If you’ve read only a couple of my posts or know me at all – you know that I’m a Christian. That I go to church. That I use phrases like “faith journey” and “divine intervention”. That some of my favorite quotes are Bible verses. And that I openly talk about a man named Jesus. I love to share my faith with others and I’m not shy about it. It’s clearly a large part of my life. In fact, if we’re being honest, it’s kind of the point of my life.
So it always strikes me as funny when people think that it’s a hobby.
Like going to church on Sunday is just another activity that I have on my agenda. Or that it is just a demographic differentiator, like my gender or age. Or that it’s something I do to make myself feel better, kind of like therapy. Or just a formality that I take a bit more seriously than the average person – you know, just a way in which I want to raise my hypothetical future children.
And maybe that’s my fault. Maybe I never really explained how much living for Jesus changes me, moves me and shapes me.
Because the reality is, being a Christian stitches together who I am. It is the core of my identity. It affects every aspect of my life. It challenges my thinking, my beliefs and who I strive to be. It impacts who I date, my career path, who I become friends with and where I envision myself 20 years from now. It influences how I treat others, where I seek advice and how I make big and small life decisions. Being a Christian affects how I feel about myself in the morning, how I get over painful situations and why I am joyful and grateful. This man named Jesus radically changes my life every day.
Maybe people think of Christianity as a hobby because it seems like some sort of exclusive club. Laden with rules and guidelines – Christianity seems meant for the people who don’t screw up or who are judgmental and seemingly perfect. But the reality is – Christianity is actually rooted in inclusivity. If you go back and really get into the Word, down to what Jesus actually said, not what man has said – you see that Jesus didn’t come for the self-righteous religious folk.
He came for the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the murderers – people that society deemed and still deem as “not good” or “less than”.
See, Christianity was meant for you and for me. Meant for the screwed up, the imperfect. For those of us who have rotten thoughts, do rotten things and who are completely broken people. I’m not always the kindest person. I don’t always make the best decisions. I often feel insecure and inadequate even knowing full well that I was created in His image. I can be judgmental and the antithesis of what a Christian should be. I have faults. I have major weaknesses. I’m not always grateful. I don’t love well and I can be a very selfish person.
But I fully believe I am saved on a daily basis. Forgiven for the crappy things I’ve done or said. That I am loved even when I’m being unlovely. That my trials have purpose and meaning. That I’m not alone. Because I see him working. I see him working in my friends even if they can’t see it themselves. I can see him working on my heart and working in my life. And I have seen Jesus completely wreck people’s lives, transform them and bring forth the King or Queen inside of them.
So you see – being a Christian isn’t just the tag line to my life or a descriptor to add to my Facebook page. When I say I’m a Christian, I’m all in. Like all my poker chips IN. Both feet in the Hudson, dunking my body IN. Tattoo-commitment IN.
It’s the thread of my life and I’m in it. All In.
Jena Viviano is a Wall Streeter by day and a lifestyle blogger by night. Currently working at the New York Stock Exchange, Jena moved to the city two years ago after graduating from Lehigh University. She desires to encourage and inspire other young men and women as they navigate through the muddy waters of becoming an adult.
You can read her blog at: giantinheels.com.