The Heart of a Believer

An Update on my Path

This was one of my first hubs. I don't want to make massive changes to the content, preferring, instead, to preserve the integrity of the original hub. On the other hand, so many things have changed for me since I wrote this hub that I feel it is important for me to take a moment to update readers on my status as a believer. I am adding quite a bit of content to this hub, so please take the time to read both parts. The new part is here at the top, and each section has its own comments section.

Love God with All Your Heart and MIght

When He was on earth, the Messiah told us that there were two great commandments: That we should love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. While these two commands seem very simple on the surface, I have found that as I meditate on His intentions for us, there are so many new questions that come to the surface. How are we to love God with all of our hearts? Is it enough for us to simply feel that love for Him? Or do we need to pray at certain times, in a certain way, or even specific prayers?

Love is active. I don't personally believe that it is possible to love someone (even God) without giving something of ourselves. We have to do something in order to love someone. When we love our children, we take good care of them, hug them, kiss them, do nice things for them. When we love our spouse, we show affection for him or her, or take time to talk about things that interest our partner. We love our parents by staying in touch with them even after we have left and cleaved to our spouse.

I feel, however, that many people neglect to show this active love for God, our Creator. For many it seems to be enough to call themselves a Christian and then to simply forget about it except on Sundays, when most Christians celebrate the Sabbath.

This wasn't working for me. As the below section (of the original hub) states, I've been depressed. It is something that comes and goes, but I realize that it has taken me a lot of time and work (and acceptance of personal responsibility) to find happiness. My walk with God was disjointed, disrupted, and not altogether healthy. Attending church regularly wasn't bringing me closer to Him. Covering my head helped, but it was only part of the whole picture. I was feeling frustrated that I was not receiving the fruits of the spirit and the blessings that were "due" to me as a believer in Jesus Christ.

That's when it occurred to me: God has given us this remarkable book called the Bible. However, many Christians adhere strongly only to the latter part of the scriptures, known as the New Testament (or the B'rit Hadashah -- the New Covenant). Torah is so important to the Jewish people, but why not for Christians as well? This bothered me for quite some time, until certain truths began to make themselves evident to me.

For me, it started with adopting a partially kosher diet. I'm not all the way there even now (after more than a year of working at it!), but I have noticed a change in my health when I cut out pork and shellfish from my diet. Certain sauces which have always caused problems for my stomach. I assumed that it was because of the high acid content in the sauces. But then why can I consume all the vinegar and milk that I want without feeling sick? Instead, as it happens, these sauces include non-kosher items, including shellfish and insects (for color). Having let go of the pork, the shellfish and the food colorings, I am already feeling a difference in terms of my health. There is little doubt that the kosher diet makes a difference for me.

The Torah, I discovered, is God's (Yah's) love story to us. It is how He tell us who He is, and it is how He gives us His rules to live by. These are the very rules that will keep us healthy and happy. They are a gift, not a curse that is hanging over our heads. We can show God our love for Him by obeying the Torah. This is active lovefor our God.

I've been depressed

I have, of late, had a great deal of cause to look more deeply at myself and my walk with God. I have been spending so much time feeling angry and unfulfilled that I believe I have lost sight of my own purpose, and the things that make me happy.

In it's simplest form, we call this "depression." Yes, I am losing interest in the things that once held me captivated, and yes, I feel exhausted and out of sorts most of the time. I've pushed myself here on Hubpages, and all in all, the push has been a good thing. I said it in another of my hubs, and I'll say it again: Hubpages has saved my life.

For a long time I wasn't writing, and I honestly believe that this was a large part of my discontent with God. I have several reasons why I have been angry with Him (not the least of which has been "not getting my own way!"), but central to the recent damage to the relationship has been this depression.

I blamed it on postpartum at first. My daughter is seventeen months old but I thought... Maybe. Maybe it was (vaguely) possible that I was dealing with post partum depression. The weather is getting nicer and I've been taking much better care of myself. Why would I "suddenly" become so depressed?

