Updated: Apr 13, 2020
By Shamini Mahendran
For most of my life, I have been one to think that my identity was partly connected to the religion I belonged to, which was influenced by my own cultural beliefs and through emulating practices passed down by my parents. I did not come from a Christian family background and was introduced to Christ through a friend who was madly in love with Jesus!
The Christian perspective of life was very different to the religious perspective of my cultural upbringing. It never occurred to me that I needed to know my Creator at any point in my life, before I came to know of Jesus. In my former faith we were taught to believe and not encouraged to experience a relationship. When a believer first spoke to me at the time when I was a non-believer about Christianity being a relationship with God, I started thinking of the word ‘relationship’. It was a ‘penny drop’ moment to find that missing piece, which was a relationship between God and myself. Life then became an opportunity for me to love others and serve this God who had chosen to have a relationship with me!!
It is easy to give up seeking God when we are totally absorbed with life and lying low in our comfort zone unless and until the question arises “how would I know that it was not God’s intervention which brought hope and comfort to me during all those moments I succumbed to despair?”
Being a follower of Jesus has brought many challenges and blessings. I probably would have chosen to seek an easier way to have a relationship with my Creator. One based on my own terms, rather than walking a path that throws many obstacles, challenges, failures and disappointments which in turn had the effect of draining my spiritual reserves. But the top-up to that spiritual reserve came slowly as I began to build faith, strength, hope, courage and obedience. As I was getting to know more about who my creator is and what it meant to live by faith, it became more evident to keep “talk the talk in line with walk the walk”.
It was many years after I began my journey of faith in Jesus Christ that I had another moment of epiphany. As my perception of knowing the heart and character of my Creator changed, my awareness of who I am also began to change. My identity was no longer formed by the expectations of my culture, religion, traditions, beliefs and just being a ‘good’ human being. My true identity, who I am was now formed by how God, my creator saw me!!
I have come to experience and understand that the difference a believer in Jesus Christ makes on society is in their boldness of choosing to live counter-culturally. This means choosing to step out of their circle of familiarity into the unknown zone. This means choosing to let go of control and trusting Jesus to control our every moment.
Stepping out of your circle of familiarity into the unknown zone is not easy.
For me, fear of losing valuable relationships, lack of confidence, my own upbringing with pressures to conform to tradition, rituals and maintaining family honour came to be some of the reasons why I saw and sometimes still see myself holding back. But then why would I hold back when my heart’s desire is to reflect God’s likeness through my actions? I have come to discover that God is compassionate, merciful, forgiving, slow to anger and overflowing with love.
Basically, this is my opportunity to put scriptures into action. Life’s choices can be messy and unpredictable. But God has given us His Word and promised us His Spirit to guide us and enable us to live counter-culturally in a world that desperately needs me to be compassionate, merciful, forgiving, slow to anger and overflowing with love towards others.
Each day dawns with a fresh beginning for me to let go of how I did life yesterday as long as I am all ‘set and ready’ to move forward trusting Him today.
Everyday I search for God’s word and purpose in what I do, and sometimes even though I am not sure of what it is, I know God definitely will partake in all my circumstances.