It has been about 3 years since I (consistently) posted on Faith’s Guide, so much so that I forgot what it felt like to sit at my laptop and write a post. However, I quickly remembered the joys of blogging when my laptop decided to switch itself off not once but three times!
This is now my fourth attempt at this post, so bear with me as I try to recover from memory a pretty decent post. If the post is incoherent, remember it’s my fourth attempt and it has been about three years!
Not exactly the kind of introduction I was going for, but hey! I also did not intend for this social media break to go for as long as it did, but hey, your girl’s back!
So I initially took a break because I went back to school and moved countries and needed time to find my feet and get a good rhythm going. However, unbeknownst to me I was about to go through a period of learning and unlearning.
This season of my life was characterized by stripping back and asking quite profound questions about my faith.
I did not necessarily doubt my belief in Jesus but I had questions around certain doctrines and teachings I had adopted. I questioned what and how I prayed; how I quoted and used certain scriptures. I also wondered if I actually understood scripture? And could I share my understanding clearly to unbelievers and even believers?
I spent time teasing apart cultural practices that are infused into teaching and presented as the Word of God. Some of these practices I wholeheartedly believed and engaged in without question. There were things that I could have sworn were the truth but have now come to learn are nothing but personal opinions dressed as ‘the truth’.
Cognisant of these questions and the weight of uncertainty, I thought it would be best to pause, strip back in order to get a better understanding of my faith.
During this time away I explored things such as: tithing, first fruits, discipleship, The Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, prophecy, dreams/visions, ‘God said’ statements, religion vs. spirituality, new age practices within the church…the list goes on.
For me, it was important that I wasn’t a ‘blind’ Christian, and that after considering the costs I was wholly committed to walking this path.
Here are some of the things I learned and unlearned during this time
- Nothing will and should ever replace your individual time with God. that personal quiet time – never compromise it, and try not to skip it.
- Do not despise those around you, whilst we may put big preachers, or the ‘saints of old’ on pedestals, if we believe it is the power of God working in them…then guess what that same power is present in your local pastor’s life, your friends and family that are Christian and that same power is in you!
- Do not, I repeat do not put yourself on a pedestal. Do not think ‘I could never do that’, or ‘that could never happen to me’ – because you really don’t know! In the last couple of years, I think the Christian world has had some unfortunate scandals which have been quite public. My personal response to this is: forgiveness, grace and refrain from gossip. In these situations you cannot confidently say what you would or wouldn’t do. When you think you know yourself, your heart reveals otherwise. Two scriptures that keep me in check: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:19 KJV). If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).
- Listen to that feeling in your gut and respond to it. You know that feeling you get when you hear a word that doesn’t sit well with you, or you meet someone, and the interaction is a ‘bit off’. Attend to that feeling through prayer, weighing up what the person said/ did against the word of God – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). And find Godly counsel around the issue.
- You need to be planted and discipled in a local church! Online church has been an absolute blessing, especially during lockdown. However the value and blessing of being connected to and doing life with people you see, feel and who know you is priceless!
- Ask questions, wonder, be curious. From my understanding and experience, God doesn’t chastise you or penalise you for asking questions. We have lots of examples of the disciples asking Jesus questions. This presented beautiful opportunities for Jesus to teach, and His disciples to learn!
- Be open to learn new things and have your existing belief system challenged. We are all learning and on this journey. It’s not about knowing everything right now. The truth is we know in part. Life is beautiful when you see it as a journey and you walk through it with God.
Although this is not a Christian blog (I’m a Christian woman that runs this blog), I felt a huge sense of responsibility to those of you who read my posts and follow me on social media. I wanted to make sure that I was not leading you astray or purporting erroneous messages. Therefore, I did not think the blog or online in general was the best place to explore these curiosities.
My primary hope is that my blog is a place you can come to for encouragement. I would love for us to engage in healthy discourse around faith and life and learn from each other. If I say or share something that may be biblically incorrect, please let me know comments and corrections are welcome (especially when done in love). I hope my posts are encouraging and give you a healthy push in the right direction.
I am interested to know what you have learned, unlearned about your faith, belief system or even yourself in the last year?