Christianity ≠ Being Cool?

A few weeks ago I asked my sister-in-law, who is a 13 year-old Christian, what sort of issues she and her Christ-following peers are facing these days.  What concerns are on the minds of young Christians?
One of the things she wanted advice on was how to be considered cool amongst her friends while maintaining her faith.
Truthfully, at times it feels like Christians of all ages are waiting for the answer to this one…
It may be difficult to admit, but it’s not always easy to live an openly convicted life to Christ, and still be considered cool with our non-Christian peers.  It’s something we all occasionally deal with. I can remember this particular desire often leaving me feeling disengaged from certain friends.  A spectator along for the ride, who made sure not to do anything questionable myself, while the Christian in my head would question if I should even be there at all.
Regardless of who we are, we all have a target audience whose attention and approval we’d like to have.
Perhaps the answer is that we need to not be bothered by it.
We have to deal with our convictions to Christ, first.  Whatever comes after that, just be who you are.  God gave us interests, talents and personalities that will draw us to the people who are supposed to be in our lives.
He doesn’t make mistakes, and if we follow what He’s put in our hearts, we should be just fine.

Matthew 10:32  Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Advertisements

Being the mother they need and deserve

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Kids are messy, try your patience, and some of them even excel in the art of the meltdown.  Sometimes it’s accidental.  Other times, not so much…  I know that if I don’t ask God for help with how I compose myself throughout the day (and ask Him several times…), then I am rarely the mother I want to be for them.

Even at two years old, it’s amazing to see how differently my boy responds to me when the day has had its tough moments, but I choose to respond with kindness and understanding in place of anger or annoyance.  Usually, at the end of those days, I get the biggest hug he has in him.

His appreciation is clear, and it’s one of those precious things that help remind me of the kind of mother I’m meant to be.

What helps to remind you to be the person God means for you to be?

You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling

Recently, I’ve got that not-so-lovin’ feeling.  That feeling of simply going through the motions, and I sometimes ask myself, “Just what is it that you’re doing?
My faith is the biggest part of my life, and has been for a long time.  It’s not about wavering dedication or devotion toward God.  No, my commitment is fully intact.
It has more to do with not knowing exactly where I am supposed to be, or what I’m meant to be doing.  Certainly, I have my own notions of what I’d like to do.  At some point, I usually end up telling myself that it just won’t work.
Basically, I’ve been waiting for that lightning strike of an epiphany to tell me what I’m supposed to do with my life.  To be quite honest, I’m not sure that that storm is coming.
And you know, perhaps waiting on it would be an insult to God, anyways.  He didn’t give me talents, ideas and notions just to sit around and wonder what to do with them.  Oftentimes I’ll be thinking about how cool it would be to write books about Christianity.  Or to be a youth minister.
Alas.  If I delve too deep into those notions of a religious education and career, I start asking myself the same old questions.
You want to write a book about Christianity?  Who are you to do such a thing?
Making money off of God?  How could you?!
It’s thoughts like these that point me to the most harrowing thought of all.
I do not feel consumed by Him as much as I think I should be.
That is to say…  All. The. Time.
Granted, I realize that not every single moment can be one of intense religious fervor.  Somewhere along the line I got it stuck in my head that by not having an around-the-clock spiritual tingling, that I’m not meant to serve in certain capacities.
Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge reason.  No, I’m not going to feel emotionally raptured every second of every day.  If it were that easy, we would all be Christians.  Instead, we rely on our Faith in Christ to get us through the day-to-day.  Adhering to the Bible helps us find the discipline we need to keep our lives focused on God and His will.  Keeping an open dialogue with God–praying and listening for His response is what will lead us in the right direction.
It might not be the makings of 24/7 excitement, but it is the foundation for a lifetime relationship with our Creator.  I think, for me, that is comfort enough to simply get up and Go.

