I am not who they think I am…

So for the first time in my life, someone asked me a question that began, “As a non-Christian, do you…”

This may not be odd to you, but since my Christianity has been a vital, if not supremely influential influence on my entire life, development, identity, and choices, having someone essentially confirm what I’ve been wondering is a bit unnerving. I don’t want to say I’ve deconverted. I really want to avoid it. What if this is a “phase”? I wouldn’t want to say I was one thing and then pull an “Oops, just kidding!”

Most of all, I don’t want to tell the people who still think “that’s Julia, she’s a Christian” that I’m not so sure any more.

I’ve never had this crisis before. I always knew and I always felt like that knowing was impossible to change.

I still have a Christian worldview. I still know the Bible better than any other book. I am still interested in theology and doctrine. I still think Jesus/God makes a powerful, life-changing impact on people’s lives. In fact, I still love God as I understand it and Jesus as I understand him. But… I don’t know if I’m Christian anymore. I don’t care for the religion, even if I care for the principals at its core (love! all should be love!). But the religion is not that simple, no matter how many different pithy ways people explain it. I know this. I’ve been one as long as I can recall.

Clearly, I’m struggling with this. I’m struggling with the idea that a core identifier of my life might be gone. I’m struggling with the fear that I might lose the respect and love of those who respect and love “Christian Julia”. It’s like I think people won’t take my view seriously now, simply because I am not an orthodox believer. Like suddenly my insight and knowledge doesn’t matter anymore…. I haven’t felt like an outsider before. In simple terms, I feel demoted.

And you all might remember how scared I am of my family’s expectations. They have a picture of me in their heads… and they have no idea how far off they are. But they love that picture, and they support it and admire it. They know how to treat it.

But that’s not me! Who am I now?

I’m afraid.