I was born in a Christian family so every conversation or topic about God was mediocre to me. We go to church every Sundays and I get to memorize a verse each week to claim a prize the following mass/service; that was all religion to me– You do good so you won’t spend your life after death in the “lake of fire” aka hell.
That was it for me, I didn’t take God as anything else. He’s the one I get to thank for Sundays and to whom I talk to before I eat and sleep (at least because that’s what I was taught). I knew God was there but I thought “So, what?” I didn’t actually care, I just knew that I’m not supposed to question it and I just have to live by the knowledge of it. I’ve read that some call this Christian Atheists..
because “We believe in God but live as if He doesn’t exist.”
Nevertheless, I joined the dance ministry of our small village church where you dance with tambourines and I was there but not actually grasping what I was doing. I just thought “I can do it, so why not”? Plus, my parents would be happy of me.
I loved my friends, the experience, and the skill but right now, I realized that I didn’t actually get to know God. That was it, practices on Saturdays to perform on Sundays..
It was all a routine for me.
I’m not a good kid but I can say I’m also not the worst. I talkback, curse a lot and I am short-tempered, lazy, all those common misbehaviors but I didn’t get to drink and smoke (glad I didn’t have any access to those back then). I also had those lone moments where I cry at night because I’m scared of the future, I’m scared of getting old, being alone. I know we all had those nighttime overthinking sessions when you realize that no matter what you do those are all just for a moment and there will always be something missing.
My parents told me that we had to move to another church and of course I didn’t want to because my friends were in that village church but my parents had the upper hand. Time came, we were “church-hopping” until we stopped at a certain church because of a reason I don’t know.
Then there goes the wheel of worship at Sundays and on Mondays to Saturdays I act like I don’t have a God. Same old same old.
My friend who already attended at that church invited me to their Youth Services that was on Saturdays. I thought maybe it’s another chance to have more friends in church so I went to church again the next Saturday. I enjoyed it really but I didn’t have the guts to mingle in their fellowship or group-together right after the Giving time so I always went home early.
I thought that I’d stay like that until my parents pushed me to join their Youth Camp at summer 2014. It was a 5-day Camp in Laguna in the last week of April so that’s probably when I would celebrate my death anniversary or maybe my birthday too…
I found my life when I laid it down.
After that Youth Camp, I wasn’t me anymore. People may find this phrase cliché but “I found God’s love.” and it’s not about religion, it was never about religion. When God gave Jesus, it’s not so we can church on Sundays and do good deeds or all efforts so we won’t burn in hell. No. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life– God gave Jesus for us to come to Him and know Him. That He is not just a king to be praise or worshiped but He wants us to see Him as our father. Corny ba pag English?
To put into illustration…
Dang, alam ko sa sarili ko na if I was wearing a shirt, lubog na lubog na lubog na ako sa mantsa because of all the things na I did wrong but when that night came sa Youth Camp– Tae, hinubad nya sakin yung clothe na yun and told me that’s not me anymore tapos sinuot nya sakin yung damit na white as snow and I kept on wondering why’d He do that? When I was never deserving to be washed clean, I never deserved to be embraced by this kind of love… why?
What is man that You are mindful of Him? And what do I have to deserve this love? (Psalms 8:4)
I found myself being changed everyday as I seek Him and find Him, I fall more in love; I know I didn’t change myself, I didn’t have to do that before trying to know Him but
He took me as I am and made me a new creation.
So that is how I died but I’ve been born again.
That’s what it actually means to be “born again” it’s not a religion but it’s an experience, something that happens to you. Most “Born Again” Christians don’t know it themselves. Now that I’ve understood what it meant, I can say that I’m a Christian as a religion since birth but I was born again in 2014.