I’m a bad Christian. I could list all the many reasons why, but I’d prefer if you just took my word for it. I had this idea growing up that my spirituality could only get better with age. But the truth is I’ve never felt more insecure in my religion, more doubtful in my faith.
There have been a fairly decent number of people in my past who have told me how lucky I am to have the knowledge about Christianity that I do at such a young age. About how they wish they would have been more like me at this season in their life. Etc. You know, things people say to you when they don’t know what’s in the depths of your heart.
Back then, my goal was to be a “good Christian”, or “one of the few” in my generation who turned the tide and stood for truth or led the pack to victory (whatever that means). I would go back and forth between a sense of absolute failure and a hoo-rah sort of push forward. And when people told me I seemed like such a mature believer, I wanted that to be a sign I was headed in the right direction.
But you see, I’m not a good Christian. I’ve done my best to manage people’s perception of myself, had nervous breakdowns in pursuit of perfection, judged other people according to the standard I could not live up to myself and then sunk into depression as a result. I was desperately seeking this fulfilling lifestyle I had been promised by the ultra-conservative-christian corner of believers and came up wanting with every search. I would assume the problem was with me and dive deeper, certain I would find something to fill the ever-darkening void in my heart.
When I gave birth to my daughter, Juniper, I became too tired and laden with hormones and post-partum health issues to continue this draining pursuit of my elusive spirituality. I couldn’t do it anymore.
And I’ve never come so close to abandoning my faith entirely.
This realization that I was barely holding on to my faith left me with a sense of extreme guilt and shame and fear. Fear of hell. Fear of people being disappointed in me. Fear of leading my child astray. Fear of God not existing and then fear that God did exist and He was waiting for the perfect opportunity to take away everything I loved and watch me suffer.
There are many things in my life and in my belief system that are in a mode of de-construction. I’ve finally settled in the idea that God is tearing down this false spirituality in my life so that He can correct all the many flaws and cracks. And does it hurt like hell.
I’ve been avoiding God lately. Mostly because I’ve had feelings of anger inside and I don’t like feeling angry. But in the car with the radio down the other day, I told God how I felt. That I was bitter. Angry. That I didn’t particularly trust Him right now and I certainly didn’t feel any love towards Him.
Simultaneously I felt relief and guilt in the honesty. Guilt because this isn’t something a “good christian” tells God to His face. But in that moment of honesty, I asked myself, “Why am I so obsessed with being a ‘good’ or ‘mature’ Christian?”
Why had I been so consumed with being “one of the few” committed to holiness and discipleship, focused on my own good deeds instead of identifying as one of the MANY who needs Jesus? Why was I so focused on my own righteousness (which doesn’t exist) instead of the righteousness of God?
I purposed in my heart to quit trying to be the “good Christian” and to instead admit that I am a bad one. Hi, I’m Chelsea and I’m a bad Christian. Right now I’m not really sure how I feel about God, but I’m choosing to trust that He cares about me and refuses to leave me here. He’s going to grow me, just as soon as finishes cleaning out the spiritual soot that I and so many others have been choking on.
Hi, I’m Chelsea and I take medication for anxiety. I battle seasons of depression, say bad words, and am a people pleaser. But God is doing a remodel in my heart. I know He is. And right now the mess is ugly, but I’m hoping once the subway tile and hardwood floors go in I’ll start to look a little better. Because I have to, I CHOOSE to believe He isn’t done with me yet. And at the end of it all, it’ll be Him who gets the glory instead of me. Because I am not one of the few, I am one of the many who desperately needs Jesus.