Here’s the thing… I received a notification on the Twitter the other day letting my know that my pastor (who can be found here and here, because apparently having two blogs is the cool thing to do… btw, I had two blogs last year… not saying I’ve started a trend or anything…) had tagged me in a tweet. This tweet issued a challenge to answer a certain list of questions that would be found on one of those blogs. His blog post was titled “Spirituality Tag.” I’ll be honest, being challenged to answer questions of a spiritual nature by one’s pastor is a bit intimidating. What if my answers aren’t as good as his? Of course they won’t be as good as his! He’s the lead pastor of a pretty awesome church.
Then I realized, nothing about being a Christian should be about one-upping anyone. So I accept Jeff’s challenge to answer these questions and I’m taking comfort in the knowledge that I won’t be judged for any of the answers I give, for better or worse. And so, without further ado…
1. List three words that describe your faith.
Strong… Growing… Challenging…
2. Describe one belief about which you are very certain and one belief with which you struggle.
Certain: God is faithful, no matter what… Struggle: Being aware of God’s will… I mean, I’m aware that God’s will is spelled out in the Bible. But I’m talking about the little things regarding the decisions I make in my life. Should I take this job? Should I move to this town? How do I know it’s what He would want for me?
3. What is your mission in life?
To be used by God in any and every capacity that He can use me in.
4. Describe one thing that interferes with you authentically living out your faith.
Busyness… I feel like I’m always busy with work in some way, shape, or form and it keeps me from doing what I really want to do a lot of the time.
5. What is your favorite story from the Bible? Why?
I feel like it’s necessary for this to be a story from the Old Testament since the next question specifically asks about the New Testament. But what if my favorite overall story from the Bible is found in the New Testament? Does that make the answer to the next question a ditto? I’m gonna go OT on this one, in the interest of having different answers. I’m going with the story of Jonah. I kind of identify with him in a lot of ways. He’s the guy who ran away from God’s calling and ended up being swallowed by a whale. And then he was vomited back up three days later. What’s worse, being swallowed or becoming vomit? And then… the guy gives in and does what God wants him to do… Jonah makes it to Ninevah to prophecy that if they don’t repent and change their ways (redundant phrasing, I know), then God will destroy them. Jonah waits around and picks out a good seat to view God’s wrath. But the Ninevites actually repent and God spares them. So Jonah gets mad! Like I said, I can identify with Jonah… I’ve had a tendency to run away when things have gotten difficult over the years (parents’ divorce, Dad passing away, etc.)… And there have been times when I’ve expected one thing in my life and gotten something completely different and, I’ll be honest, I was mad about it. It’s hard to admit when we get angry with God, but I’d be willing to bet it happens more often than people care to say.
6. What is your favorite New Testament story? Why?
My favorite story in the New Testament is Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. In relation to the story of Jonah, it’s very comforting to know that God is like the father in the story who welcomes his wayward son back with open arms. No matter how far away I’ve strayed, God has remained faithful and has welcomed me back. So yeah, there are times when I’ve felt like the prodigal son. But there are times when I’ve felt like the son who stayed with the father and was diligent the entire time. He sees his father doting on the kid who disappeared for whatever length of time and squandered his inheritance and sort of complains, “What’s in it for me?” I’ve mentioned these two stories because I feel like I can identify with different aspects of them. But I get that with a lot of biblical stories. It’s a good book. You should check it out if you haven’t.
7. Describe a meaningful action you took because of your faith?
When I was a teenager, the church that I had grown up in was going through a very tumultuous time. There was a lot of fighting happening and people had chosen sides. It got dirty, kids. The church reached a point where we required a mediator from the Roanoke Valley Baptist Association to come in to attempt to keep the peace. In the end, a lot of people left the church, including my family. But prior to leaving, I felt it necessary to try and make peace myself. Maybe I was a naive kid. Maybe I just had an unusual amount of hope. But I wanted so badly to see these people, who I had grown up around and who had been the examples of faith I had always looked up to, find some way to put aside their differences to remember the mission of the church.
8. Does your faith differ from that of your parents? If so, how?
I would say no to this one. In particular, from Dad, I feel like I picked up a desire to actively seek God. He grew up with a willingness to question his faith and a drive to discover God’s Word without necessarily being spoon fed what he should believe. Growing up, myself, I always felt comfortable questioning the things I believed. I have loved being able to explore my faith and dive into scripture and understand why I believe the things I believe.
9. Who or what was most important in the development of your faith?
There are a lot of whos that have been important in the development of my faith. My parents, of course, are key. Yes, they raised me in church and pointed me in the direction of Jesus. But they never forced anything on me. They allowed me to make my own decisions where my faith was concerned. There are so many others that I encourage you to get to know. You can do that by clicking here, where I once wrote about each of these important people.
10. Pass it on! Tag at least two other religious/faith bloggers.