Why I Gave My Life To Christ and Took It Back
How doubt helped strengthen my faith
This is a misleading title, actually. However, I am guessing that the title as I have it right there is what probably piqued your interest enough to read this post. Because how many people would have wanted to read a post that is entitled “how to grow deeper in your love and understanding of Jesus and stand firm during your deepest, darkest hour?” Maybe, not so many. This story I am about to tell you is my story; it was borne out of my frustration with religion and its rote practices. It’s a story of redemption and how I finally found peace amidst the chaos that was my life.
The summer of ’13 and ’15 would henceforth be regarded as the summers from hell (SFH). I hit rock-bottom and not surprisingly, those two periods were the times when I questioned the importance of religion and its usefulness in my life. I had two major life traumatic incidences that shook me to my very core. I was in pain (physically, emotional, and mentally) for a prolonged period in my life. At a point, I almost lost my will to do anything else but sleep, mope, and cry; I did all these in repeated successions. I stopped going to church and vehemently told my husband not to bother about me ever returning to church. He was free to go alone as he pleased, I was no longer interested in it. At that time, I felt that the church wasn’t providing the answers to the burning questions I had. I felt lonely, alone, dejected, and forlorn.
That’s the thing about pain, it ALWAYS demands an answer. C.S. Lewis once wrote this about pain “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I didn’t know this then (hindsight is really 20/20) but the pain I went through shaped my thought process. It snapped me back into focus. However, I still demanded certainty and answers from God. I just couldn’t live with the uncertainties surrounding my faith as a Christ follower.
I feel the need to digress a little bit there to tell you about myself.
One of the many things that drives me bonkers about my personality is not only am I an analyzer but an obsessive one. For example, while most people read books for the pleasure of them (I do this too), when I read books, I get obsessive and addictive with them. I just want to soak up all the information, and I get frustrated because, for every book I read, I learn about twenty others that I need to read. I always have the 16 allowable tabs on my Samsung phone opened at all times because I read an article/blog/Wikipedia page and from there. I open several tabs to expand on whatever subject matter I was reading on. I am also that way about music and movies/series: I have to know about the singer/casts’ bios, the thought process that led to the script writing (for the movies/series) and the meanings behind the lyrics of the songs I listen to. This is a nerve-wracking process that can sometimes end up using up several hours of my time.
However, I am not quick to bash on this trait of mine as it has served (and still does) me well as a doctoral student.
One of the qualities of a seasoned scholar is after all the depth and understanding they apply to their research questions.
Extrapolating this to my faith was frustrating as hell (the wrong choice of words, I know). My demand for certainty created the space for frustration in my life. Perhaps, someone can relate to this, in your quest for certainty you walk by sight (or emotions) instead of by faith. Without which, it is impossible to please God. Phillip Yancey expressed it best when he said “Where there is certainty, there is no room for faith”
During my internship with a biotech company, one of my tasks entailed doing a thorough systematic review of a rare skin disease. Before this, I didn’t care much to study about the disease nor did I know much about it. I spent up to three months learning all I could about this disease and therapeutic options as I was to give a final presentation to key opinion leaders at the end of my internship. I wanted to present my best work, to make sure that my presentation reflected the time I had spent researching on this disease. I realized that the more I learned, the more there was to learn. I concluded that I could never get to the depths of it, even though I had spent several man hours researching this therapeutic area. The patients were just too heterogeneous and the disease was very complex. Who am I then to think that I can understand an eternal, omniscient God? I have since then concluded that I have to leave room for faith. We can’t have 100 percent certainty in life.
Even research is built to accommodate uncertainties. For example, confidence intervals (which, IMHO, should be renamed “uncertainty intervals”) tell you how much uncertainty you have. I now leave some wiggle room to walk by faith, knowing that all things work together for my good.
I have made peace with those unanswered questions and have finally found some considerably amount of peace in my life. Taking my life back from Christ after giving it to him made me learn to give my life (the whole 200+ lbs of beautiful mess) back to him wholeheartedly.
Please share your thoughts in the comments