Jun
24

Sneakin’ My Jesus

By

Hi. My name is Kelly and I am a Christian. There, I said it.

Folks who know me might be thinking, Okay, Kelly, we know that. Not really sure where you’re going with this…Maybe I don’t either.

My last few posts have alluded to my struggle with the journey right now. I’m in such a strange place. So what is one to do when struggling with the journey? Me, I turn to therapy. And I turn to God.  I’m not sure which helps me more, but the truth is they both do. I need God in my life, more now than ever.  And I don’t want to feel weird about saying that.

You see, I used a lot of verbs in those posts describing what I’ve been doing during this time of struggle—waiting, getting, looking, hoping—but there was one I left out: praying. I’ve been doing a lot of that too.

I think a lot about God and my faith, but I don’t talk about it much. Truth be told, there are only a handful of people I really feel comfortable discussing the topic of faith and religion with. And I find that sad. Oh, sure, I make general, generic statements like “God brought my daughter to me” but I kind of leave those statements of faith out there lingering for just a bit until they fade off into the distance and we move on to other more palatable thoughts and topics. Mostly, I’m a closet Christian.

Before we moved, a good friend of mine sent me an email in which she wrote this:

Oh and I swear I am not becoming a crazy holy roller but my new found friend from church is trying to turn me on to Joel Osteen – he has some pretty good messages. This came about because we always lament about how we don’t always get much out of church, the homily, etc… how it would be nice to get a “hopeful” message that you can really bring into your real life.

My first thought when I read that was how sad it was that she felt she had to start off with a quasi-apology or an attempt to qualify the statement.  But maybe even sadder was the fact that I totally got why she did that and would have couched such a statement in a similar way. Because who wants a friend who is a crazy holy roller, right? No one needs that buzz kill.  Or do they?

While I can say that I find it sad that that there are only a handful of religious people in my life (whatever may qualify as “religious”), I also have to admit that there’s a big part of me that likes it that way. When I’m happy and hopeful and faithful, I can quietly thank God and praise God in my own way, and no one needs to know. Or when I’m angry with God, or questioning my faith, or just plain lazy because making my faith a priority is just too inconvenient, well, I can table my Christianity for the time being and there is no one to call me on it. No one knows if I pray or don’t. No one cares if I go to church or not.  No one is measuring my spiritual barometer—Am I Christian enough today? One way or another, there’s no one to judge.

To be honest, organized religion and group prayer have always kind of creeped me out a little. And I never liked anyone forcing religion on me as if it were something to sell.  Maybe that’s why I am the way I am—sneakin’ my Jesus.  I am not embarrassed by my faith. Not at all. I’m just quiet about it. I don’t feel the need to shout my faith from the rooftops or quote scripture (not that I could even if I wanted). But I am a faithful person. And a grateful person. I try to live my life with Christian values and a kind and generous spirit.

I have long conversations with God when I am alone in my car, the same way people (myself included) sing along with favorite songs when they think no one is listening or watching.  I go to bed every night and thank God for the blessings in my life and ask for strength as I try to wrestle away the worry of the day. I get to church from time to time, and I miss it when it’s been too long. (I always feel better when I go regularly.)

Most of the time my spiritual ways suit me fine. But there are times I need more. Times there are nagging feelings that I am not doing enough. Times when, if my faith is being tested, well, then I’m not doing very well. Times I think just living out Christian values and being a good person may not be enough. This, my friends, is one of those times. I need God in my life, and even though He IS in my life, I need to let Him and religion be a bigger, more visible part of my life. Maybe this post is a small start. Maybe that’s where I’m going with this.

Comments

  1. Helenie says:

    When I was about to make my very first communion in our Catholic Church back in Farmingdale, New York, I had to go to confession for the very first time. And back then, at 8 years old, I asked the nun why I had to tell the PRIEST my sins, that we were always told we could talk to God any time we wanted. I wondered WHY I had to go through a “middle man”…. I even referred to the priest as that. Well, Sister Saint Gerard (notice I remember her name 45 years later?) grabbed me by the hair and took me to the office and called my mother… who had to come down and assure Sister that I did NOT hear that at home and that she had absolutely no idea where I would get such a notion. I eventually made the confession to the priest and made my very first communion in the white dress and shiney white shoes. But I never lost the notion that I should not have to speak to a MIDDLE MAN if I was wanting to talk to God. Having said all that, I will also tell you that the repetition of the Catholic mass is a HUGE comfort for me, on those occasions I choose to attend. And I love the songs and the prayers and sometimes, even the Homily. And I’m always glad I went. But I also really dislike when the “message” of the day isn’t about hope and goodness and promise, when it’s about punishment and sinning and FEAR. I’m not a closet Catholic, I will tell anyone for any reason that I am a Catholic. But I will also tell anyone for any reason that I have God in my heart and in my soul and I don’t only find him in Church. Spirituality or Religion is such a personal thing… one size does NOT fit all. I use 12-Step program sayings as much as I do christian sayings…. so often that I really don’t remember which came from where. And here’s my two thoughts for you: Take what you need and leave the rest AND To thine own self be true. You’re out of the closet but you may find that people are just too uncomfortable talking about God in general conversation. They are either afraid or more likely, they don’t know what they believe themselves. So my friend, you can talk to ME anytime about God or religion or spirituality or Charlie or your parents. About the only thing I might not understand is what it’s like being a middle child. But you can talk to me about that too. I won’t let the miles get in the way of our friendship!!!! Even though I’m going to think you are out of your MIND the very first time you get a foot of snow and have to SHOVEL your way into your day!!!!!!!!
    I love you and miss you…. and maybe I’ll put you at the front of my prayer list when I lay my tired head on my pillow tonight. Every night before I go to sleep I thank God for another day. And tonight I will also thank Him for YOU!!!!!!!!!!

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    Kelly Reply:

    So interesting, Helene, how we all come to our faith. Even as a kid, there were some rules and doctrines about that Catholic church that just didn’t sit right with me, so I just ignored that part. It’s also why I went to the Episcopal church– more tolerant. More “hopeful” and loving but still with the similar ceremony about church that, like you, I find comforting. Love and miss you too!

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  2. Irene Landon says:

    I think most of us, who haven’t abandoned the Catholic church altogether, still have God in our hearts. We are still a prayerful group, as we should be. There is much to be grateful for and it is right to give thanks. And when there are troubles, it is comforting to turn to Him, who doesn’t give advice, just listens.

    Helene’s comment put tears in my eyes and her comment about school reminded me of when the Mother Superior smacked my open hand with a ruler for talking in class (which I wasn’t, I swear to God). My mom took me out of Catholic school pronto! Sometimes I don’t think those people even know what being Catholic was all about.

    But whatever you get comfort from, Kelly, even if it is a private thing – you don’t have to shout out your views – is a good thing. And you ARE a good, kind person whom I am so proud to call my daughter.

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  3. Aunt Debbie says:

    Kelly,
    You are an amazing, loving person, and I am proud that you are my niece. In regards to Christianity, my thought is; it is about relationship with God. God is the kindest person ever, so why wouldn’t we want to talk to Him and give time to listen.
    Aunt Debbie

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