There’s something that you might not know about me, depending on how you met me (if you’ve ever met me, that is). I believe in God. I am a Christian.
I don’t mean that in the “I was raised in a Catholic family so I go to church out of habit” sense. I was raised in a Catholic family, but I don’t go to church out of habit. In fact, since I moved to Madison and had time to re-examine my views of the universe and my beliefs, I find myself more and more distant from the Catholic church every day. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in God. Because I do. And I don’t think that many people who met me after I started college know that. It’s not “cool” to be a Christian where I live, it’s not something everybody does. Admittedly, it’s not really taboo either. But in a liberal-leaning college town, Christianity is often thought of as something that only those crazy Republicans do.
As long as we’re getting everything out in the open here, I’ll be the first to admit that I vote Democrat almost exclusively. But the last time that I checked, that wasn’t incompatible with a sincere and honest belief in God. As a law student, I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. As a Christian, I believe that because the government doesn’t regulate some of our actions, we must do the hard thing and regulate those actions on our own. Or look to churches for support and guidance. We have to choose to do the right thing, as opposed being told to do it or simply following the law. It’s a lot harder to do the right thing when you don’t have to. I believe that God wants us to love everyone. I believe in equal access to government resources for all. I believe in each person’s individual right to decide what does and does not happen to them. I believe that I can hold all of these political beliefs and still be a Christian.
Believing in God does not make me ignorant. It does not make me uneducated. It does not make me a sheep. My relationship with God is something that has developed slowly, over a long period of time. That’s mostly because of me. Because I live in a world (even sometimes a house) where these exact sentiments are expressed regularly. I don’t hate people who don’t believe in God. For the most part, I won’t try to change their minds. It took a long time for me to be comfortable speaking openly about this issue, so I’m not exactly in the habit of telling people that they’re wrong. I just hope that they have the decency to give me the same amount of respect that they did when I didn’t express my religious beliefs openly.
Am I a great Christian? No. I can be self-centered. I can be mean. I can be spiteful. I hold grudges. I get wrapped up in materialistic things instead of giving to those who deserve and need much more than I ever will. Most days, I am a bitch. I know these things. But I also know that I’m willing to work on them. And as long as I’m willing to try, God has a place and plan for me. Even if I forget it sometimes.
So for anyone who asks the question “why?” – that is, why I am a Christian – the answer is simple. I need God. I’m too awful a person to do this on my own. I don’t know why God blessed me with a future husband as amazing as Shaun, but he did. With divorce rates as high as they are, our relationship doesn’t stand a chance unless God is in it. Guiding us, helping me to be a better person so that our family can thrive. I need God to remind me to keep those negative traits in check, so that some of my better ones can become the parts of me that people remember. I need God to give me strength when things don’t go my way. I need God to help me be the best version of myself, because without that help I’m not much to write home about.
I’m not great, but I’m getting better. I’m trying and working every day. Even if you can’t see it, or I don’t say it, it’s there. God is there helping me. I truly believe that. And now you know.