Deceiving ourselves, but not Him

While reading through the Gospel of Matthew this morning, it occurred to me how easy it can be to get caught up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Really, the proverbial wolf doesn’t have to start out with bad intentions.  If those intentions are not of God, however, it’s possible for honesty and goodness can be derailed, and replaced by the mentality that we’re serving the Church of Me.
Matthew 7:15  Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Even the best of intentions can sometimes go awry.  At the end of the day, I am not the wolf, but unchecked feelings of being owed, being too proud of my works…
Hidden feelings like these are the sharp, but quiet wolves that lie within, and they can keep us from God.  As tough as it may be, we need to try and not get caught up in ourselves.  If we are to be like Christ, we need to not worry about pleasing others.  There is no waiting for praise and pats on the back that we may think we’re owed.
Is it more important to look like a, “good Christian,” or to have an authentic connection to God?  Are you checking to see if you’ve met the criteria of your peers, or are your looking to see if you’ve allowed Christ to walk alongside you?
I think it’s important that throughout the day, we ask ourselves who it is we’re trying to emulate.  Who are we trying to please?  Does the current path lead toward the ultimate title of Christ Follower, or False Prophet?
Striving to put God and His will first is a beautiful and gratifying way to live our lives.  It’s also worth mentioning, that as long as you’re sincerely aiming for Him, you’re doing alright.  He’ll light your way accordingly.  God is not going to ask you to be someone you aren’t meant to be.  With Him, there is no need to try and save face.

What does that even mean?

Living intentionally.  Being purposeful.
Really?
These are some of the phrases I kept running into when I first began perusing Christian blogs.  Interesting reading, sure, but phrases like these usually caused me to dismiss the author’s credibility for speaking Christiansese.
Snotty of me?  Yeah.  Probably.
I wasn’t on the search for religious fads and phases.  I wanted to read from someone with authentic faith and words.
And then it happened.  I began to hear those faddish and cliche words.
In my head!
See, the reason I had been making the rounds on Christian blogs in the first place, was in part a revival of my need and desire for God in my life.  Wanting to go further with Him.  To keep Him there with me all the time, and do what He would want me to do.
I started going back to church.  Night time found me cracking open my Bible, and before I knew it, I was reaching for certain verses throughout my day.
Before long I was looking for the areas of my life where I could work on being more intentional in my devotion to family and God.  Searching for the subtle, unhealthy habits and behaviors that were keeping me from being the kind of Christian I wanted to be.  Making sure each deliberate action had a purpose.
My days of judging the use of Christianese are over.  As it turns out, using it is one of the few accidental things there are about pursuing God.  Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before speaking such phrases becomes intentional.

Well.  Christmas has passed, the tree is down, and the snow never really came.  It’s safe to assume that I’ve been frequenting my phone’s Christmas countdown app more than usual.
Five days into this new year, and I find myself feeling less fickle in my interests, more confident in my priorities, and moving in directions I once believed to be dormant in my mind.  Not wanting to over-credit the turning of a new year, I have to admit that these things have been solidifying in me for the past year or so.  Perhaps longer…
Dare I suggest, that while this site is still in its infancy, that Room for Patience may no longer be a military blog.  To be clear, I love writing, and I love this military life we lead.  Unfortunately, instead of posting anything of real merit, I find myself over-thinking possible content, only to be left uninterested and without a timely post.
Days move quicker, and weeks segue into months even faster.  Time is not something I’ll allow to be monopolized by things that mean little or nothing to me.  While embracing our Air Force life and volunteering within it remain important to me, writing a military blog is proving both boring and inconvenient.
Considering, however, that writing is simply innate with me to the point that I need to do it, I’ll be continuing forward with this blog.  From this point on, Room for Patience (that name, I think I’ll keep…) will be geared toward my faith life.
Since making the decision to be baptized when I was 16, much of my time has been spent thinking of and pursuing God.  Not always evident through my actions, my voracious interest in literary things religious has never waned.  Having spent years looking for where God wanted me to be, I spent more time inside books and outside of church, trying to go it alone.
Lately I’ve grown tired of keeping areas of my life separate.  In seeking God both on an academic and personal, relationship-based level, life has somehow become sweeter than ever.  The times I run to prayer find me a better mother to my kids, more astute to any sort of work in front of me, and more perseverant toward the busy and somewhat daunting future in front of me.
I’m doubtful that this blog will ever turn into some sort of online ministry, but should more or less chronicle any medium that finds me exercising my faith.  For once, I’ll be looking at blogging not as a means to any sort of end, but as a project.  Working out my faith in public, per se.
Anyways, ending on that note…  I was randomly flipping through an old Bible the other day, and found this:

2 Samuel 14:14.
All of us must die eventually.  Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be fathered up again.  That is why God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.  He does not sweep away those He cares about–and neither should you!