“So, you grew up in a Christian home,” she says, fingering the rim of her Starbucks cup. It feels like an accusation.

“Sort of,” I say. “My parents became Christians right before I was born.” 

This is always my response. It’s my way of validating that I wasn’t coerced, manipulated or brainwashed into a life of faith. 

Unless I’m the stupid one? 

I wonder this sometimes. Maybe I’m crazy to believe this old, old story. Maybe the world is one-dimensional. Maybe life really is all about adrenaline highs, sex and entertainment. Or even romance, family and friends.

And what’s the point then?

I know a few hundred kids who grew up in Christian homes. I know fewer who walk with Christ. 

But my mind always finds its way back to the age-old rhetorical question. To Pilate staring into the eyes of Christ and asking, “What is truth?” 

And my heart finds its way back to another age-old rhetorical question. To Jesus looking ‘round his group of disciples and asking, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”

I talk her ear off for five minutes about how it just sank in that the soul is the most essential part of us. Not gender. Not a six-pack. Not our name. Not our good deeds. Our soul. 

I know a few hundred kids who grew up in Christian homes. But I don’t know anyone who’s a Christian because of that. Christianity is not the box you check on a form. It’s the reality of the soul.

No one’s soul is washed in redemptive joy because their parents read them the Bible at dinner. 

There are no Christians by proxy. Joy is a joke to those who have never experienced it. Forgiveness is a myth to those who have never received it. And love is an imitation to those who have never known Him. 

I come downstairs in the early hours of the morning to my mom with her eyes closed, whispering prayers. But it’s only a fond flashback to my childhood if Christ is not Ruler of my soul. 

I am not a Christian by proxy. I am a Christian because Christ took over my most essential self. He puts my sleepless nights to rest. He gives me hope to wake up.

I can’t pretend self is my bio on Instagram.

And I can’t stare into the face of Jesus and wonder what truth is.

I’m a Christian.