Religion: even the word sounds boring. When I think of the word religion, all of these awful, horribly boring thoughts go through my head. But if I'm completely horrified at the thought of religion, why would I even consider myself a Christian?
I was raised by wonderful Christian parents who took me to church every Sunday. They never forced me to believe anything, and I decided when I wanted to make my relationship with Christ real. I was raised in the church, and even went to a Christian school, but I can tell you that those things are enough to make you an atheist. So what saved me? When all of the rules, politics, and scandals fall away, there is only one thing that stands: my relationship with God.
I believe that God created the Earth and gave us free will to choose our fate. I don't believe this because of my parents. I see His power in the light of the stars, the crashing of waves, and something as simple as the fingers on my hand. I know that something this beautiful couldn't have happened on accident. I also believe that Jesus came to Earth, lived a perfect life, then died for our sins and rose again in three days. I have felt so much grace in my life, and I see it as solid proof of His existence. With all of the awful things I do, I feel acceptance, love, and grace from a God that I can call Father.
The "religion" of Christianity hasn't only impacted my life; it's shaped it. I've chosen to live in a way that's different from most young women. To be frank, I don't smoke, drink, have sex, or party. Don't roll your eyes yet; I promise you, I'm a mess. The Bible says that all sin is equal in God's eyes, and this has shaped how I look at people. My struggles with anxiety, anger, gossip, and pride are just as bad as those listed above. Christians come off as so judgmental, and it makes me sick. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says "...But the greatest of these is love." I am not called to judge anyone, but instead, show others the love that I feel from my God.
I promise you, there are churches out there that will make you feel welcome, rather than awkward. I attend church every Sunday at Christ Fellowship Church in West Palm Beach, and I have not once cringed or winced at something the pastor said. Many people say, "Well they're all hypocrites in church." The way I see it is in any group of people, there are going to be hypocrites. The only difference is that people in the church know it and want to change it. If you have any interest in Christianity, I'd encourage you to just sit down with a Bible and dig. When you scrape away the hatred, legalism, and overall filth of "religion," you'll see a simple picture: you and God walking together.
That's my "religion" in a nutshell. So regardless of what you've heard about Christians, I don't hate homosexuals, I won't stuff a Bible down your throat, and I eat at fast food places other than Chick-fil-A. I'm an average girl who has something precious and perfect in my grasp: my identity in Christ.