Okay, so before you get excited, there is no real challenge. Per say. There won’t be a prize at the end and you racing to do ridiculous things. The title is actually a challenge between mind and spirit. My mind and spirit. It is one that I have been battling for quite some time and have just now developed an understanding to. It may come to a shock to some because you know how it goes when Black folks bring up any questions against religion, but eh. It won’t be the first time I have ruffled some feathers. :)
My mother always had me in the church and involved. We weren’t there 24/7, but I knew God and Jesus as my savior since I could remember. I loved going to church and hearing my pastor preach. He fed so much life into me, at such a young age, and I attribute most of my sanity to his preaching. As I became older, 18, I didn’t go to church as much. And after my pastor died, I really didn’t want to period. We soon settled into another church with a pastor who was actually my youth minister at my previous church. I felt at home because he was an amazing preacher as well. But, I would find myself feeling a certain type of way when certain passages were read in the Bible. I often had questions but knew that it could go one or two ways. Either I would find out a truth that I would not be comfortable with or I would be looked at as different because I was challenging the word of God. So, I kept it to myself. Telling myself that I could enjoyed the sermon and take from it what was needed and move on. Years later, with kids, I have been conflicted again. As my oldest is coming to the point where he wants to be baptized, I am questioning myself again. I have always vowed to allow my children to learn things on their on and never push my opinions on to them. This is with anything, food, clothing, and religion. But I also wondered if this was the right thing. As a parent, you are suppose to lead your child in the right direction. Was there a way that I could introduce him to God without overly pushing religion on him?
As stated before, I grew up in the church. If it wasn’t for my knowledge of Him and knowing that He could get me through anything, I would not be where I am today. It is my experience with God, my daily conversations, my knowing of his grace and mercy that allows me to believe in Him. This is what I want to instill into my children. I don’t necessarily want them to believe in man or an institution or a religion. I want them to believe in Him and Him only. But, as kids do…they have questions. It is hard to answer these questions without a bias opinion and this has been my biggest problem. I don’t want him to ask, “Why should I believe in Jesus?” and my answer is because I said so. I want him to come up with these answers on his own because everyone’s journey is different. What I believe in and what works for me may not be what works for him and his life.
Then, I am challenged with what do I fully believe in. I believe in God. I believe that He created everything and He has a plan and purpose for everyone’s life. I believe that He is the reason for any and everything that is happening and will happen to me. Here comes the conflict. I do not believe in the Bible. I actually never have. As a writer, I can’t shake the thought of several creatives sitting around and writing an entertaining self help book. There are things in the Bible that I cannot agree with and therefore, I feel like I can’t believe in the full book. Can’t just pick and choose what you want to believe. So because of this, I often question my belief in Jesus Christ. The only thing saying that he is possible is the Bible and I have already denounced believing in that, so therefore I should not believe in Jesus. See, that’s where it gets tricky. Because I believe in God with every fiber of my being, I can easily believe that Jesus is real. I can believe that it is possible that he died and rose. God is that powerful. He may not be real because of what is written in the Bible, but I do not deem it ridiculous if he was. Does that make sense?
So, with this Easter Challenge, I am challenging myself to be more open with my beliefs. Easter is a holiday dedicated to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As someone who somewhat believes in this story, should I still fully celebrate it? Should I allow my children to celebrate it and educate them on what it means without putting my two cents in? I have decided to teach my children both ways. If they have questions, they will be answered wholeheartedly. I will give them my full and honest opinion and let them make their own decisions on what to believe. I will instill God in them and as they become older, they will choose their own paths. While it is still in the early stages of thinking, I am still praying and adjusting as I go. One thing that I have made certain is that I will not participate in the Pagan part of this holiday. There will be no Easter baskets full of candy. There will be no Easter egg hunts. I have no clue what this has to do with Jesus’ resurrection and I refuse to play into it any longer. I want my sons to be fully educated and not just go with what society deems is correct. Society wants us to spend money for a holiday that is suppose to be solely based on something spiritual. Nope! Not anymore.
Being more open with my beliefs allows me to be closer to Him. I am seeing things more clearly and He is allowing this to happen. It is nothing better than being awakened, in your own mindset, and not being afraid to share it with others. With so many people and different religions, I have never been one to judge. I can only speak on my experiences with God and what He has done in my life. I can only do what is right for my life and my journey. This “challenge” is not so much a challenge, but an opportunity to realize who God is in my life and being okay with that.