To make matters even more interesting, to the disappointment of some and the dismay of others who may consider themselves to be “Real” or “True” Christians, I no longer feel afraid or guilty about what it is I believe (or don’t believe) anymore. Sidenote: for those of you who are just starting out on this journey, trust me the feelings of fear and guilt do dissipate over time so be patient with yourself . You will eventually get to the point where I am now when you just accept that (as I stated earlier), “it is what it is” and to add to that “You are who you are” as “I am who I am” and “we believe what we believe” and that it’s really OK!
You may even decide as I have, to no longer ascribe a “label” of myself regarding what I believe. This stance however is probably one of the most perplexing things for people because as a culture, we have come to the point of strongly believing in our “labels”! Labeling helps us to fulfill that insatiable need of believing that we know the answer to many of the “whats”, “whys”, and “hows” of life.
However, if we are really honest and true with ourselves, we know that there are far more “unanswered” questions in this life’s experience than we openly like to admit and are comfortable accepting. Somewhere along the spiritual and evolutionary journey “not knowing” became associated with fear, and it scares most people beyond measure to live in a space where “not knowing” is the atmosphere that encompasses them.
I don’t blame us though because I know it’s our cultural disposition. We’ve been cultured (at least in the West) to be “answer driven”. We take pride in being like the smart kid in the classroom whose arm desperately waves from side to side because they always KNOW the answer to the question the teacher is asking vs. the kid who for what could be a multitude of reasons doesn’t know and instead slumps down in the chair desperately hoping that they are not called. But enough of all of this for now, take a breathe.
Getting back to the title (and intent) of this article, one very important truth I believe those of us who remain spiritual on the other side of (or beyond) our traditional Christian experience need to catch hold of is, that making a positive impact in the world doesn’t have to end with the reality of no longer believing that the most important reason we were created is to evangelize a lost and dying world to convert to our faith which is our “reasonable” service and ultimate purpose/mission.
If you were like me, then you are, or were, at one time, VERY involved in church and ministry in some way or another. You also probably believed that when it really came down to it, your humble Christian service of persuading others to “give their lives to Christ” and live according to the tenants of Christianity was essentially the most important way you could positively impact the world!
This being so, you may currently find yourself in what might be described as an awkward, unplanned, unexpected, and unknowing territory. And you may now be thinking “How am I now going to positively impact the world?” Well my encouragement for you today as you muddle through this experience (and you will get through this experience) is : HELLO – YOU CAN STILL POSITIVELY IMPACT THE WORLD FOR GOOD!!!” And, YES, there are still people waiting for your gifts and talents so don’t be afraid to start using them again to serve humanity in some capacity. People still need you and you can still make the world a better place for more people than you may realize. However, it will most likely be a “different” group of people than you thought you’d be helping, but nevertheless they are there – waiting for you!
Soooooooo, take off the cloak that may have temporarily covered you up and has made you feel and believe that the ONLY way you could positively impact the world was through church and ministry. Allow yourself to think about how many other people outside of church and ministry have already accomplished this feat! And know for sure that there is still a LOT of work to be done in our world to make it a better place for the over 7 billion people who inhabit it!
Come on and join us by getting back to doing your part (whatever it may be). Forget about the naysayers. They will always be there. Instead let their doubt of you inspire you to get back to doing what you can towards making a positive impact in the world –YES, even on the other side of (or beyond) your traditional Christian experience!