"Christian" Doesn't Mean "Perfect"

I'm not perfect. I don't think of myself as superior to others. I see myself as human, fallible, and as a sinner. I know that it is only through the blood shed by  Christ Jesus that I can truly be whole. And I know I've been neglecting my relationship with Him.

Becoming a Christian changed my life. I've always had a difficult time. There have been things in my life that have challenged me and that I have felt would destroy me. Becoming a Christian released me from the majority of my chains. The challenge I now face is that I still carry (seemingly voluntarily) a good deal of the baggage. I wasn't the one who packed the bags, but I'm the one who carries them!

I'm learning to hand the reins over to Jesus and to let Him carry the load for me, so that I can focus on living my life in a way that is meaningful and pleasing to Him.

I've made so many mistakes, my friends. I'm here because I want to make a public confession, not only of my faults, but of Christ Himself. I want to say, as clearly as I can, that I believe, and in what I believe. I don't want to be a lukewarm Christian. Not any more.

A Lukewarm Heart

I've made a lot of mistakes, especially lately. I'm not a mature Christian, and I realize often how young I am in Christ. A year is hardly any time at all, and I don't have the time under my belt to know how to handle being challenged. If you've read my other hubs about spirituality (listed below), you know that I haven't always been a Christian, and that, in fact, I fully understand the "other side." But Jesus saved me. He came and got me when I didn't want to be gotten, and that, I believe, is a miracle.

In the beginning, I was as hot-hearted a Christian as there is. I truly believe that when you aren't a Christian you hear about Jesus too much, but when you really meet Him you can't talk about Him enough. I shared Jesus with everybody I met, and for a long time, I forgot what that felt like -- to not be a Christian but to be treated as though you should already know Jesus. Yes, it's condescending and no, it isn't much fun.

When I got here (to Hubpages), I encountered more atheism than I ever have before. I didn't know what to make of it, but I knew that I couldn't handle the situation by proselytizing. An atheist, as you understand, doesn't believe in Jesus, or heaven or hell. It means nothing to an atheist (or other non-Christian) to explain that Christians are saved from their sins and therefore are allowed by God's grace to see Heaven. Many are downright offended at the notion that a Christian would be saved but that they wouldn't because they believe differently. And many, many non-Christians have encountered the type of Christian who treats unbelievers in a condescending manner, as though they (the Christian) are superior and non-Christians are beneath them.

How unfortunate!

I'm a people pleaser and I always have been. I would prefer to make someone happy than to cause them stress. I have developed a nasty habit of not telling it how it is. I believe in the Bible, and I believe that the Bible is truth. To state that "I believe" weakens my conviction, however. The truth is that I know that the Bible is the truth. I have that conviction in my heart. Many others don't. I cannot, and will not try to force them to accept Jesus. I can lead a horse to water, but I can't make him drink.

A Final Word

I believe in the Bible, and I believe in Jesus. I seek to live my life in the way that He lived His life. I don't believe that He would have condemned any person in the way that some Christians do. Jesus "hung out" with sinners all the time. It wasn't uncommon for him to be found in the company of prostitutes and thieves. His forgiveness is for everyone, not just for a select few people. He wants you to accept Him and to come to Him. His arms are open regardless of your race, sexual orientation or your past sins.

I am not here to judge you. It isn't my job or my place. it is almost impossible to minister to someone who you are judging.

I am not sure what I expect readers to get out of this, but I needed to do it. This was, for me, a very personal piece of writing. I hope that you have enjoyed it and the included music and that you will return to my hubs to read more in the future!

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Comments 23 comments

GeneriqueMedia profile image

GeneriqueMedia 7 years ago from Earth

" feeling angry and unfulfilled that I believe I have lost sight of my own purpose,"

Don't walk behind God, be GOD. Take his/her/its love into your heart, value those who value you, and spread joy. Your reality is yours alone, and it is up to you to decide which reality you want to own!

