My faith shared
As I meet new people and reconnect with old friends, I always have a looming thought in the back of my head. If asked about my faith, how will I defend it? Explain it? ...Justify, it? With some, warmth exists and I approach dialogue about my walk comfortably. With others– I’m met with a blank stare and I feel like a deer in headlights. My boldness falters, with the lack of outward validation. So there I am– feeling like I’m making an “appeal”– trying to use logic for that which surpasses human reasoning and understanding.
Ideally, I’d like to approach these conversations in the same way regardless of the person’s behavior– With confidence, zeal, wit (that’s my flesh talking lol) and a deep rooted enthusiasm, even when someone isn’t nodding, smiling back at me. Because that’s how I truly feel. Hell, I’d like that in every business meeting too!!! Over time, I’ve observed that my best approach, perhaps not the wittiest or theologically advanced– but the one that’s most honest, true to me, and powerful, is the testimony of a changed life. A changed character. A changed mind. And a changed spirit. Me= Being new.
That, speaks for itself. Simply put,
If you knew me before I got saved, you can see/feel/know that I'm a changed person.
If you don’t/didn’t know me, I can tell you all about it, and who I used to be.
What do you do when you have to convince yourself?
As I navigate a weirdo valley in my walk– Where a path diverted took its toll on my spiritual state– Rather than having this dialogue with others, I’m having to defend my faith to myself. I know that I’m different than before, I know I love God, I know that he is real, but when I’m feeling far from Him and the spiritually rooted woman I know myself to be– “you’re changed!” doesn’t work. I don’t feel “different”, because of the space that I’m existing in. I’m pulled into the right now, blinded by emotion and circumstance.
Sooo. What do you do when instead of defending your faith to an outsider– you’re having to defend it to yourself?
A more intimate approach deems necessary. For me, I have to dig. I have to recall moments of divine intervention– the really unpleasant, cringeworthy, sweep under the rug, don’t-tell-anyone-about-this-struggle, “God stepped in”, miraculous moments.
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Who comes first
When I had no sovereign anchor as the center of my life, I had a person in its place via romantic relationship. This person was my default. Whom do I consult? Whose opinion is most valuable? I placed all my bets on this person, wrapping myself around them emotionally, in lifestyle, intertwining thoughts, weaknesses, and saving my greatest love for them– with high expectations. While this relationship type can be deeply satisfying because of the instant gratification it provides through tangible partnership– it’s one of the most dangerous ways to live.
Why? Because people disappoint. We hurt, lie, cheat, and break, because we are broken. It is our human nature. The absence of God in relationship exalts a partner to a position they cannot live up to. If this partner is the end all be all of your belief system– when deeply hurt by them, disappointed or broken by them– despair is not far behind.
the complete loss or absence of hope.
"driven to despair, he throws himself under a train"
synonyms:hopelessness, disheartenment, discouragement, desperation, distress, anguish, unhappiness
In my “world-revolving” relationship,
I expected and desired an unconditional love that only God can provide.
I expected and desired a loyalty that only God can provide.
I expected and desired an emotional literacy only God has.
Because they didn’t provide me with these fulfillments, devastation occurred. The spiritual deficit I had– the longing in my soul for Godly understanding, comfort, and security– resulted in me making rash decisions of self-harm, and other times, carefully meditated thoughts and attempts of suicide.
Each time, I was spared. Like identical magnets, there was a resistance that met me in each encounter. It felt like a forcefield, quite literally, shielding me in each attempt. I would get so frustrated by each failure.
My free-will proved to be no match against God’s power.
While I don’t really like thinking about these moments, in bottom of the barrel times I have to reach down and extract these memories because my very existence is miracle work. It makes absolutely no sense that I am still here. It is very personal. And sometimes, you just have to take it there when you are tempted to discredit God. There are things that only you know about, maybe a “miracle”-yet-embarassing testimony you are ashamed of. Don’t let shame give you spiritual amnesia and walk you into Faithlessness.
When I don’t like trusting God, when I experience doubt and I’ve drifted from my assurance as Paul would state, I know that:
God repeatedly saved my life when I didn’t care about him. He loves me (and you)
He gave me a gift– a lifelong, sobering reminder of his realness. The renewal of my mind, and the divine protection over my life.
Remember where you’ve been to encourage where you are. This is a transparent state of someone whose faith ebbs and flows– but knows truth, who loves God sooooo much, and won’t give up! And I hope you won’t either! You ain’t alone. STAY!
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Verses on my mind:
But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.
Colossians 1:23 NLT
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2 NIV
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:7 NLT