Faith can be defined in many different ways. Some people tie their faith to religion while others embrace a more universal truth. Faith is directly connected to action regardless of what or who you believe in. It is deeper than just showing up to church, or reposting a Scripture meme. Reading the Word of God and going to church are not always the most entertaining ways of feeding my faith, but it is definitely the most effective.
The most important thing that I do to strengthen my faith is to read my Bible. Living in this world forces me to be aware of so much negativity that it’s easy to become hopeless. It seems like everyone is so unhappy with their place in life, and are more prone to recount every misstep they’ve taken instead of rejoicing in the fact that God does not keep count! Scripture helps me to remember that everything which happens in this world, whether good or bad, has an ultimate purpose in God’s plan, and that it is His plan that should be kept at the top of my list of things to meditate over.
Reading my Bible serves as a stress-reliever for me. If I spend too much time thinking about myself and my goals, or the welfare of the ones I love, I become stressed very quickly. I want more for me, and I want more for others, but I must continuously remind myself that worrying about the future only causes harm. While reading the Word, I become more aware of God’s omnipresence, and He will often bring to my mind things and people that I should be praying over. I don’t pray religiously over the same things or in the same manner on a daily basis because it doesn’t feel genuine to me; plus, I know that He heard me the first time! It may not be in my best interest, or conducive to His overall plan for Him to grant my request. And that’s okay because the substance of every one of my prayers is: Lord, have your way (but don’t give me cancer. I’m terrified of cancer).
There was a time when I would try to read the Bible but could not understand what it was saying. I had just gotten baptized and I was intent on becoming a Holy-roller! I started with an NIV study bible and chose the chapter of Romans to read, but I didn’t get far and gave up on it. Now I understand it was simply because my heart was not ready to accept everything that Scripture has to say. There are many people who only embrace the parts of Scripture which agree with their lifestyle or point of view, so I understand why God does not always grant us revelation; our intentions are not right. I had to, first, gain a better understanding of the Holy Spirit, and that came by going to church.
Although there seems to be a lot wrong with the church, I know no other way to strengthen my relationship with Christ. He left the church for us to be trained in and to be reminded of all that are we are through Him, and although it’s difficult to find a church that fits me perfectly, I cannot bring myself to change the rules. Even in the Old Testament when the people began to rightly lose respect for the priesthood due to their illicit behavior, God did not grant the people the right to make up their own rules or to do their own thing–the book of Judges, and today’s American society proves this point. Church is the hardest part of being a Christian, but I can’t give up on fellowshipping with my peeps.
I relish in the fact that no one knows my name at the church I go to. In a past life, I was an active member of the church and it was quite draining; not because of “church people,” but because of people at church. These wearisome people can be found anywhere – at work, in the gym, or serving the community–but you have to be nice to them because it’s church (it is rather un-Christian-like to give them a piece of your mind)! It is easier to blame the church building, religion, and God for their ways. I know better than this, so I place the full blame on the individual instead of those wretched stereotypes. Overall, I have met some great people who frequent church and, most importantly, I’ve learned so much about myself and who I am supposed to be when sitting in the house of God. There is something special about being in the house of God, amongst the people of God, and I will eventually go back to it… one day.
I am thankful for the opportunity to read Scripture and receive revelation through the Holy Spirit. I don’t have to solely trust the word given to me by my Pastor because he doesn’t always get it right, but I pray that he at least tries to. There have been women who have died a miserable death for interpreting Scripture and sharing it with others, so I feel blessed to share what I learn through my writing. All things considered, my faith is a lot more practical than one would imagine, but God has been able to perform some miraculous wonders through my belief.
What’s new with Lovett? “I’m taking Juliet’s advice to start a new practice that will open me up to a new world! For me, this means photography. Also, I start reading 1st Samuel tomorrow morning and I’m SUPER excited about it!”