Thursday, June 20, 2013

All Who Wander

Source: Andrew at Cuba Gallery. Beautiful work!

Throughout my teen years, I tried on a lot of denominations and schools of Christian thought. (There was a brief period in college when I labeled myself "Catholibapticostal.") While I liked certain aspects of all of them, none felt exactly right to me. There was always something I couldn't get past. But when I was 20 years old, I fell in with a bunch of Presbyterians and knew immediately that I had found my spiritual home. I understood the scope of grace for the first time. My heart and life were changed. In a sacred sense, I fell in love, and I was sick of dating around. I was ready to settle down. I felt so free and alive in my faith, I fully expected to hold to all of these new beliefs till death do us part. My mind would never change again on any of these matters. The end. It's the kind of declaration you can only make when you're 20 years old. My life was just beginning, yet I assumed that my spiritual evolution was complete.

I still attend a Presbyterian church, consider myself Presbyterian, and cherish many of those beliefs. But when it comes to less crucial principles, I don't know what I believe anymore. The collapse of my marriage and the rebuilding of my life has been like an 8.0 earthquake. It couldn't shake the bedrock of my faith, but it caused serious structural damage, if not outright destruction, to most everything else. A lot of those Jenga towers haven't started to lean until recently, years later. I struggle to reconcile certain teachings with my reality and experiences. Sometimes I'm startled and alarmed when I catch myself cheering on viewpoints that I once opposed. It's scary when you suddenly don't recognize yourself.

But I'm starting to think it doesn't have to be scary. I believe in the importance of doctrine, that little things do matter and affect how we live. But I also believe that God is bigger and more mysterious than we can possibly comprehend. Yes, He reveals Himself to us in His Word, but we'd be out of our (limited) minds to think we can ever fully understand Him. It's okay to cross-examine things we've taken for granted, and be open to different ideas. Maybe part of wisdom and maturity is realizing that the older you get, the less you know. The world keeps getting bigger, not smaller. I hope so, because I have a lot fewer concrete answers than I did as a college student.

My impression is that a growing, sometimes questioning faith is healthier than a stagnant, unchanging one. A static faith is not fully alive. I think God can handle our doubts and everything that comes with them, and He'd rather we just be honest with Him. I tell people this all the time, but I don't live like I believe it. It's time to claim the assurance that while I may wander, I am not lost.


  1. Totally hear you on this. It's what I'm learning now, too: that it's okay to not know everything; in fact, it might be better. God is so much bigger than I ever knew when I thought I had it all figured out.

  2. You hit the nail on the head here, especially in that last paragraph there, the a growing, questioning faith is healthier than a stagnant one. How completely true. I can't imagine that faith is anything if there's not a continuing sense of asking and wondering because it's not possible to have God figured out and people who think that they do, well, I don't think I can believe them.

    Love this post a lot.

  3. I've come to the conclusion that no denomination has it right. The things on which they all (mostly) agree are the only ones that usually absolutely matter. The rest, well, I think a lot of it has to do with personalities. I believe in a God and a wonderful Savior, who is bigger than any one denomination.

    1. I agree. I think we all know God a little bit differently based on our personalities and our experiences of Him. He knows how best to relate to each of us. Not to say that we should give up on absolute truths or anything, but I don't think EVERYthing is quite as black and white as we sometimes make it out to be.