"To not decide is to decide..." What's that all about? Well, I'm glad you asked! (You did, didn't you!?!) Anyway, if you are anything like me, you may choose at times in your life to "take the high road" and "not make any waves". Sometimes it seems as if that's just the better way to be...you will make (and keep) more friends and will in turn have a better chance of influencing more people. Well, in some ways this is true, and even good. However, there are some very important, fundamental decisions that you just HAVE TO make. Some things require you and me to not only make a choice, but to then STAND for that choice...STAND for what we BELIEVE.
This, though, presents yet another dilemma...How do you stand for what you believe if you don't truly KNOW what you believe!?! Sure we all think we do for the majority of our lives. We are raised a certain way and "just believe" what we always have because we always have. (I know, that's a little deep, but bear with me!) True belief in something, however, requires some true soul searching.
First, you have to figure out WHAT you (think you) believe as well as WHY you do. Maybe you are on that journey right now...deliberately rejecting some things you've always been taught and lived by, because, after all, what if they are not true? "What if my whole life up to this point has been a farce?" "Why do I believe the way my parents do...what if they've got it all wrong? They're just humans like me, too." Or, "why did I raise my kids to believe this way? What if I've misguided them? After all, my life hasn't been going so well lately, so maybe I've been wrong all this time." All of these are legitimate, honest, real questions that we must admit we all have asked in one way or another at some time in our lives. Are you a bad person for thinking that way or questioning those long-held values? No, you are real.
So then, what do we do now? Well, for one, we must accept that we will never know all of the answers nor were we ever intended to figure it all out. Some things are just too big to wrap our little finite heads around...and that's okay! I personally don't want any more responsiblity and expectation on me than I already have. How about you? Just let go of that control thing and accept that everything just will not fit into our nice little boxes.
Yeah, so, I got that...now what? Once again, glad you asked! Now go on a truth-seeking journey. A what!?! Yeah, a truth-seeking journey. Since you always thought you knew what you believed but now you've figured out that you're just not quite sure about that...now you've gotta find some truth to stand on, or trust me...you will fall...and it's not fun! (True, often the lesson is in the fall, but try to avoid it if you can.) So, for the first part of the search thing, what do I do? Well, once again, bear with me and listen (or read, rather) with an open mind...you do esteem that value in yourself, after all, don't you!?! With an open mind, I dare you to take this challenge...no matter where you are in your journey of life. (We could all use a little refresher, huh?)
I challenge you to start this truth-seeking thing out by *hold on* praying. Yes, I said it...PRAYING. Okay, if you don't like the way that sounds and it's just a little too out there for you (yeah, you with the "open mind") then I'll put it another way. Talk to God...yes, God...you know that whole belief that you are questioning right now...yes, Him! Okay, so how and why would you "talk to God" if you're questioning His very existence in the first place? (Admit it, I'm not just talking to the un-churched crowd here, am I!?! You know who you are and, once again, that's okay. Just be honest about it and come on this journey, too. What could it hurt?)
Well, to answer my question I asked before the little "aside", the "How" is very easy...just open your mouth (or speak with your heart if you're still uncomfortable speaking out loud to someone who is not physically sitting there with you). At this point, you don't have to believe He is there with you listening to you, just trust me on this one and do it. Just tell Him, "God, if you're out there...and I really feel kinda strange even talking like this, since I really don't think you are right now, or I'm just not sure...but anyway, if you're out there, then I ask you to show me." Come on, you can do it! Oh, and no, most likely you will not see fire come down from the sky right then and there, nor will you hear some booming voice audibly speak back to you (not that those things couldn't happen, but they most likely won't).
So now then, "Why"...especially if those cool, show-stopping things aren't going to happen? Did you ever hear your mama say "Because"? Well, because...because that's where it all starts. (Well, it really started way before that, but you'll figure that out soon enough.) Another reason is because in order to take the next step on this journey, it will greatly behoove you to have started with that crazy prayer thing.
Should I keep going, or should I just save the next step for the next post? Okay, okay, okay...I can't and won't leave you hanging like that. (Hope I haven't already lost you before now!) I would be doing you a great (bad) injustice if I didn't at least give you the next step.
Now, you've laid aside your pride and preconceptions and you've said that prayer thing (or talked to God...or whatever you would prefer to call it). Now what? Once again, I have another challenge for you...I know you're up to it! Especially if you've come this far. I challenge you to read something that is not for the faint at heart (actually, it is...it is really for everyone of us). Not just anything, but I specifically am saying you should now find a * Bible * (yes, I said another one of those words) you could even go online to BibleGateway.com or some other Bible website to read online.
Hold on! I am not challenging you to read the whole Bible (though that's not a bad idea over time)...you need to specifically read the book of (gospel of) John. (You know...Matthew, Mark, Luke, JOHN) Whether you are able to read it in one sitting or it takes you a couple of sittings, please don't forget that first step EACH TIME before you read it (pray that He will show Himself to you). You may even need to stop along the way and pray that again (and again). Remember as you read it that this is not a fairy tale. (I know, you're possibly questioning that, too, but trust me...or Him, rather...this is Truth...He is Truth, the ultimate one and only Truth.) The events you read about really did take place. You don't believe it? Well, how do you know that George Washington lived, or the Civil War happened, or Julius Caesar existed...and I could go on and on...but I think you get the point.
Now, this is, of course nowhere near the final step of the journey...but the first steps are always the hardest. Take this challenge, no matter what age you are, no matter how long you've gone to church - or not - , no matter how many times you've read the Bible...doesn't matter...take the challenge! I am, and believe me, you will see things you've never seen before.
These are the first steps of discovering and defining what you believe, because, after all...To Not Decide Is To Decide!