BY: JOANNA KIM
It’s been a recent struggle realizing I was in a personal war battling with myself for the past three years. At first I thought it was just spiritual apathy, a shaky place I had put myself in. Little did I know that it would carry on through college and leave me still questioning where I was in terms with my faith and beliefs. Did I just lose it somewhere down the road? Did I ever have such faith to begin with? Where was I headed?
To begin with, I grew up in a Christian family with a grandpa as a pastor. It was a blessing that not many people have with the kind of environment I was raised in. From an early age, I was baptized and taught the Christian principles as clearly depicted in the Bible. This was something I just accepted as true without further thought because I was too young to think for myself otherwise. Not once did I ever question Christianity or deeply think about whether I believed in the fundamental teachings and beliefs of the Bible. I continued to believe in what I only knew to believe in and for the longest time I was fine with that. Life wasn’t always peachy and full of rainbows but I continued to believe that if I always prayed, read the Bible, did my daily devotionals, and praised the One who died and rose again for my sins, things would eventually be okay.
Towards the beginning of my senior year in high school, I thought about my faith seriously for the first time. I wondered what was the point of it all. I knew it was a blessing to have grown up in a family who loved God and had a good heart but I began to grow in bitterness and animosity towards the thing that I was spoon-fed. I hated how imprudent and mindless I was about something I made to be the center of my life. Before I knew it, I realized how little I wanted to associate myself with anything related to church and God. Given my natural inclination to not want to do anything I have no interest or passion for, I slowly became less active and detached. This was much easier to do upon entering college and without the pressure and concerns of worrying my parents about my spiritual struggles with faith.
I wished that I never grew up in a Christian family. I wished that I could have come to terms on my own about my beliefs about religion. That way I could have eventually come to my own conclusions and have a more grounded idea of my stance in Christianity— rather than leading me to doubt whether what I believed in my entire life was true or not. Up to this point I had believed in what was told and never did any soul searching of my own. I absent-mindedly just soaked in everything like a sponge. Don’t get me wrong, though. This isn’t the only struggle that has been hindering me from questioning Christianity; rather it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It was both mentally and emotionally tiring not being certain of what I believed in anymore and if what I had always known was the truth I wanted to hold on to. My method of coping was closing and distancing myself off from everyone. Yet, I still went to church and was involved in a fellowship because I struggled with the idea of completely letting go of it all even if my actions felt very empty and meaningless. This simple notion of making an effort, led me to slowly believe that there had to be some truth to all this regardless of the feeling that this faith of mine, but of my family’s, wasn’t completely my own. For the first time, I truly wondered about Christianity and if it was the truth I wanted to believe in. I read a lot of articles and books and most importantly, the Bible. I spent a lot more time in prayer and just really rediscovering this faith of mine from scratch. Who knows if I ever would have been a believer if I never grew up in a Christian family or let myself be consumed in it?
I’m still in the process of rediscovering my faith but I’m getting closer to figuring out what is true to me and what is not. That’s where this double-edged sword of mine comes to play – the idea of being blessed into a Christian family and inheriting its beliefs but also despising the fact that I didn’t come to this faith on my own terms, even if it meant that I may have never accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. But I know for now that all the indescribable and unexplainable things in life just further justify the religion that I think I believe in. I also know that it points me back to the faith I grew up with without having personally experienced it or critically thought and questioned about it before.