Today in one of my classes, we talked about belief. What we believe and why do we believe it? What does it mean to believe and what does it take to believe? I was being asked what I believe. Not what my mom, step-dad, brothers, sister, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, or friends believe. Me. What do I believe? At least in my case, I've grown up being told what I should believe and why I should believe it. Don't get me wrong, I've always been supported to believe in my own ways. But I've definitely had guidelines of what I "should" believe. Mom's always told me to go to church and that God loves me. In church, I'm told about God and why to believe in Him. Sometimes I've even felt pressured to believe what the church believes. But I'm in college now. No one's here to tell me what to believe, what to say, think or do. I'm on my own here. It's up to me to determine what I believe and what I want to believe. I can decide what I agree with and what I don't. This is my chance to become my own person.
What do I believe? Well, I believe in a lot of things. I believe in Jesus and I strongly believe in going by what He says; not necessarily what the church says. I believe in the love, hope, peace, joy, healing and life that Jesus brings. He has done more for me than words can say. I believe in loving someone to matter what. It doesn't matter what you do, what you've done, who you are, where you've been, how far you've fallen, if you're gay, straight, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or any race, if you're an addict, if you're an atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, flying spaghetti monster follower, homeless, rich, or whatever label you have been called; it doesn't matter. You are you and I will love you just for that. I believe in not condemning or judging. I have no place judging or condemning someone just because they sin differently than me. I believe in tattoos. They open the window to someone's soul. Mine just happen to be my mottos on skin. I believe in family. Family is forever. I believe in forgiveness and the power of it. Everyone deserves to be forgiven no matter what. I believe in respect. Even if you don't respect me, I will respect you. I believe in turning the other cheek. I believe in horses and animals and how much healing they can bring. I believe in laughing at any chance I get. Laughter is the best medicine. I believe in Christian music. I believe in having an open mind. I believe in marriage. I believe in gay marriage. I believe in being in love. I believe in humanity. I believe in optimism. I believe in hope. I believe in kindness. I believe in faith. I believe in love.
I believe that everyone is entitled to believe what they want.
But what does it mean to believe? I think it means putting your faith into something even when others may disagree with you. What does it take to believe? A lot of courage to come out and state what we believe. I've been made fun of, and flat out told that I was wrong for things that I believe. And to be honest, that is not a good feeling at all. It's a personal blow. There is always going to be someone out there to disagrees with you. That is why we cling to others who believe the same things. Every time I publicly state that I believe in and that I'm in love with Jesus, I risk being called a "Jesus freak." Frankly, it wouldn't be the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. It's not easy believing in Jesus when so many are not for Him. Honestly, it can actually be scary. Today we were asked to go in front of the class and talk about the world that best describes your vision for your life. My word was "Christ-centered." I have to admit, I was afraid to go up and state this and state what I believe because I'm afraid of rejection. I'm afraid of being ridiculed and negatively confronted. I'm afraid of being persecuted. "The phrase 'do not be afraid' is written in the bible 365 times. That's a daily reminder from God to live every day being fearless." I'm going to believe what I want to believe without being afraid. You too, should believe what you believe without being afraid.
Believe what you want to believe. Don't be afraid of rejection. Don't worry about what others think about you. If there is something you believe in and are passionate about, then friend, go and believe it. I have no right to tell you what to believe. I can tell you what I believe and why I believe it. But it's up to you to believe it. Same goes for others. Don't judge someone just because they believe something differently than you. Everyone is entitled to believe in what they want to believe. You don't have to agree, but respect their beliefs.
Agree or not, this is what I believe.