At Britmums Live recently there were a few people shocked by my behaviour and I even got the comment 'you pretend you are a good Christian girl, but I know....' and this was said by someone I like and am friendly with and I don't for one minute think any harm was meant by it but it did get me musing this topic and wondering what it does mean to be a Christian?
Now I've probably got you wondering what on earth I was doing to be making people question me but I assure you it was nothing more than most 41 year old women might do on a night out with the girls - have a few too many glasses of wine, talk loudly, be a bit rude, swear and make innuendos.
As I've pondered this question, my conclusion is there is no easy answer. Being a Christian means something different to many people, practically all of us who call ourselves Christians have at least one differing perspective. The Bible is a complex book open to interpretation in many ways and this means we all come away with a different take on what it means to be a Christian. However many people you speak to would tell you there is only one correct definition - their definition. That there are particular traits all Christians share - perhaps we are all loving, forgiving, sin-free and joyful all the time?
Hmm, sadly I don't fulfil those requirements so as far as I'm concerned they do not definite a Christian. For me it is quite simple, being a Christian means that I acknowledge I am totally imperfect and have a propensity to sin but I do not have to be condemned by this as Jesus died to save me and he has made me clean and whole again. When I choose to love Him, follow Him and give my life to Him then I am a Christian.
Does this mean I think I am better than you? No, get a life. I'd never think like that. I know how lucky I am to have my faith and to have Jesus in my life. Do I want you to have the same joy and freedom I find from this? Yes of course, but no one can force it on you, faith has to be freely accepted as a personal choice.
Does this mean I will be kind and mild mannered all the time? Erm no sadly not, as those at Britmums Live can testify when I have a drink too many I become quiet loose with my tongue and the frustrations I've kept inside might come pouring out.
Does this mean I love and accept everyone? I'm really trying, truly I am but this is a tough one. There are so many different types of people in the world and some of them are going to get on your nerves and wind you up. I've definitely changed in the last decade and can now see other peoples points of views and walk away from arguments that are just not worth it but there is still work to be done. Thankfully Jesus requires progress and not perfection and as long as our eyes are fixed on Him and we are moving in the right direction them we are satisfying His desires.
Does this mean I no longer swear? Well no, but it does mean I am far better than I used to be. I've always had a potty mouth and go back fifteen years it was really foul, now it is the occasional slip-up or angry outburst.
Does this mean I never hurt anyone? I so wish I could say yes to this one but I am just human. We make mistakes, it is part of who we are. Sometimes in trying to be honest and upfront I end up hurting people with my words and actions but it is not intentional and I suppose the big difference nowadays is that I am happy to say sorry and to work to a resolution.
Do I forgive all the hurts I've had? Yes I do, hurrah. There is a yes in this list. Jesus has forgiven us and He also forgets our sins, never holding a record of all the wrongs we have done and we are taught that we must forgive first. I'm so thankful that I've learnt this lesson but I'm keen to respect that one day the hurt may be so tough I have to learn it all again.
Am I humble? I'm working on it is the honest answer. I consider that I still suffer with pride, if not outwardly then sometimes in my heart but in recent years I've been described as humble and self-sacrificing and that is a big difference in me, one that could only have come about because of holy intervention. Never in my own strength could I have changed this much.
Do I still sin? Oh yes, I really would love to say no but I do, I keep falling into the same terrible habits and succumbing to temptation where food and overindulgence 1re concerned. I am so far from perfect it is unreal, I still desire and lust after things I should not have. Sometimes I just plain resent having a conscience and think it would be easier not to be a Christian as then I could ignore the little angel in my head telling me lies (even white lies - is there such a thing?) are wrong, talking about someone behind their back is cruel and unnecessary (yes even when they are the most annoying and lazy person on the planet) and that when I shout in anger it never helps me or my children and I've just given away my power.
I'm back where I started, confessing that I was a sad and broken individual thriteen years ago. I thought I had it all - money, house, cars, holidays. fiance, loads of material goods but all I really had was a hole I kept trying to fill. The constant seeking of things was wearing me down and turning me toxic and then thankfully I came to know the Lord and learnt that He had hand-picked me as His daughter and He knew me before I was even knitted together in my mothers womb.
I am incomplete and I'm striving to be better but I am truly loved and accepted just as I am.
I continually sin and get it wrong but I am saved by Grace.
I am weak but He is strong.
I am lucky to be alive and have Him by my side every step of the way.
My life is a journey and one day I will be with Him....... until then I put one foot in front of the other and try my best with guidance from the best.
All I have is available to you too, you just have to want it and ask for it.
Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
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