Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thinking for Myself #1

*Note: I started writing the following in response to the person who thinks that people of "my type" have just never learned to question or to think for themselves. But, as this topic touches on so much of my past experience, this piece has turned into a sort of testimony of my own life journey. Please forgive me if this sounds in any way arrogant or self-serving in places! I'm not trying to be self-focused...but, well...this piece is about MY life from MY perspective so I'm trembling in trepidation it might come across that way:op*

If an outsider tried to condense my existence into a brief profile, here's how it might read...

Erin: Christian conservative woman in her mid-twenties. Born into a Christian family. Accepted Christ at age four. Raised in the church. Homeschooled through high school. Got good grades. Never did drugs. Has never been drunk. Has never even gotten a traffic ticket. Married a Christian conservative missionaries' kid right before our senior year of college. Graduated from a Baptist University. Aspires to be a good wife, mother and homemaker. Wants to homeschool her own children someday, and raise then in much the same way as she was raised. Highly politically incorrect, and holds many "archaic" views about God, life and family.

*Gasp!* Could I possibly fit the bill any more for the liberal secularist's vision of the sheltered and naive Christian fundi? Could I ever have possibly contemplated a thought of my own? The answer is yes, constantly. And that is precisely why I believe what I do and am the way that I am. Allow me to expound on my history just a bit.

When I was four, I accepted Christ. I remember it clearly to this day: My dad and I were at the park, and I was asking him about Heaven and Hell. He explained that Heaven was where we could be with God forever after we died, if we had accepted God's gift of salvation, believing that Jesus died to pay for the bad things we had done. Hell was simply a place apart from God for eternity.

My dad didn't try to scare me with fire and brimstone descriptions. And I didn't need them. I already knew that God existed (I can't remember a time when I didn't know that--and I strongly believe it's because God made Himself known to me!) and it was enough for me to understand that I wanted to spend my entire existence with Him. The thought of being separated from Him was agonizing to me. I knew He was there and that He would listen to me. I also knew I had done bad things, and so it seemed natural to ask God's forgiveness for those.

When we got home from the park, I kneeled on the seat of a chair in our living room, with my arms resting on the back of the chair. I prayed and told God that I wanted Him to save me so that I could always be with Him.

Growing up, I was extremely inquisitive. I always wanted to know the "why" of everything (still do!). My dad tells me I used to ask so many questions, that when he needed a break he would start making his answers go around in circles until I got tired.

I questioned everything, and really thought about it. One time when I was probably seven or eight, I was at a neighbor-lady's house watching a television show on nature. When the show's narrator placed the Earth's age at millions of years old, I piped up, stating my conviction that the Earth wasn't that old. "Oh, of course it is," said the neighbor. "That's just what your parents tell you. You'll find out when you're older." I felt both stunned and indignant. It had never occurred to me that I couldn't know what I believed for myself, simply because I was young, or because my parents believed it too! Even at that young age, I had studied various theories of origin (Creation as well as Macro-Evolution) and knew exactly why I believed what I did.

My playmates on our street were a girl from a not-so-devout Catholic family and another girl from a "Christian" (non-Muslim) Palestinian family. Neither girl was very interested in discussing the details of her family's belief systems with me, so I settled for debates about whether or not there was really a Santa Claus. I had figured out that there wasn't, based on the evidence. (My lack of discretion in telling my friends so is regrettable, however, it was rooted in my belief that anyone should be able to come to my conclusion themselves if they truly thought it out! I was "helping" those poor girls to do so :op)

When I reached high school, I began to question many of the choices my parents had made. They wouldn't allow me to attend public high school, and I was furious. I declared that I needed the social exposure in order to overcome my natural shyness. In reality, I was a teenager suffering with a recent move, a healthy dose of normal teenage trauma, as well as a not-so-healthy dose of depression (I believe from undiagnosed hormonal imbalances). Much of my isolation during those years was self-imposed. Public high school would have been one of the least-ideal method of boosting my social skills, but I didn't have a clear picture of it at the time.

When I was sixteen, my parents decided that I would attend the local community college as well as the private classes I was already taking. This glimpse into the "benefits" of public education was enough for me! After having to listen to one too many conversations between students in the science lab about drug use and bisexual behavior, and sitting through one too many sterilized, politically-correct but essentially shallow classroom discussions, I began to understand what my parents had been "keeping me from"...keeping me from having to endure! This experience cemented my desire to continue my liberal arts studies at an institution that shared my worldview. Not so I could be "sheltered", but so that I could develop my worldview in the context of what I knew to be truthful and meaningful.


Blogger Mrs. Wilt said...

I have to ask...were you a "Flame" in college? Just have to know because I graduated from a Christian university, too! :o)

In His joy,
Mrs. Wilt

7:06 PM, May 04, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Mrs. Wilt, what's a "Flame"? (I'm thinking if I was one I would have known, right?:o)

12:31 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger Mrs. Wilt said...

Yep, you would! LOL I went to Liberty University, and that's the mascot. Just wanted to see if you were a fellow alumna! :o)

In His joy,
Mrs. Wilt

3:15 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Mrs. Wilt - Oh! No...I didn't go to Liberty, but I knew tons of kids from church who did. My high school youth pastor and his wife were both Liberty grads, and he really pushed the school!:o)

2:24 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

I really enjoyed this Erin....thanks for sharing it! (o:

9:03 PM, May 08, 2006  

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