Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Why I don't feel like a good Christian
I remember very early in my faith experience the amount of guilt that I encountered. Usually the guilt revolved around some aspect that I was not giving enough attention to, like not praying enough, not giving enough, not witnessing enough. And since I tend to be a maximizer, always wanting to do better, always improve on something, this guilt seemed to make sense. How else would I be a better person of faith if I didn't have something nagging me? Likely I would turn soft without it, maybe even abandon the faith altogether. I don't know if its just me, but I seemed to encounter this guilt everywhere I went. It could be the lenses I viewed life through, but something caused me to finally notice it and start to ask, "Is this right?" I remember once hearing a new pastor talk about the importance of having a daily time of bible reading and prayer. He took his audience through how he did this, and I was struck by the shame of his responses. Things like: "God, show me where I've been wrong." "God, show me what I need to do better." "God, I'm sorry I don't do a better job at ......." (fill in the blank. He had several) There was a time when that would have made perfect sense to me, but something, maybe this mid-life thing, caused me to question and reflect on that incident. I'm a dad. I love my two kids dearly. They bring me lots of joy. They both make me laugh in their unique ways. My relationship with them, though, is not centered around all the things they didn't do during the day. I've not trained them to ask me to tell them how they've constantly screwed up or let me down. I try and make sure they know that they are loved and that life does not center around them. This is how I'm trying to change my view of interacting with God; less guilty, more free. It would seem like a preferable and, therefore, relatively easy change to make, but you'd be surprised how several years of guilt thinking become hard to break.