Confessions of a Recovering "Christian Atheist"
Updated: Jul 30, 2018
I claimed to believe in God. But did I, really?
I've always loved perusing other people's bookshelves. One of my college room-mates had a book on her desk with a title that fascinated and disturbed me: The Christian Atheist. I haven't yet read the whole book, but my pastor often quoted it in his sermon series at the time, and I thought a lot about the title.
Did I believe in God but live as though he didn't exist? Yes, I often did.
One of the biggest ways that "Christian Atheism" worked out in my life was in how anxious I was about the future when it was out of my control--in fact, how I worried about anything that was out of my control. I liked playing God for myself, but of course that didn't always work out so great!
"When we live by faith, we believe that God has everything under control. But if we start to worry, how we live says the opposite." (Craig Groeschel, The Christian Atheist)
God has been bringing my mistrustful tendencies to my attention many times over the past months, and I'm glad of it. I'm tired of worry stealing my joy. I was flicking through an old journal when something I wrote jumped out at me, something that God impressed on my heart at the time and that is still so relevant to me today. It is written from God's perspective, and I've shared it on this blog before, but I thought it merited sharing again:
"I have not called you to freak out about the future. Your freaking out will not alter My good plan, but it will rob you of today's joy. I have called you to walk with me today, to give yourself to today, to trust Me today. How long until you learn, my child? I am not against you. I am able to do more than you can ask or imagine. Stop doubting and believe."
The problems and heartache that provided the context for that journal entry were indeed soothed and solved; it amazes me how quick I am to forget.
I'm trying to be more intentional about taking God at his word.
I am learning to believe that he means what he says when he tells me, "Do not worry." I am choosing to believe that he will take care of my needs. I am choosing to believe that he really does work all things out for the good of those who love him.
It is easier to trust someone that you know--someone that you love--someone that you know loves you. I guess that's what it comes down to with God-- knowing him not as some distant abstract being, but as a real, loving, active presence in your life.
How would my life be different if I knew God more deeply and if I really believed that he loves me? How would your life be different?
I am thankful that God wants to be known and that he doesn't give up on me while I'm learning to trust him. (Jer 29:11-13, Acts 17:27, Psalm 37:23, 24.)
"Imagine how a [wo]man's life would be if [s]he trusted that [s]he was loved by God." (Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What)
First written in 2015