Okay, so I have a confession to make.
After growing up as a Christian and learning to hone a relationship with God, I actually feel quite disappointed. Here’s why.
Back in the days when I was a teen, I remember listening to tons of sermons about God’s will for me and how He has wonderful things in store for my life and that I will rise up to become an adult who will eventually do great things for Him.
I guess most of us who grew up in Christian circles would be familiar with these sorts of positive messages, which were usually accompanied by an exhortation to lead a life that’s pure and holy by always standing up for what we believe in; sharing our faith with others; abstaining from pre-marital sex, drugs and every common kind of evil which tempts a teen; and developing a close and personal relationship with Jesus.
Looking back at those times, I guess I can see what these preachers and spiritual leaders were trying to accomplish. They were sowing seeds of faith in the lives of us youth, giving us hope for our distant future and encouraging us to plod along in our spiritual walk by telling us that it will all be worth something in the end.
I believe those words did get me through many difficult seasons in my teenage days. Days when I struggled with believing that I was someone of value to God or when I felt all alone and unnoticed as I did my best to serve God and maintain that fine balance in life where I was adhering to His commandments for my life and at the same time, excelling in my studies.
But in some ways, the awesome promises put across by those speakers of my teenage days often make me question if I have really ever attained that abundant life in God that I’m supposed to have possessed now that I’m an adult.
Back then, they could successfully encourage us by asking us to look ahead and believe that there was a whole lot of exciting things in store for our lives. So much potential lay before us. Studies had not yet been completed, careers and life partners still unchosen, financial decisions that would tie us down for many years to come a distant concern.
Here, however, in my 30s, I have experienced all these things already.
I have earned my passage rites into the working world, changed jobs, worked out a career path that is agreeable to my personality and achievable based on my given abilities.
I have dated, been proposed to, married and now have a child on the way.
My husband and I have made multiple decisions about money, some of which will impact our lives for years to come. Loans to pay. Investments made in earnest, in the hopes that we will have enough to survive in the twilight years of our lives.
Now that I am at this juncture of my life, I feel that everything is undeniably so… ordinary. Relating with others has taught me that much that I experience is common to what others go through. I am not particularly outstanding, I just am here and have a certain lot in life which God has graciously afforded me.
But there is no great plan that unfolded before me. No conquest into unknown worlds or slaying of giants. No throngs of people asking Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour all because of my life.
And so, I feel a tad disappointed.
Perhaps also thankful in a way… since if I had that wilderness wandering, death defying, giant slaying life I’d probably not be living the quiet, peaceful way that I am today.
I would likely not be married. Maybe not even have a full time job and would be instead a pastor or the head of some obscure church ministry. I’d be travelling to remote places to reach out to a group of strangers that I was somehow convicted about and believed God wants me to preach the gospel to. I’d have potentially no savings, and a huge treasure stored up in heaven.
Or perhaps that’s just the stereotype Christian martyr lifestyle that we were all raised to believe. It could all have been just a misguided concept of what the ideal Christian ought to be doing with their life.
The reality might be that God intended for me to be exactly where I am in life right now and that this is the spectacular future that He has always planned for me to possess.
There’s no denying there have been plenty of miracles and blessings I’ve encountered along the way. No fireworks or explosions or mighty signs and wonders though. Just tiny sparks of meaning, that remind me at just the right time that there is a God who cares about me after all.
It’s a dilemma of sorts that I face here. Whether to just be content with my lot in life and to give it my best shot, or whether to refuse to believe that this is all that there is to it, and to strive endlessly for that elusive Christian greatness that could be out there for me. Or might not be.
Either option requires faith. So perhaps choosing either response may not be wrong.
What do you think?