But sometimes I am embarrassed to admit it. Not because I am ashamed of Jesus Christ or what I believe, but because of all the connotations that come with the word, "Christian".
I love Jesus Christ, who He was and continues to be. I love that I have a real relationship with Him. I am in awe of the fact that even in my darkest times - my desperate, wandering times, His love for me continued. I love His kindness and compassion for mankind.
I don't love how many Christians act. I don't love how the church often acts. I don't love that so many people call themselves Christians, but really don't know anything about Jesus or who He is.
I grew up believing that "good" Christians didn't smoke, drink or swear. The really good ones didn't watch TV or listen to "secular" music. You went to church, read your Bible and tried really, really hard not to do anything bad.
Sometimes I wish I could give myself another title. I've always liked 'The Way'... "Follower of The Way". Sounds a little too out there, I guess. But I want people to know that I am in love with Jesus because of what He has done for me. He has erased my guilt, my shame. Shame that I felt as a result of my decisions. Jesus doesn't owe me a thing. But He frees me anyway. It took me a long time to accept that freedom. I knew that I was forgiven, but still felt like I had to carry around the shame that lingered. That it was my burden, my "lot in life" as a result of my decisions. When I finally learned that I could lose that load, that I didn't need to feel ashamed for being freed, even if I didn't deserve it, my life was changed. I can honestly say that I am a different person because of that freedom. In return, I love Him for that. And because I love Him, I want to obey Him. I'm not the best at it, but I try. I also know I could try a whole lot harder.
And that is what I want people to know.
I suppose I'll still call myself a Christian, and try not to cringe when I do. And since the only person I have any control over is myself, I guess I need to make sure that my life reflects what I believe. That I am sincere in my love for Him. That I am authentic. Forget what I think I am "supposed" to do, and follow Jesus' example, which he so freely lived.