Since becoming Christian at the beginning of high school, I have never really doubted. Of course, I have had the occasional “oh my goodness this seems so unfair” when I put money into a soda machine, and nothing comes out (#rude). But in reality, the Gospel is anything but fair. Jesus dying is not fair. It should be us on that cross. It most definitely should be us.
However, this weekend (well starting Thursday night, but same dif), I found myself up all night. Which is crazy considering I have a prescription for sleeping medicine. I was screaming, crying, worrying, calling my old Bible study leader, calling adults from my high school church, and if I had the Pope’s number, you bet your booties I would have speed dialed him so quickly, too. Here’s why.
I am majoring in special education, therefore I am taking a number of education classes. One class in particular is called Critical Issues in Education. So what do we do in there? Talk about critical issues in education. Duh people. On Thursday afternoon, the topic just so happened to be regarding the Texas State Board of Education. There is a man on the board that is EXTREMELY (and I do mean extremely) literal in his interpretations of the Bible. Which, it is his right to be. But the problem we were discussing is that he is trying to push his beliefs into the wording of various textbooks for public schools. Obviously, this is not acceptable for a multitude of reasons. However, he is finessing the system anyways. If I ever go to jail, no doubt his booty is racing to the judge to be my lawyer. The main thing I want to get across though is that one of the things this man believes is that the earth is 6,000 years old. I have never in my life heard this before. So when I did hear, it really shocked me because of all of the evidence that points against it. My entire class and I, professor included, could not wrap our heads around why he believed it. (I want to emphasize again that people’s beliefs are their beliefs, and they can believe what they want whether or not I do, though).
Blahblahblah, the class ended. Later that night I was meeting up with my friend from Bible study. We were catching up and telling each other what we had been up to earlier that day (duh because that’s what friends do). Anyways, I just want to say that at this time, I was unaware that the earth being 6,000 years old was more than just that one man’s belief. In fact, a large amount of people share that opinion (which again is totally their right). So because I was unaware, I say something like oh you know what was really weird is that I heard today in my education class that this Christian guy believes the earth is 6,000 years old. And of course, you guessed it, I should not have said it that way because in fact, she believes this, too. Which, again, is her right. But for some reason this one thing just kept picking away at my faith. If you struggle with anxiety, you will understand that sometimes you just cannot shake a thought, and that thought takes over your entire mind. From this one thought, I somehow found myself believing that if I did not believe everything the same exact way she did, that it meant that I was actually not Christian (which is untrue).
This one minor topic got me extremely upset and anxious, and if I am being honest, I was (and am wrestling with it still) in a season of doubt for the first time in my Christian life (it has gotten quite a bit better, but I am not that far into the story yet geez people). Finally, after a Thursday night of intensive worries and sadness and fear and doubt, I broke down in the dining hall. Yup, every last brussel sprout was DRENCHED in my salty af tears. You know that feeling where you just want so badly to believe, but you are doubting so much? That was how I felt. #SUE #ME.
A few hours later, I decided to go to the gym because #gainz always relieve some stress for me especially when they come from dank workouts. I was still a complete and utter wreck. I prayed GOD PLEASE IF YOU ARE REAL SHOW ME A SIGN. And I meant it from the bottom of my heart. Before I go on I would just like to say that God and I have a lot of inside jokes, which I will write about in another post. But keep that in mind. So I passed by some church I have never been to, and I see two men inside. I think oh my goodness it is a sign. I must go inside! So here I am, sobbing pretty much, going into this random church facility. I go up to the two men, who were covered in tattoos and leather, and I ask them if they are the priests. Of course because God has my sense of humor and we have inside jokes that I will write about later, these people were not in fact priests. They were there for the AA meeting that was about to start. (seriously LOL) This AA meeting was spiritual, they told me. It was not specifically Christian, but I was desperate and at this point would take any advice from any older figure. They pointed me back to God, but I had been up all night reading and watching videos about specifics, and honestly just needed to talk to someone who knew the Bible a whole lot better than I do.
I was about to leave, but then one of the men told me I could stay and just be around people and listen to the AA meeting because he did not want me to make any rash decisions if I left and was alone with my thoughts. So of course because I just found it hysterical I was at an AA meeting and was also that girl who NEVER drank in high school (different story in college), I stayed for the heck of it. Well thank The Lord I did. When the meeting ended, the same man that invited me told me that the older gentleman that was at the meeting has actually been a minister for the past fifty years and taught religion at USC for twenty years. He also said he would be willing to talk with me.
So Tony was this INCREDIBLE man I got to speak with. I told him everything. Literally every last detail. He was probably bored from the specifics, but I just had to get everything out to him.(luhhh you Tony). And his advice and wisdom CHANGED MY LIFE. He told me that because I live in the South, a lot of people are going to interpret the Bible literally, but it does not make me “not Christian” if I do not view it in the same way. He told me that he doesn’t take a lot of the things in the Bible literally like how I do not, and he still is Christian. And I know that sounds obvious, but it was not to me. And side-note his personal story rocked my world, as well. But it is not mine to tell.
The point of this is that I have never been exposed to open-handed issues in the Bible because I am so, so new to Christianity. It does not come easy for me, and I do not know all that much. Because of this, I did not know people believed things very differently. But, what I did see first-hand is how these differences can wreck faith; it crushed mine for those few days. And what Tony reminded me is that it is the Gospel that is important. These open-handed issues do not change the fact that Jesus died on the cross so that we may have eternal life with Him. They just don’t. And for that, it is well with my soul.