I was born and raised in the Presbyterian Church up until my late teenage years. I felt a reverence for God there, the people were moral and ethical, and going to church was something we did regularly as a family. My mother was even in the bell choir.
However, I considered it more of a duty or obligation we performed each Sunday, kind of like marking off a box on our list, punching our spiritual clock, etc. Outside of keeping me away from serious sin, God had little influence in my life. During church, my mind would often wander to which NFL football game I would be watching on TV later that Sunday or to the girl I liked in school, etc.
I wanted control over every area of my life that my parents didn’t. I knew about God in many ways, but I truly didn’t know Him in a personal or meaningful way nor did God have much practical influence over my daily behavior. Nevertheless, I was considered a “nice boy” by most who knew me because I respected others and tried to be nice to everyone, including the unpopular kids who were ostracized by the cool kids.
However, I still felt a big spiritual void in my life that only Christ could fill.
One day in my teenage years, I was turning the TV channel and found a Billy Graham crusade on TV and was drawn to it. He made the Gospel come alive to me and his simple message that Christ died for my sins and wanted to be my Lord and Savior and forgive my sins if I repented and gave my life to Him resonated deeply within my spirit.
In short, I repented and accepted Christ in my life as my Lord and Savior at that time and that began a new faith journey for me in which God became real in my life as I relinquished areas of control to Him and trusted in Him. Life had a new purpose. I enjoyed going to church and became an active and enthusiastic participant. It’s almost like the Bible came alive because I knew the one who inspired its writing.
The experience of coming to Christ was a real, decisive, and life-changing event in my faith journey that I can look back on as the start of a much deeper and meaningful relationship with God that continues to this day. I have been growing and maturing in the Lord ever since, yet I know I am still a sinner who fails and needs God’s forgiveness on a regular basis.
I am now being drawn to Catholicism because I find it may enhance and deepen my spiritual walk even more. However, in the back of my mind I wonder what Catholics think of what I believe was a genuine ‘born again’ experience. Would they ridicule it or respect it?
I wonder whether it is common or uncommon for Catholics to come to God or begin their faith journey in this way.
As usual, I appreciate your feedback.