I don't doubt I've had my moments, I've trusted God on 2 whole occasions that I can think of when it came to my future or current circumstances (believe me, this is actually pretty good for me). I've been on missions trips that were a sacrifice in some way shape or form and I've had times in my life where I've sought God pretty passionately/regularly but I have never lived a life like Christ. I started to realize my faith is supposed to be more than a handful of missions trips and moments where I trust God. Christianity is supposed to be more than a culture, and it's certainly more than a set of beliefs we defend so much the world (and plenty of believers) now thinks Christians can only be Republican. But the conviction I've been having is that my Christianity is supposed to be a lifestyle - modeled after Jesus. He isn't some quotable theologian I get behind because he's the "winner" of religion. His life demands I do the same and that's precisely what I've failed to do.
Contemporary Church would tell me that grace is all I need, squashing my convictions and telling me I don't need to change because that is the Holy Spirit's job. Some would say that the devil is messing with my mind: that he's lying to me and trying to convince me that I'm not a Christian. But friends: I have zero doubt that what I've been experiencing over the last few years is something I should ignore or fail to explore. When I read the Bible, the New Testament is filled with Jesus giving commands. They aren't optional. Is his love conditional to our obedience? Well... that's where it gets pretty murky for me and where some of my hesitancy to even identify as a Christian comes from. I believe there are several versus that begin with "If you are my children..." or "If my followers love me..." I just can't keep ignoring these statements.
Grace is wonderful - in the end I rely on grace because no matter how hard I try I will never measure up. I will fail, I will struggle with sin. Grace is what keeps me in God's favor. But Jesus still said to follow him and that is what I don't think I have ever done (or rarely done). Following Jesus looks like forgiveness. Following Jesus looks like caring for others. Following Jesus is not just going to church on Sunday to get fed and feel good about ones life because "Jesus loves me." These are great bonuses to being a part of the Church but it doesn't make my faith. That being said, overall, my Christian walk has primarily involved the above.
I hold grudges, curse like a sailor, haven't forgiven those who have wounded me, struggle with pride and hypocrisy, and anger is the biggest Goliath in my life. I don't trust the Lord for freedom from sin, I'm the most fearful person I know and that's exactly what God says I am released from.
I am at best, a dabbler. I dabble in Christianity. I want all the benefits of the Christian faith but I don't prioritize God. What's worse? I've known this for years. I'll go a good amount of time reading the Word then go years without any consistency. I am lukewarm. I am the seed that falls on rocky places where it did not have much soil. I look at other people's lives and see their faith implemented in both the daily and huge life-changing moments - but mine is marked by doubt, anger, skepticism, reluctance, accepting defeat and embracing fear. I play petty games with God and blame him when things don't go my way while believing I did nothing specific to deserve it - as if God's mercy is reliant on my performance.
I have viewed God as my enemy and my attitude has told him in no uncertain terms that Jesus dying on the cross is just not enough. I want my life to be easy, filled with blessings and no difficulties. I want what I want when I want it and I pass the time keeping score on what I think I deserve.
The question that now hangs over me is, "What do I intend to do about it?" If admitting you have a problem is step one I guess I'm there... but I've been there for years. It's one thing to know I have a problem and admit it out loud, it's another to know where I go from here. The ability to navigate from here can be tricky. I don't want to fall into legalism by keeping score of everything I'm doing "right," living in legalism is another beast altogether and I've wasted enough time.
This wasn't meant to be a confession but that doesn't mean that's not what this is. I'm not looking for reassurance, but I may be looking for accountability or comradery. I can feel myself getting to the point where something is about to change - like when someone hits rock bottom and they can finally admit their lifestyle needs to be the opposite of how they've been living. I know that God is the author and finisher of my faith, I know his grace is sufficient and at the end of the day I have my salvation in his sacrifice - but I also think I'm missing out on what he meant by living life to the full and I want to have that life. How can I speak about God to people if I'm pretending to be something I'm not? I don't want to be a fraud. I don't want to be just another person that identifies as "Christian" yet isn't living a life that reflects her beliefs.
I'm the least qualified to talk about how to live your life, but I know the answer for how to live comes from the book I rarely read, so I'll start there.