Realizing that our hearts are slipping away from the faith we grew up with is a scary, scary thing. For those raised in Christian households, we've been taught, since birth, how following Christ is the only way to salvation and the only Person we can trust 100% in this world. As we got older, we ran into new worldviews, new challenges, and a whole new set of questions that made us wonder if what we grew up with is what WE believe or just a series of familiar bedtime stories.
This is a painful but natural part of making our parents' faith our own faith. In Christianity, our faith must extend beyond a "safe zone" for the soul to a living, breathing relationship with the Almighty God of the Universe. And, just like with people, being introduced and told about someone doesn't mean that we, personally, have a relationship with them (James 2:19). We may have been raised to know the Bible and know about God, but that doesn't mean our parents' relationship with God is our own.
Think of it this way, just because you're friends with one person doesn't mean that their best friend is your best friend too. It takes time to build a relationship with someone. We need to talk to them, listen to them, make time for them. Maybe we connect with that person differently than how others connect with them. The same is true with our relationship with God. Getting to know God helps us trust Him.
One of the cool things about God's creativity is that He made us all different and connects with us in a myriad of unique ways! Artists encounter Him through the simple vibrancy of colors or music. Archaeologists may encounter Him through the threads of history. Scientists may encounter God in the building blocks of life. The list goes on! There isn't just one way to meet with God. Maybe your way isn't like your parents' way.
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" —2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine your faith and your situation to discover the root of your apprehension. What's turning you off about Christianity? Do you find yourself shying away from being called a "Christian"? Where do those feelings stem from? Have you met mean or hypocritical people who call themselves Christians? Are you disconnected from the community at your church? Are you a survivor of spiritual abuse or any other kind of abuse at the hands of a "Christian"? Does a chronic illness, medical condition, or mental health challenge make it difficult to hold onto your faith? Are you tired of trite responses to big problems?
Search your heart for answers to these questions, and talk to God about it. Challenge your questions and challenge the answers you find, then ask more questions. God is big enough to provide wisdom. It may also be helpful to speak to a trusted adult or counselor. Once you have a better idea of what's happening in your heart, then you can deal with those issues and find solutions much easier. (Also see: Doubt vs. Unbelief)
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already." —1 John 4:1-3
Part of making our faith our own is testing what we've been taught against Scripture while being guided by the Holy Spirit through prayer. Maybe you feel like the church has been too condemning. But the Bible tells us that Christians will find conviction from the Holy Spirit, but there's "no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ" (Romans 8:1). What feels like "losing your faith" could be your heart craving a Truth that's been missing from your upbringing.
These are the basic beliefs of the Christian faith:
John 3:16 is one of the clearest, most succinct summaries of the gospel: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Do you find yourself questioning whether these things are actually true? If you doubt, where do your doubts come from? Do you believe and love God but find yourself growing distant from the church community? Bad church experiences are, unfortunately, not uncommon, but that doesn't mean every church will be bad. Keep seeking peace with other believers to find a community that will love you and help you sort out your faith.
If you're doubting the truth of Scripture, I ask you to challenge yourself. Are you passionate about the origins of the universe? Study evolutionary theory and creationism. Ask God to show you what He wants you to see. Allow these ideas to challenge each other. Are you curious about the archaeological background of the Bible? Research! Don't accept easy answers.
As you study, pray. God isn't going to brainwash you into believing a lie, as God is the very definition of Truth itself! Read the Bible and learn what God says about Himself and His plan for His people. You can't always trust what others say, but God's Word is trustworthy (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:15). If you are honestly searching for true answers, they will be given to you (Matthew 7:7-11).
Jesus said this of His Word, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall as it had its foundation on the rock" (Matthew 7:24-25).
God knows your heart even better than you do (Jeremiah 17:9-10). No one can say where your journey is going to take you. The possibilities for your future are endless as only an All-Knowing God can design them. God loves you immeasurably and has offered a life of joy. It's OK to struggle with your faith, but don't stop there. Seek truth, and you will find it.
"And Jesus said to him, '...All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!'" —Mark 9:23-24
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." —John 10:10
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." —Ephesians 2:8-9
Feeling like you're losing your faith is scary. You may be encountering challenges, worldviews, and questions that demand answers. Christianity isn't just a "safe zone" for the soul, but a living, breathing relationship with God. Knowing about God is not having a relationship with Him (James 2:19). As we develop a personal relationship with God, sometimes our faith shifts and changes. We learn new things and more about who He made us to be. God's love for you is immeasurable, and His grace has you covered (Ephesians 2:8-9). Examine your spiritual foundation to discover where you're losing faith (1 John 4:1-3). Take time to discover why you believe what you say you believe (1 Peter 3:15). Challenge your doubts and seek the truth (Matthew 7:7-11). God may be waiting to connect with you in a unique way. Pray about it; God knows your heart and won't lie to you (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Ask Him to help your unbelief (Mark 9:23-24).
September Grace is an aspiring novelist, book
hoarder collector, and movie watcher. She has a black feline floof named Faust, an assortment of plants that seek global domination, and a distinct lack of awareness for where she is at any given moment.