Roasted Potato
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So I've grown up in a Christian family
And I committed my life to christ at a Christian camp as a teenager, and I did it twice.
I'm now 21 and still haven't been baptised and it weighs on my mind. And I thought I have to read my bible and pray and be a good Christian to be baptised, and then I realised I didn't have to be. And then I started to look inside myself more and realise I knew the answers like, what can a relationship with God be like. But I knew them in my mind because I'd been taught the answer from when I was young, not because I felt like I actually had a relationship. I could just regurgitate answers I'd heard as a child.
Then my brother took me to a prayer evening, and I prayed for the first time in front of my church because I really felt God telling me to. And it felt good and people said it was good. And recently i had kind of a thought that if you want me to read my bible God, wake me up at 0500. I woke up at 0455, so I turned to my bible app on my phone and it was already on a chapter which I hadn't put it there. Romans 6. Which is all about dying in sin and being reborn in christ in baptism.
After the prayer evening I spoke to my pastor and asked if I could talk to him and his wife about it all. We are meeting on Thursday
But I am so stressed. I think the excuses highlighted about about being a good Christian, not sure if I know the answers but don't feel them, are just that, excuses. Because I am incredibly anxious about this. I have literally done public speaking in front of 1000 people before and not batted an eye lid, but praying in front of my church (30 people due to covid) terrifies me. Putting my hands up in worship, is something I can't bring myself to do because it is so scary, and I stand at the back of church where no one will see me. Baptism is the scariest of all, especially telling my testimony to everyone, in front of the entire church, and my family (not all of whom are Christians but said they would turn up because its important)
Does anyone have advice or experienced similar?
Please no hate, if you don't believe it or anything, just move onto another post. If you have questions about Christianity, feel free to stay.
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SlaveofAll
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You may need to think it through, as commitment does entail strictures and stuff.
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sionpope
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Hi, I'm not a Christian anymore, but my Mum is a Vicar, so I'm kinda qualified to answer. Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether you know the answers or not. God does, and that's what is important. When I was had communion for the first time, I was alone on stage having it in front of my entire church (about 100 people). I was so, so nervous. I kept on panicking, worrying if I was making the right choice, but my Mum told me that no matter what choices I made, God was there and He loved me. Whilst I don't believe anymore, that thought is still comforting. Yes, it will be terrifying, but God will be there. It's okay if you aren't as loud and physical in your worship, personally I could never raise my hands in worship, but that's okay. If every Christian was like that, then they wouldn't be the individual people that God wants them to be. You do you! Hope this helps.
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heldbygrace
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Hi

I’m going to be honest in saying that I’ve never really felt what you have before, but hopefully I can help you anyway.
I think the first thing to say is: baptism is not necessary for salvation. There is no rush or necessity for you to get baptised, it can happen in its own time.
I think from what you’re describing you are generally just struggling in your relationship with God; and thats ok. Everyone goes through dark and hard periods but what to remember is those bring out new things and most importantly new faith in you. But what I can see if the roots of a coming back to God, the fact you were able to stand up and pray (even though it was scary), you woke up to read your Bible and you are getting a feeling to get baptised. I mean, this is amazing!! You are drawing back to him and you are going to be so much stronger for it.
Regarding the baptism, I would go and have a chat with your pastor. There’s a reason you have a chat before you are baptised. Tell him everything you are feeling, all your anxieties. I know it’s hard to not worry, but try not to worry about it. He’s seen it all before and it’s his job to help you and help you come to a right decision. He will know you and know what God wants for you.
Personally I think that maybe getting baptised at this point may be a little premature; I think maybe you could work more on connecting and feeling comfortable with God and then have it as an almost celebration when you feel in a good place with your faith. Or, maybe it’s something to do now, and anchor your confidence onto that event. If you can face the giant that having a baptism is for you, you can master anything.
It’s really your decision but please connected with you pastor and other Christians, and just pray. God has the answer and he will tell you, I promise.
Hope this helps
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PilgrimOfTruth
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(Original post by Roasted Potato)
So I've grown up in a Christian family
And I committed my life to christ at a Christian camp as a teenager, and I did it twice.
I too grew up in a Christian family and likewise converted at a Christian camp as a teenager, about age 14 if I remember correctly. I am older and wiser now. I can see that I had been totally conditioned and programmed to act in certain ways and was exploited whilst young because it's incredibly easy to make young people believe things. There's a hell of a lot of psychology tricks going on in churches which you likely won't yet be aware of. My advice would be not to make big decisions at this stage of life. You will likely think very differently in a few years time.

Your asking God to wake you up at 5am is imho just a self-fulfilling event. If you really believed and wanted such confirmation then you would ask for something far more concrete like say lightning striking your house or a tree in your garden. Waking up at 5am? That's really not any kind of proof and in setting that situation up for yourself you made yourself vulnerable imo, much like reading Astrology statements and then making them fit your life.

I've also spent time in churches that are "happy clappy" such as House Church which looking back now I can see were extremely divisive and exploitational. I never had the genuine urge to raise my arms in the air with everyone else, but felt the peer pressure from all those around me to do so hugely. That's how these things work. Seeing others do things makes it seem normal and increases the pressure to conform and we all have a basic need to feel part of groups and to feel accepted. FWIW I went through the baptism thing early too. It was just a thing people did and they had regular groups and they got a bunch of us "kids" to do it so it seemed more "okay" because we were all in it together. I don't think that's the right way to do stuff now. These kind of decisions should be highly personal and in hindsight I would rather not have done it. We do these things because we see others doing them and there's a kind of expectation to do it in the church community. It's a form of exploitation imho. Why is it that not being baptised "weighs on your mind"? It's because of that expectation. That peer pressure. A feeling that if you're not baptised then you are somehow not a complete member of the flock, or maybe you feel that you somehow lack commitment in your faith if you're not baptised.

All of this programming from childhood onwards is extremely hard to shake off. However I did eventually manage it. I now see it for what it was. Pure exploitation of my in my young vulnerable state and I wholly disagree with people doing that to young people. It's just so wrong.

Once I was able to step back and appraise Christianity for what it was, objectively, rationally, sensibly, I realised how misled I was and how silly for failing to apply critical thinking much earlier in my life. That allowed me in turn to reappraise the Bible and what it was saying. I no longer blindly tried to defend the Bible and all it's contradictions and errors. I no longer felt the need to make excuses for God, for all the terrible atrocities that were occurring day by day. That in turn let me reappraise the Bible and for the first time in my life I began to see the hidden messages within it. I no longer read it literally but saw that much of it was allegorical. That opened up new doors, new journeys into the search for truth.

My advice to you is to give yourself time, years, and never take a decision like being baptised based on peer pressure or general expectation.

ATB
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