I love Josh Turner, too. ;)

"For a long time I wasn't writing, and I honestly believe that this was a large part of my discontent with God."

For a long time I thought I was writing to explore myself, my reality, God, and so many other things. But we are, at the end of the day, just writing to write. We have fuels, causes, for sure. But when you realize that you're a natural born writer--and believe me--you ARE! You will be able to free yourself and begin to ask "what do I have to say? How should I say it? How sould I present it?"

I wish you luck, my love. Anhedonia is a hard beast to master. I almost killed myself because I saw no reason to exist, I felt I was a redundant waste of carbon concious.

But truly...you matter, and if you don't matter to anyone else, you matter to ME!

Love,

G|M


Steve Rensch profile image

Steve Rensch 7 years ago

The Bible, the books, the preachers . . . they can teach you the letter of the law. But it is the down times that teach the spirit of the law. God is always calling: it's just that the line is often busy. If it is busy too long, God will break your heart to get in. Those are the down times. Those are the times that provide the foundation for a relationship with God that rises beyond platitudes and doctrine. Congratulations.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

You make me cry, G|M! You've been such a constant support here at Hubpages. If you haven't been told recently, you're amazing. And an insanely fast reader, too. Do you know it takes me almost an hour to get through two chapters of your novel/s? LOL!

Re: writing -- I wasn't "writing to write" I was writing because I "had" to. I didn't see any option *but* to write and I hated every minute of it and ultimately gave up. It's changing now.

I've even got a poem in the works. Sure hope I can make it work out in the end. Three lines so far lol


GeneriqueMedia profile image

GeneriqueMedia 7 years ago from Earth

And he said it in a different light.

God is always with you, for we are always God. Don't allow yourself to think any different, don't allow yourself to feel as if you've lost control. God has given us the bounty of life and creating our world around each other is the one true gift we are imbued with.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Wow Steve! Thank you! I know that you're right!

I look at it this way: We come up against a wall and we pound against it with our fists. We keep pounding, thinking that we can break that wall down. Our fists get bloodier and bloodier but we keep fighting in spite of the pain.

Finally we have to give up. We can't make it any further. So we call on God, who gently lifts us over the wall and puts us on the other side.

Sometimes we have to hit that wall in order to find Him.

Thank you both for understanding. I feel like I just rambled today. Even my husband says I didn't lol


GeneriqueMedia profile image

GeneriqueMedia 7 years ago from Earth

"You make me cry, G|M! You've been such a constant support here at Hubpages. If you haven't been told recently, you're amazing. And an insanely fast reader, too. Do you know it takes me almost an hour to get through two chapters of your novel/s? LOL!"

I'm a speed reader: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_reader

Granted, I don't get the whole context of the message the first read, but if you read slowly you still don't get it either...because you're so inundated with information!

I take it all in in my own speed.

G|M


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

You're both too fast for me!

G|M I believe in God. I believe that I have a purpose in life and that purpose, simply put, is ministry. You say it in a different way, of course, but it's the same thing: Loving others and blessing them as much as possible. That's how I try to live my life. Sometimes I just get off track!


GeneriqueMedia profile image

GeneriqueMedia 7 years ago from Earth

You learn well, young padawan. ;)

Thats right--preaching God, living God, breathing God, is our true purpose in life. Most like to do it behind a pew, utilizing scripture.

I stear clear from this for I am an artist. I long to create new works to say the same thing, to connect with us as we are today. =)

I believe in God, but not in the xian light. Not to say I hate the Bible, but I believe it was the Word of yesterday's society. It's time we take God to the streets, to each other, to our smiles.

Peace,

G|M


IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 7 years ago from Hawaii

I admire your transparency. We can learn from those who walked with Jesus, who despite being intimate with Him, struggled with their human weaknesses. He loved them unconditionally, which sets Christianity apart.


