History on me, I am a Roman Catholic Christian woman. I spent from birth to age 18 completely immersed in Catholic culture. My entire family is Catholic. I attended Catholic school. While aware that there were many, many other Christian denominations; I just did not have any experience with them. Then I went off to college and met my future life-long best friends. Through them I started attending different group meetings, bible studies, and retreats directed towards all Christians – no denomination required. Here I found a new dimension to my faith, one that made it so much stronger.
Since my college years, I’ve continued to learn and explore my faith. I enjoy attending worship services of many different denominations. My library is full of books by many different authors exploring all angles of faith exploration. I consider my faith fluid and ever evolving. It is a good thing, because it only gets stronger and stronger as I grow. Consider this:
“A bit of good news: virtually every spiritual person has his or her beliefs challenged over a lifetime. Also good news: the Bible suggests this path is called wisdom and maturity and growth… not heresy and backsliding and unfaithfulness.” (Jen Hatmaker)
Questioning and exploration does not in any way mean you are throwing God out the window. He is so much stronger than that! God is ready, willing, and able to handle our questions, sadness, anger and He will continue to hold you as His most perfect child in the palm of His hand.
“Faith is reliably resilient meandering from generation to culture to country to century, adjusting its packaging but somehow retaining its core.” (Jen Hatmaker)
So I invite all forms of spiritual curiosity. As questions and then seek the answers. Not getting what you need from the community you are currently a part of, find a new one. Don’t put God to the side because of human people. People are fallible, make mistakes, and in no way always get it right. Starting with the Bible and moving on to the bazillion books in print and the wealth of the internet, you are quite able to foster a deep and meaningful faith and never enter the walls of a Church building. It is possible! Now I will not negate the wonder and awe of fellowship between human people, I’ve just seen many people fall away from God because of mistakes that people have made. You have choices, ask questions, be curious, and let your faith evolve into a perfect model that fits you.
I Believe in This Cause
Do you have a heart for helping people? Your heart may go out to people locally in your community or those on the other side of the world. Helping others is an amazing place to put your time, energy, and money. But (Yes there is a but) we need to remember that the people we want to help are autonomous human beings with thoughts, feelings, and voices of their own.
“Remember, no one is actually voiceless. People have voices, just not enough listeners. There is no substitute for the lived experience of the people you care about. Do your homework. Log your time. Develop your understanding. Learn from the right leaders. Take it seriously.”(Jen Hatmaker)
I have not personally spent enough time contemplating the difference between helping and “saving”. As I consider the two, I believe “saving” is when you choose a cause and steam roll through with all your own ideas on what will “fix” things, do it all, and leave super proud of all your hard work. Now in this scenario your heart is totally in the right place – you want to make things better. As I consider helping, I see more of the work side of it – listening to the people in the thick of things and considering what they believe they need FIRST.
After listening and learning what the community needs, only then is it time to interject your own ideas. There is room for all the ideas, one side can simply not run over the other side. Just a thought, if we adopted this process of listening to the voices involved first; would we find that there is a lot of money being thrown at causes that really need people and time?
What does this mean for me?
My personal call to action is to figure out the causes that speak directly to my heart. Once I have the cause, I want to do all the research. Who needs what, wants what, and helps who? I will be cautious with my time and resources and make sure that the organizations I am giving to are listening to the voices of the people that I want to help. I am going to do the work before I throw my cards in the game.
What do you believe? I briefly touched on my own personal insights from this section of Fierce Free and Full of Fire. Jen leads the charge in this section with personal stories and experiences. She speaks from her heart and leaves nothing on the table. If you are in need of more Fire in your faith or a direction for your activism, she will help set your thoughts in motion. Click here to order you copy and start digging through the content to find your own spark and light the fire inside your heart.