The heart of Christianpig is valuing and learning from each person's unique perspective because everyone has experienced life a little differently. A different childhood, or religion, or parents, or school, or culture, or city, or family... the list could go on forever. Why the hell does that one guy from work never stop watching annoying YouTube videos? Why does my wife always claim there is a “correct” way to put on a roll of toilet paper? Truth be told, we all have different perspectives on life shaped by how life happened to us. This article is about a perspective I have.
Overall, I'm a pretty average dude. I have a job, a wife, some hobbies and passions and goals, but if I were to use one word to define me, it would definitely be the word “Christian.” I love that and hate it at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I'm most certainly not ashamed to name myself as a follower of Christ, but the name Christian usually comes with some preconceived ideas about “those types of people”. Of course, it's understandable when Christians have a tendency to act as if we are a little different from everyone else, perhaps even a little better. I'm no exception to this struggle.
Even writing this post, I have such a hard time not taking a “theological” angle and discussing how religion and life mingle together. Is that what people need to hear?
The truth is life is messy and we all are affected by how we grew up or the crazy things from our childhood, all on top of the person we were made to be, and that's okay. In fact, that's amazing. Everything I've experienced, even up to this very moment, has shaped the person I am and that's just the way God intended it. A huge part of all of that for me is my unique childhood.
Growing up, I didn't have the typical American childhood, or then again maybe I did. There was plenty of domestic violence from my dad and by the time I was eight, my mom took us and left to raise us on her own. She had four of us kids to deal with and while going back to college, she worked two jobs so that we could have a place to live. Needless to say, my new found life had a lot of freedom and I was okay with that.
I'm not sure if it was because I was too young, or if it was a normal way to deal with the situation, but I didn't care at all that my parents had gotten a divorce. It's actually kinda weird to say, I was only eight, but not having a dad like the rest of the kids was fine with me. Maybe I didn't care about my parents splitting because I was so independent, but either way, this new freedom in life fit my personality like a glove. Through all this, my childhood took on a unique structure. Everyone in my family did their own thing and took care of themselves. No one worried about what someone else was doing and we all just lived. There was no animosity or bitterness, at least not from me, and I enjoyed the way our family worked. I feel like that is the best way to describe it and looking back now I see how it has affected my life.
I have a hard time forging strong bonds, even though I have always liked all my friends and connected easily with the people around me.
I would even go as far to say that I trusted people more than most and had a large group of really close friends, but even then I knew that if all of my friends were to suddenly stab me in the back, I wouldn't have cared. Maybe you can relate to what this is like. I was stuck in a bubble that perhaps didn't hinder my interactions with people, but stopped them from getting too close, all without knowing I was doing it.
When I turned 12, I encountered God.
This encounter wasn't an awe inspiring, miraculous moment with God, but actually a very personal and almost anti-climatic experience. All of a sudden I just knew Jesus wanted my life and in the same breath I knew he had it as well. I didn't go to church and no one stopped to tell me about my need for a Savior, it just happened. Somehow I knew this to be true more than anything in the world, and my life was changed forever. Even with such an impacting event however, my independent mindset did not change.
Through middle school and high school my lifestyle reflected that of a Christian, but the way I perceived and treated relationships did not. Unfortunately, this carried over to how I dealt with my relationship with God as well, and caused a lot of problems. To be in a relationship with God is to be completely transparent and utterly vulnerable, while I was closed off and independent. What God showed me, and what I didn't really learn until a few years back, is that to be in a relationship with anyone means the same thing.
"To be in a relationship with God is to be completely transparent and utterly vulnerable"
Each relationship varies, there are friends and then there are acquaintances, but to be able to truly connect and live life with someone else, you must be willing to be vulnerable and surrender some independence.
I say all of this, but I, of course, still hold on to many of my old tendencies.
I am horrible at keeping in contact, even with close friends, and especially so if we don't live in the same town. I easily forget about trying to maintain relationships unless it's someone I tend to see often. Even in my shortcomings though, I have realized that to truly see how amazing friendship is and to really get the most out of our life, choosing to have close relationships is necessary. It's how things were designed to be.
While I feel like this is true, I know that I am still far from doing it perfectly and I am fine with that. One thing I know for sure: life isn't about being perfect. That is why I love the mission of Christianpig and why I even bother writing this article. Knowing that I can learn and be encouraged from other peoples' unique perspectives and hoping someone will be encouraged from mine.