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

I can identify with how you feel. The last few months have been difficult emotionally, and it has been difficult to prioritise. Thank you for your transparity.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I believe to and and never be ashamed to express it, God knows what has to be done and do not get frustrated as he will always provide you with the proper tools to handle any situation. We all have been going through difficult times, however this community and you will meet some wonderful people and your faith will keep you going. When you fall weak pray, after all that is what Jesus would do. :)


einron profile image

einron 7 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

You have lots of advice from people who care, and you are lucky to be a Christian who believes that God loves you unconditionally when you have faith and belief that He will carry you through.

As long as we live the devil will try to pounce on us when we are weak, but will not succeed to make us fall if we have faith in God. Cast away evil in the name of Jesus Christ, and the devil will leave you. Have in God, have faith in God!

The confession in your writing cleanses you.

God bless.


Philipo 7 years ago

Thanks for the write-up. So touchy. A clarion call to all to go and preach the gospel. The world is gradually coming to an end. Many are still being held captive. No man is perfect.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Thank you, einron. I feel remarkably better today!


k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California

Thank you Everyday Miracles, today you are my miracle! This is probably one of the most beautiful hubs I have ever read! Yes, Jesus hung out with the sinners, who needs to save the saved?! Everyone has baggage, how can it be otherwise in this world? None of us are perfect, we can only try, day by day, to become closer. This is our true challenge.

You do not sound "lukewarm" to me. You have put this in a way I have barely seen others tell, a very truthful way. We are, none of us, perfect. We continue to grow and learn everyday...and most likely, every day we do something we think back on in an unflattering way.

Thank you for this wonderful read! I always need it. :D


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Thanks, Kari! So did I! :)


Choke Frantic profile image

Choke Frantic 7 years ago from Newcastle, Australia

Thankyou for posting something so personal in a space where its easy to feel vulnerable. Your story is inspiring.


mdawson17 7 years ago

Hello Everyday Miracles

It has been so long since I have been able to read your hubs! I am so sorry my youngest child has been very ill but she is better now! You hang in there depression can be a beast in itself and trying to figure it out can make you all the more worse! Just know to give it to Christ who will strengthen you and when you feel faint he will carry you!!

mdawson17


MakeHimKnown94 7 years ago

Hey there! I'm sorry to hear that you're going through hard times, but like you said, being Christian isn't being Perfect! Jesus is our healer, and I'll be praying to him for you! I give a big AMEN to all of the above!


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Thank you MakeHimKnown94. Please don't let the folks in the religion forum get to you -- many of them are atheists!


MakeHimKnown94 7 years ago

No prob Everyday Miracles! And I won't! Those are the people who need to hear about Jesus anyways! :D Hopefully I'll plant a few seeds in their hearts.

Jesus all over!

Raegan


billys1 2 years ago from "Somewhere", USA

Everyday Miracles, I do love God with my whole soul, my whole heart and with my whole energy. What I cannot figure out is how can love me back? I am a miserable sinner, so much a sinner that I became a criminal through my wanton actions. How can He forgive me, such a lowly sinner?

May God continue to bless you for your wonderful writings. They are causing me to stop and think about things and hopefully become a better Christian, Catholic, Husband and man ( although not necessarily in that order) . God Love you.

Bill


Penny G profile image

Penny G 2 years ago from Southern Iowa

I get these feelings as well. Sometimes I think it is a test. Then I think, no it's really about me. I take on a lot and sometimes I just loose sight of what this is all about. It's about Working for the Lord, helping his people and I then tell myself, he's never too tired or wore out for us or to help us, trudge on, gain my strength from him, and take a deep breath. The Lord will move you past this, and send a bright moment to guide you along the way. Surround yourself with good strong Christians. At times like this the Lord usually bombarts me with Christians wherever I go, a safety net. AWW precious Lord. Sister in Christ Penny G

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