I do a Bible study once a week with a couple of girls that I work with. It is usually a straight-forward, almost a little boring sometimes even, kind of Bible study. However, a couple of weeks ago, one of them said something that I found myself not totally agreeing with. So, I asked her about it and she explained why she felt that way. She then proceeded to ask me why I thought the opposite and I realized that I honestly didn't know why. It was something that I had been taught growing up, and I had never been challenged to figure out how I personally felt about it.
I quickly started talking to different people, reading in my Bible, and really thinking about the issue and what I believed. I can't say that I have a finished answer, but I still have the overall same stance that I originally started out with. Now I have a little more reasoning behind it.
However, I learned..a lot. I learned that there is so much more grace than I ever knew possible. I feel like I grew up in a great church with some amazingly Godly people around me. But somewhere along the way the lesson on true grace never quite made it into my brain. I have lived my life in so much fear. Unnecessary fear. Fear should not in any way be a driving factor. We are not supposed to live that way. God has so much more grace than we could ever give Him credit for. We sing about grace, and we talk about grace, but do we really get it? I would say for the most part, probably not.
I have been challenged to figure out how I really feel about things. I have realized that a lot of my beliefs are not truly mine. They are what I was brought up hearing, and I never really questioned whether or not it was truth. A lot of the things I was taught I still feel the same about, but I am also learning that some of it I don't- and that's okay! God is so complex that there is honestly no way to know that one specific religion or person has it all correct. Most of it honestly doesn't matter. It's petty. I still think it's important to understand why you believe something, but unless it's a fundamental, it really doesn't matter.
I know this post wasn't really about Japan. I just feel like I have had some huge revelations lately, life-changing ones. Being in Japan and still drawing near to God has been a challenge. There is no real church to go to, no accountability. Besides the people that you work with, it really is just between you and God. I have realized that church has always been a sort of crutch for me. Don't get me wrong, I love church and miss it more than I could say. But being stripped away from that has made me step back and see how much of my faith and "relationship" with God was dependent on others. I will be thankful for the day that I have a church family again, but I am also thankful for this time in my life that I don't.