Adulthood is a game-changer—more freedom, more choices, more money (hopefully), and more responsibility (definitely). While becoming an adult in faith, one discussion I often have is how to minister to family and friends who are spiritually dry. My husband and I both grew up in religiously single-parent households (mom’s a Christian, dad’s not) and now that I’m a parent myself, I find my faith vigorously challenged to assume spiritual responsibility for my family. My husband and I have specific goals we have set for our family and its role in the Kingdom of Heaven but often find ourselves at a fork in the road. One way is clear and easy— it leads down the way we were raised (90’s music and all*) while the other is much more foggy and tortuous as it represents a new life filled with making and keeping Christ-centered decisions at the forefront of our lives.
Of course, this metaphorical fork presents a choice— not just for those who are parents but for all of us Kingdom-minded folk. Sometimes, this choice puts us in situations that pit us against family or friends. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit, Christ’s gift to us in this scary and sin-stained world. Jesus’ last spoken words to us were of that gift of the Holy Spirit, along with the challenge to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1:8). This is especially difficult when we observe our original role models acting less than Christ-like. God does not condone this behavior, even when it’s done by our parents, siblings, spouses, and/or friends. When presented with this particular challenge, I dare you to rise above it. I say dare because it is certainly easier to get frustrated and let their actions affect your love and grace towards them.
When we face challenging situations and conversations (with family and beyond) and choose to look to God, we realize He can turn even the most terrible situations into great blessings! When Israel was being attacked by various armies, King Jehoshaphat prayed, ‘We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You’ (2 Chronicles 20:12). As women of God, we too face a plethora of temptations and difficult relationships, but God is just and frees us from having to fight back when people say things that anger us.
In order to really stand out as a light and example to others, we all must be more willing to act out of patience and love. Instead of responding harshly, remind yourself of who Jesus IS and imitate Him. God loves us so seriously and unconditionally that he chooses to look passed our broken actions daily. We are all called to be givers of grace and sometimes the weight of our own sins and others’ can make that feel impossible. Lighten that load by staying connected with a solid group of believers and ultimately reminding yourself of the grace you are given. I am so thankful for my husband and those close to me who encourage and challenge my walk in Christ. Although I believe in what I’m doing, it’s important to be reminded that we are called to love all, not just those who make it easy. Receiving spiritual nourishment from the Word and others is what makes the nitty gritty parts of Christianity bearable—living a life that accepts AND acts on what God makes clear. Adulthood is here to stay (or swiftly approaching for a lucky few) and make no mistake—it is up to us to assume the responsibility of Christ-centering ourselves.
Our lives depend on it.
*90’s music is still the best
PC: @ivychristina_mn via #belovedlife