely, without editing my beliefs. I do this because I only started to believe in Jesus, to follow Him, and eventually accepted Him because of the love my less-than-perfect husband had for Him. It wasn’t because of the protestors threatening me to Hell if I didn’t change my ways, and it wasn’t because of the cruel comments left on Instagram and Facebook photos. It was because I believed that through all of my flaws, through all of my beliefs, that Jesus met me right where I was. He didn’t ask me to hide, to lie, to shy away. Humans had asked that, but never Him. Of course there are challenges that come with being a Christian that may make you grow and change, but that’s only because of conviction from Him, and because your heart is changing. If and when that happens to you, you’ll know. It won’t necessarily make it any easier, but you’ll be certain it’s for good reason.
But no matter what I believed in, what I read, what I was told in church, I couldn’t help but notice the very judgmental Christians that still made their feelings very clear on lots of topics, so because I’m human, there has always been some doubt in my mind. “Can it really be that easy? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Jesus doesn’t love me just because I’ve accepted him. Maybe the billboards, the Facebook comments, the protestors with the signs condemning me are right.”
This past week in church, I was reminded, or maybe even taught, a very humbling message of Jesus. It’s the message that made me fall in love with Him. It’s the message that I wish every single person on this planet could hear. It’s the perfect elevator pitch for Jesus. But it’s not told nearly enough. It’s the message of loving others, having empathy, forgiving others, holding back judgement, and remaining humble – because Jesus did, and still does. It’s the message that there is only 1 person who is qualified to judge and condemn, but doesn’t.
I’ll be very honest with you guys. The thought of death scares me. Like scares me to the point that I could cry on command. Seems confusing, right? I love Jesus, I believe in Him, I know where I’m headed when this life is over, but I’m still completely terrified. Maybe it’s a control issue, maybe it’s the fact that no one really knows what that looks like, maybe it’s totally normal and lots of Christians just don’t say it. Either way – it’s how I feel. But for the first time in my life, on Sunday, hearing that message, I had this moment where my heart wanted to explode at the thought of meeting Jesus one day. Just pure excitement, nothing else. I know it sounds very childish and probably nuts, but I had this vision of just jumping into his arms for a hug, and feeling this love that I can’t describe. Like if you combined the love I feel when my dad hugs me, the love I feel when my husband holds me, the love I feel when my dogs cuddle me, and the love I feel walking around Target (don’t judge), all wrapped into one. That kind of love.
So for all of my friends who are reading this and aren’t Christians or believers of Jesus, if you’re still reading, I don’t know how I didn’t lose you already. But seriously, this is just my heart. The Christian foundation (I don’t know if that’s a thing), the church, no one asked me to share this. I can honestly tell you that just a few short years ago, I stood where you stand. I didn’t believe, not one bit. Even worse, there was a point when I believed enough to utter the phrase “I hate God”. There is nothing that you can’t come back from, and there is no possible way that you’re being judged by anyone who matters.
Now, you’re probably expecting me to say “stand up if you’ve accepted Jesus after hearing this message.” Sound familiar? Used to scareeeee me. Yuck. Ew. I’m not standing. That’s weird. They’re weird. Cult.
So I’m not going to say that. But I am going to encourage you to learn, to research, to reach out if you have questions. If you decide it’s still not for you, at least you have a better understanding of what the crazy Christians believe, right?
If you need a place to start, this is the message that I heard on Sunday that prompted all of these shared feelings you’re reading today.