What If I'm Wrong?

The Back Row

September 21st, 2015Posted by Brian

Originally published at The Back Row

When I started thinking about the overarching theme of my life as a Christian, it became readily apparent what I should write about.

Doubt. Perfectionism. Overthinking.

These are all issues that I deal with on a daily basis. It sounds like a lot, but they're all connected.

It really started when I became a Christian at age 10. One of the things I've always dealt with is a kind of obsessive personality. When I was young, for example, I loved Pokémon. I loved learning about the U.S. presidents. I wanted to know everything I could about certain topics. As a Christian, it kind of continued. I wanted to please God more than anything. If I did something I considered sinful, I asked forgiveness immediately. The problem was, I convinced myself that pretty much everything I did was sinful (which, I realize now, it wasn't). I felt that if I sinned, God was just kind of standing there, slowly getting ready to walk away unless I repented. I just never wanted to do anything that dishonored God. Like, I understood that I was saved by faith, but I still had this underlying feeling that if I didn't repent immediately, I wouldn't be right with God enough to get to Heaven. This weirdness continued until one night during my senior year of high school. I realized that I wasn't really sorry for some things I'd done, and I freaked. I've often considered that night, and the fact that my freakout was a huge overreaction. Obviously, God still loved me. He didn’t leave me just because I wasn’t sorry at that moment. But I let that night hurt me. For the next four years, my overreaction morphed into this huge need to be perfect. I had to pray right. I had to study the Bible right. I had to do everything right. Yes, we should strive to do things in a way that honors God. It got so out of hand, though. Deep down, I knew there was something wrong with my thinking, but I couldn't get past that.

I eventually started asking, “Is the Bible true? Is Jesus real?” Stuff like that. It became a struggle for me.

But, I got to the point where I finally had the realization that I didn't have to be perfect or have it all figured out to believe. I thought, "You know what? I’m going to believe, I'm going to pray, and I'm going to live for God through His help. I don’t have to try to do everything the ‘right’ way.” There was a part of me, right or wrong, that said, “If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong."

In the book of Hebrews, the writer says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:1, 3). I don’t remember where I heard this, but I recall a statement that basically went like this: “That’s why they call it faith.” Some of the aspects of our faith are unexplainable. No matter how much proof you look for, you have to eventually make a decision.

I choose to believe that Jesus is real. That He died for our sins. That He died on the cross for me. That He has forgiven me. That He has never left me. That I can just pray. That I can live for Him through His help.

Do I still deal with doubts? All the time. I still have questions. It’s a constant battle to not overthink, to just believe, and to rest. (And there's nothing wrong with that.) You know what, though? It’s better than believing in nothing. And it’s most definitely better than trying to figure everything out on my own.

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