A few weeks ago I heard some speakers say something that really resonated with me, and seems to be a theme in the lives of many of the people that I talk to – often we can struggle to make our faith our own. This is true especially if we grow up in a Christian house, or we have gone to youth group for a while. Often our views on our faith can be those of our parents or our youth leaders, and that is not a bad thing, but it is not our thing! Often what will happen is, because we have not wrestled with a view, and we haven’t made it our own, then, if it gets questioned, we are not so sure about what we believe, which can be really unsettling, the other extreme is that we become dogmatic about it and it’s just true because it is, and because my pastor said so, therefore anyone else is wrong.
Both of these are extremes that we want to avoid. We want to be able to wrestle with an issue, to be able to come to our own views, and then to be able to, once we are settled on those, to hold them with enough grace that we are open to conversations around them, and we can articulate why it is that we believe the way that we do.
When we were in Brazil I was introduced to two different women who were in very similar situations, this is a true story, it may sound like I made it up, but I didn’t. These two women, one 47 and the other 45, both have daughters as their eldest children, both of these daughters are married – one is 25 and the other is 22. The 25 year old has been married for 5 years, the 22 year old has been married for 1 year, so they got married at 20 and 21. Both of these young married ladies were raised in the church, they went each Sunday, they sat with their parents and listened to the sermons, and did the ‘church thing’. But today, one of them will only go to church if her mother calls her to remind her, or offers her and her husband a ride to church, she hasn’t made her faith hers, and honestly, from talking to her, she couldn’t care less about church. The other is described as a ‘pillar’ of the church. She leads worship, she MC’s the service, she prays for people, she leads bible studies, she is going strong for Jesus, and so I want to look at why that might be – what has she done that has lead her to this point, and what could this other lady have done, or do, that will help her to reach the same place?
I want to share with you all, in the next post, three things that you can do to make your faith yours, or even if you feel like it is yours, that will deepen your faith, and will be of benefit to you in the long run. In order to do that, I’d like to share a little of my own story as a way to frame these three things that will help you to deepen your relationship with God, that will help you to wrestle with issues and come to your own understanding.
I grew up going to Sunday school each Sunday, mum and dad would drop me, my brother and sister off each week, and pick us up after. They never went to church, but I guess they wanted us to be good kids? I found it got more and more boring as I got older, and when I was 14 we stopped going altogether, because I was playing club hockey and that was on a Sunday morning. So from about 14 to about 17 I had almost no input from church or youth group or anything like that. We did have one family friend who would come around often and talk about Jesus, but he was a little bit crazy, so I didn’t pay much attention to him growing up. Just before I turned 18, however, I became a Christian through some interesting and difficult circumstances, and this is where I set about making my faith my own.
For me, I suppose, I didn’t really have a huge weight of expectation, I didn’t have any practices that I was doing with the family that I had to differentiate from, I wasn’t at youth group growing up, and I wasn’t the son of any ministers or active Christians. I kind of had to make it up as I went along, not really sure exactly what it was that a ‘good Christian’ was supposed to do. The things that I will share were things that I almost stumbled over in my journey towards God, so make sure to come back in the next few days for the three ways (or three of the ways) that you can make your faith yours.
Question: Is your faith your own? What might you do to explore your faith so that it becomes yours?
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