From a lady in Aberdeen

Why Believe

Being a Christian isn’t just about a one off event of becoming a Christian, although that is definitely important. For most people there is the journey of how they come to know Jesus, when they become a Christian and then the journey of how God works in their lives after they become a Christian. So I’d like to share with you some of my faith journey, starting at the beginning.

I’ve known about Jesus my whole life as my parents took me and my brothers to church. When I was 5 years old I decided that I wanted to be friends with Jesus. Although at the age of 5 I didn’t understand everything about being a Christian, I understood enough to know that there was a God who loved me, that I’d done stuff wrong that separated me from Him and that God had sent Jesus to die for me and to be my friend. So when I was 5 I said to Jesus that I was sorry for the stuff I’d done wrong and I wanted Him to be my friend.

Between the ages of 5 and about 14 my understanding of what following Jesus actually meant was that it involved going to church, trying to read the Bible and pray at home and generally being ‘good’. However when I was about 14 I gradually began to see that this understanding isn’t fully correct. I became part of a church youth group and in the youth group there were people a couple of years older than me and they seemed to be letting their faith and relationship with Jesus affect every aspect of their lives – how they behaved at school, their relationships with their parents, the choices they made about drinking or what do to in their spare time etc. They were also excited to tell others about Jesus. This made me curious and made me think that there was more to following Jesus than what I had been doing up until that point, that Jesus wanted to be part of every aspect of my life, not just at church on a Sunday or in Bible study and prayer at home during the week, but when I was at school, or with my friends. This was the next big step for me in my journey with Jesus.

Since then my journey with Jesus has gone through lots of highs and lows and God has taught me more about what it means to follow Jesus. One area in which God has worked in my life is in relation to self-esteem and self-confidence. Growing up, particularly as a teenager, I felt very strongly that I looked ‘different’ to other people. Now I really like my hair colour (redhead) and being tall but at school these are the kind of things that mark you out for comments, not necessarily bullying but just enough to reinforce the kind of awkwardness that you already feel when you’re in your early teens. This for me developed into negative thought patterns of ‘you look different’, ‘different is bad’, ‘you’re not as pretty as the other girls’ etc. At the time though I couldn’t vocalise these feelings so well and I wouldn’t have dreamt of telling anyone else that I felt this way, so I hid the thoughts and feelings away inside me somewhere and just tried to get on with things.

That was kind of ok until I found these thoughts and feelings which had made such a deep impression on me as a teenager, resurfacing in my life as an adult. Eventually I got to the point where I knew that God was asking me to deal with these thoughts and feelings, instead of just repressing them and pretending they weren’t there. And that for me has been one of the key things I’ve learned in my journey with Jesus, that God doesn’t just want to transform our external behaviour, though that is important, He wants to be more radical and to transform our inner selves, bringing healing and renewal to those thoughts and feelings that we may have carried with us almost our whole lives but which aren’t right and which are preventing us from fully being the people God wants us to be. So how does this happen? Well, in my experience the best way to counter the negative thought patterns is with the truth. As a Christian I believe that truth is found in the Bible. For example, here are some words from Psalm 139:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.

There is also a part of the Bible where it says that God knows the number of hairs on our heads. How amazing that we are marvellously created by God, and that God cares about us enough to know how many individual hairs we have on our individual heads! These are the kind of truths which have really helped me in becoming more confident, in believing that looking different to other people can be good because God is creative and hasn’t made everyone to look exactly the same, so there can be many different heights and hair colours and skin colours in his diverse world.

That’s not to say that it’s always easy to believe God’s word and sometimes I still struggle with thoughts of ‘you’re not pretty enough’ etc. but that’s all part of the journey I’m on with Jesus and I know and trust that He will keep me on that journey until the day that I go to be with Him forever. If you’re at the stage of your life journey where you don’t yet know Jesus, I would encourage you to think about taking that step.

The journey with Jesus will still be hard at times, but it’s definitely a really exciting adventure!