But I could lose everything if I tried something like that! But they would never like me if they knew my whole story.
Tired of squeezing a size 12 “but” into a size 5 faith? Consider these 3 keys to reducing your “buts” and growing your faith instead:
Exercise Your Faith for Something More than Your Salvation
Dare to let your faith count for something more than saving you from frying to a crisp in eternity. Think about that friend who needs to see God as the forgiver of abortions, affairs, or deceit. Or that neighbor who needs to know there’s a road back from theft, child abandonment, or drug addiction. And what about that emotional widow whose husband still lives, that postpartum mom who cannot connect with her baby, or that molested teen who feels like filthy trash? Don’t they need to hear the hope and feel the hug of God for them specifically–something beyond, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”? Something that doesn’t require the leaving of this life in order to find a tidbit of respite?
Your Faith Story
Let your faith story speak for itself, and let it speak in the raw–as it really happened, not as you hoped it would. Did your husband cheat on you, and then wrap it all up with “Sorry”? How did you ever get up out of bed the day after you found out? Do you have a history of pretending your way through Christianity while struggling with emotional wellness? Did you wonder why it took years for someone to tell you it was possible to take anti-depressants and follow Christ at the same time?
Don’t keep it to yourself. Let someone else know what radical life and radical change look like from the inside out.
Your sense of logic. Your misplaced security in your circumstances or surroundings. Your reputation. And dare I say, your kids’ reputation. And don’t just risk these things–replace them with that illogical, fearful, threatening or potentially embarrassing thing you would never, EVER do were it not for the specific leading of the Lord to do something by faith.
Do You Need God?
If you need God to do what is logical or predictable, to travel on the road well-paved, to look good or pious among your peers, for your 2.3 kids to excel, or to just do what you’ve always done, then you need to put this down and read Faithless Me instead. Risking something means you might just find yourself apologizing to your kids, giving till it hurts, taking rebuke from that girl you mentored ten years ago, selling your house and moving to where no one looks like you, disclosing your social or sexual history to judgmental people, or sending your kids to public school–who knows? Just let it be for the ultimate glory of God, not for protecting your own hide.
Risk Being Wrong
Risk being wrong about something. Sometimes it is in our wrongness, and our willingness to admit it, that we see miracles happen in the lives of other people.
Toot God’s Horn Instead of Jumping on Bandwagons
Join the post-pubescent world, and read the Bible for yourself.
Will you find some confusing things in there? Sure. But you’re not likely to emerge from the experience confused over the counter-intuitive, yet crystal clear admonitions to love your neighbor as yourself, to love your enemies, or to pray for those who despitefully use you. You are likely to emerge from the experience convinced that faith has everything to do with what you would NEVER do as opposed to what Jesus would never do.
Jumping on bandwagons often means throwing someone else under the caravan in order to make yourself look better. Shameful.
Remember Dr. Seuss’ children’s story about fictional animals called The Sneetches? Beach-dwelling, star-bellied Sneetches think they are better than beach-dwelling, bare-bellied Sneetches. The star-bellies, therefore, belittle and exclude the others from their activities, and teach their children to do the same.
Which Sneetch are You?
Then one day a stranger arrives with a machine that adds stars to bellies. The bare-bellies are thrilled for a chance to be part of the “in” crowd, and pretty soon all the Sneetches look alike. This, of course, enrages the original star-bellies, because they are no longer an exclusive club.
That Ego Thing
The stranger realizes he holds the original star-bellies hostage by their egos, and decides to charge a premium to remove stars from their bellies, thereby restoring their exclusivity. They are happy momentarily until the original bare-bellies get wind of what’s happening. Once the bare-bellies join suit by removing their stars, the Sneetches are again indistinguishable, the confusion grows, and all the Sneetches look silly.
Eventually, the original star-bellies find the other Sneetches are great fun to have around, the originals abandon their efforts towards exclusivity, and they all live happily ever after.
You can identify the representative protagonists in this story and connect the dots yourself.
Kids get this story right away.
We should, too.
Your default response
So, the next time your default response to the call for big faith is, But I can’t, because . . . , remember that you serve a God who loves nothing more than to do the otherwise impossible, and to make the whole world say, “Wow, that has to be a God thing!”