Holding Fast to a Slippery Faith

We should ask our questions.

Don’t even bother pretending that you don’t have them. We all carry questions, some more on the surfaces of our lives and some we’ve probably never told to another soul. People don’t always like questions. They challenge our comfort or security. They might make us doubt our faith. We might worry about life running off the rails.

We don’t even like our own questions. To find answers that matter, we have to sit in pain. To sort through some issues, we’re going to have to walk through those issues again. To ask our questions means admitting that there might not be answers.

But regardless of how people feel about questions, God is not put off by questions. Life is full of challenging situations. Job asks questions, and then more questions. He complains about even being alive. Abraham seems silent, choosing belief in God’s victory over death, as he prepares to sacrifice Isaac, but I’d really like to read his mind as he traveled to that mountain. Elijah asked for God to kill him following a tremendous victory. Jesus spent time in the wilderness being tested by Satan and He was led there of the Holy Spirit. Jesus asked God why He had forsaken Him (that will tie your brain in knots if you think about it too long). The Bible is full of questions and doubts.

Read through Psalms. It’s full of admittances that life does not add up like we think it should. Things look bad even though we are promised redemption. Sometimes, maybe more often than not, it seems like we would be better off if we jumped off this Jesus train that we are convincing ourselves to stay on.

People Who Have Influenced My Faith: Hurrah for the Internet

Yesterday finished #the100dayproject. I’m relieved and satisfied. I intentionally set out to take off weekends and I only missed a handful of days outside of that. That’s a lot of talking, and honestly, much more prep work than I expected. But for all that work I have a book full of notes and ideas and reflections, some of which I’ll turn into podcast episodes.

In yesterday’s video (go check it out if you want), I mentioned that we all need to be students. Read the people that inspire you and then read the people that inspire them. Would that be an inspirational grandparent? It’s one reason I’m sharing all the books I’m reading this year in an Instagram story highlight; that, and I really like to track things.

What I’ve Learned from Houseplants

(I know, I know, everyone who starts gardening makes theological connections. But if you’ve grown even one plant, you understand why.)

In December 2016, I bought some air plants for our anniversary. I hung them in glass globes in the living room and misted them every week. They are notoriously hard to kill, which is what I needed since I’ve killed every single plant I’ve ever owned, including the love fern that we bought when we lived in the apartment. (Name that movie!)

In the months following, I kept adding one cheap plant (no need to waste that money, after all) after another. Succulents. Vines. Things I no longer know the names of. Every single Monday I still write water plants in my planner, gather them all into the kitchen, and water away.

(A friend pointed out that some plants don’t need watered every week. I told her that mine get watered every week and they like it.)

Letting Future Dreams Shape Your Now

One day I want to go to seminary.

I haven’t said that out loud too many times, but I already know where I would go if this were to ever work out so I might as well throw it out there, right? It’s not for this season and it honestly might never happen. That’s totally not the point. You know what that dream does for me? It shows me the direction I want to go. It reminds me where I want to invest my time and my effort. It shapes what I want to do with my life.

That dream to go to seminary one day means that today I listen to podcasts and take notes. It means I chase the fascination of learning about the Bible. It means I read books and discuss theology and listen a lot.

My big “someday” dreams, whether they happen or not, influence what I choose to do today. That’s why those dreams matter.

How the Sacrifice Changes Me

When I accepted Christ’s sacrifice in my place, I agreed that it wasn’t just Christ that died. It was me. It was my sin.

When I accepted Christ’s sacrifice in my place, I agreed that Christ rose. I agreed that who now lived in my place was Christ.

I didn’t accept Christ’s sacrifice as “fire insurance” or my get-out-of hell-free card. I didn’t accept Christ’s sacrifice for the promises of what He could do or for earthly wealth. I didn’t accept Christ’s sacrifice so that I could do whatever I wanted.

I accepted Christ’s sacrifice because of His love. I accepted it because He pursued me when He should have rejected me. I accepted Him because He offered the forgiveness that I could not attain alone. I accepted Him because we will all worship something and only One is worthy. I accepted Him because He is love and light and goodness; He is everything that I was not.

Whose Mission Is It Anyway?

I’ve been a tad obsessed with gender conversations and a Christian worldview over the past year. This has started for a variety of reasons and continued because a lot what I keep reading online (even from Christians that I respect and mostly agree with) was not meshing with what I was finding in the Bible.

I think we should tell God’s story. I think we should live God’s story. Do I have the corner on truth on this topic? Absolutely not. Am I going to God’s Word asking to know His heart? Absolutely. I hope this is something I grow in for the rest of my life.

However, I kept bumping up against this theme of women being subordinate (actual word a prominent theologian repeatedly uses about women) or secondary or servants. Or a theme of hierarchal marriages where the woman is beneath or under or less than her husband. (I’m just going to skip the theological issues with that umbrella model.) Or a theme of women only being equipped for a very tiny portion of life. I couldn’t figure out where this came from. Now I know where it comes from (we’ve discussed it on multiple podcast episodes) but I also realized that part of the story is actually missing.

The 100 Day Project: cultivating joy in a life that needs grit

In last week’s Sunday email, I shared that I have been going through life with a lot of determination but lacking some of my usual enthusiasm. The Christian life is represented as a battle but Jesus also promises us joy. We don’t have to stay in the camp of only one: balance in all things.

My word for this year is “warrior.” I want to think about the fact that we are in a battle, that the first woman’s defining word “ezer” is a battle word, that we are called to put on the armor of God before walking into life.  But I want to live with joy in the midst of that (John 15:11, 16:33, Philippians 4:4, 1 John 1:4).

The 100 Day Project starts tomorrow and I’ve been contemplating what to do for almost a month. I participated last year with an Instagram series on motherhood that I still occasionally post to. This year I’m going to do another social media project, just one that’s much more outside of my comfort zone.