Authentic: ECG 2016

Wednesday, 6 April 2016



Recently, I have been really, really tired. Emotionally tired. Like life has sapped out every little bit of energy that I had until I'm nothing more than a puddle on the ground. Like my whole being is sinking under the weight of my heavy heart.

Like anyone, I needed a bit of time away to re-centre myself. So I found myself in Scarborough. Not just to chill out and stuff my face with fish and chips (although the latter obviously happened). I was at a conference.

Now I don't tend to tell an awful lot of people this fact, and I've certainly never posted it on my blog. Probably because I'd worry about the reaction that I get. But here it goes...

I am a Christian. I first went to church at five years old, as part of a children's club, and at age 17 I was baptised. I wasn't brought up as a Christian, and in a way, I'm glad of that, because I was baptised confident in the knowledge that this was the path that I had chosen for myself.

Fast-forward five years and I'm at the ECG conference for the fourth time. But I'm in a pretty shaky place. Two years before, my whole world tipped upside down, my mental health spiralled out of control, and just as I thought I'd managed to piece everything back together, it was tipped upside down yet again. And by this point, I was just exhausted. I hadn't been to church for the best part of two years and I couldn't have even told you when the last time I prayed was. As far as I was concerned, God had given up on me. And I sat in that first worship of this year's event with a heavy heart, contemplating whether the money that I'd spent on my ticket would have been better off in my driving lesson fund.

I'll tell you what, though. There's something about singing your heart out with hundreds of other Christians that stirs something in you.

The theme of the week was Authentic, and the whole conference was packed with seminars, bible studies and talks around how we can become more authentic in our faith, our worship, and everything in between, led by inspiring, passionate and often funny speakers, who really motivated me to go out there and try to make the world a better place.

Throughout the week, I started thinking. And I realised that recently, I had been completely the opposite to Authentic. When friends asked me where I was going, I'd say I was going to Scarborough for a break. In conversations, I'd only briefly mention my faith, and quickly change the subject. Is that Authentic faith? Nope. No it isn't.

I came away from ECG this year feeling so refreshed. I've come to realise that God hasn't given up on me, maybe he's just paving the way for something else. I've also realised that for that to happen, I need to be true to my faith and be proud of it. No more hiding. No more diluting it down or making light of it.

I am a Christian. I believe in God and I am going to go out there and make this world a better place, in my own small way.

Thank you, ECG, for getting my out of my rut. Same again next year?

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