Tag Archives: faith

leaving behind a ‘bold’ faith

I recently saw an Instagram story of one of my favorite authors/podcasters/”influencers” in which they said they were going to be speaking at a conference for young girls, teaching them how to live boldly as young Christian women. That phrase – live boldly – made me cringe. Then roll my eyes. Then have painful flashbacks of my time in youth group where I, too, was encouraged to live a bold faith.

What I’m about to say…well…write…I write with the utmost respect and love for where I came from: the Church did not make me a disciple of Jesus when I was younger.

I grew up in the height of things like Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames, Sharing Jesus Without Fear, and True Love Waits. And that’s just scratching the surface of the myriad of programs, discipleship tools, etc that we went through in order to live out a bold faith.

I mean, can you imagine? Who wouldn’t become a Christian after sitting through a “theatrical performance” about dying and seeing who’s picked to live in heaven/hell for eternity. THAT STUFF IS CRAZY AND WHY DO WE MAKE KIDS SIT THROUGH IT?!

Also, I have a whole thing about TLW, but I’ll save that for another blog or else this one might turn into a novel.

Moving on.

I grew up believing – and being taught – that as long as I was following the rules laid out before me, sharing Jesus with my friends on a daily basis (per the Roman’s Road layout), and not missing an opportunity to present the Gospel to every stranger I came into contact with, then my faith would be bold and I would be deemed a good Christian.

It was all about the show. All about the numbers.

“Kayla, have you invited _______ to church yet? You said you were going to do that this week.”
“Umm, yes, I have, but they can’t make it…”
“Well, try again, because their eternity is in your hands.”

Ya know, just your average guilt trip for a 14 year old.

So, when I hear someone say they are teaching young girls to live a bold faith, you can see why I would cringe.

My heart begins to ache for a new generation of young women – and men – that might be led to believe that their “boldness” only comes from how well they have Scripture memorized and how many of their friends actually show up to church with them.

But I’m also afraid we’re attributing the wrong actions to the word we’re using.

The definition of bold is: courageous & daring.

Courageous faith is something I can get behind.

Courageous faith doesn’t just spit out a string of memorized verses to her friends in hopes that one or two words will stick.
Courageous faith doesn’t see people as metrics.

Courageous faith bears the burdens of the people around her, regardless of whether or not they convert.
Courageous faith loves people because that’s what Jesus did. He knelt down and started writing in the sand while the religious elite wanted to stone a woman.
Courageous faith cares more about the person across the table’s heart than she cares about reporting back to her youth group on how many times she’s left a tract for the waitress to pick up.

I want us, Church, to stop shaming young kids into conversion – or into trying to get their friends to convert. I want us to teach them how to know Jesus for themselves, growing deep roots of faith in their own hearts. The “do-ing” of faith can come later. Let’s teach them how to know Jesus and be a beloved child of God before anything else.

I’ve seen too many friends that were “on fire” for Christ when we were younger that are now apathetic about Jesus. It’ll take a different post to give my theory on that, but the nutshell is: we weren’t made to be disciples of Christ, we were made to be disciples of a program.

The older I get the more I’m finding that I don’t want to live the bold faith I was told to live when I was younger. I want to live a faith that is settled, secure, and relies fully on the power of the Holy Spirit to transform hearts. I want my courage to come from something other than a certificate I sign at the end of a program. I want my boldness to come from Jesus because He loves me, not because I’m trying to impress Him with my actions.

I’m okay with trading in my old, bold faith for a new heart that is settled in Jesus.

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fruit snack faith

IMG_3874

I know I’ve talked about my friends quite a bit on here before, but I’m going to talk about them again. Well, really just one because she’s the one that inspired tonight’s post.

About a week ago (8 days to be exact), my dear friend posted this on Instagram:

I had one of those days where things just kept going wrong. I couldn’t help but have a really sinful thought, “I have very little to be thankful for. God you haven’t blessed me lately.”

And I nodded along, “Ditto, sister. Ditto.”

It was just one of those weeks. Every woe-is-me emotion was making its way to the surface of my life and I just wanted to have a good cry. I’ve had this thought run through my mind more than once over the past year: “What do I have to do to get You to show You care about me?!”

Sinful, I know.

Honest? Yup. Very.

It’s easy for me to try to work my way towards blessings. I want to be the good little athlete I’ve always been and earn my spot. I was to prove that I’m worth it.

I can’t accept grace, mercy, justice, divine love at face value. I find it hard to believe that God is good just because.

And then I start feeling bad about feeling bad

“Why are you complaining, Smith? You ARE blessed. You have a home to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, a family & friends that love you. Stop it!”

The pendulum then swings towards self-reliance and not wanting to ‘burden’ God with my needs. I cheapen His love & grace by thinking that my needs aren’t worth His time.

Both of these attitudes are sinful. Both say God isn’t good, enough, just, holy. Both say that my way is better and I can just do this life alone.

But then my friend finished her post:

A little later I opened my variety pack fruit snack and found 3 raspberries. It’s my favorite flavor and you’re lucky if you get 1. (Yesterday I got none.) BUT today I found 3 waiting for me. Sounds so silly, but I was so humbled. Even if it is just about my fruit snack, I have so much to be thankful for. We have a Savior who already won the battle. #fruitsnackfaith #choosejoy #Heisalwaysgood

(Sorry, not sorry that I left the hashtags in there.)

God does bless us in the most mundane ways.

God does care about our simple & small desires.

He knows us so intimately, and wants us to know His love so greatly, that He gives us our favorite fruit snacks at just the right moment.

It can be easy to look past God’s goodness in the everyday life moments, and it can be just as easy to think He doesn’t care about something as small as me wanting queso for dinner.

Know that He does care. He does love extravagantly. He knows our hearts so well that He’s giving us just what we desire and need, exactly when we need it.

Take heart, precious one. He has won the battle & holds your heart.

*and yes, in case you were wondering, that IS the original fruit snack picture that inspired this whole thing!

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