It's been a good time of reflection lately. I've had the idea of this post for a while and have wanted to put down in writing some of the sporadic spiritual conversations I've had---times that have lifted me up for hours...days...---but I needed to be in the right mood to write about this stuff. Coming back from Jamaica I was on such a spiritual high that in the weeks since then, I've been feeling lacking or lackluster in my faith. I've gotten into a bit of a rut, just going through the motions in devotions and prayers, and I can tell this is happening and want to catch myself and put the life back into my relationship with Christ. I need to remember all of the wonderful situations God has placed me in recently and how this faith is living, dynamic, and oh so good.
I had one of these experiences today that probably spurred me into writing this post tonight. (Which, by the way, is a blustery, rainy night--a chilly 75 degrees--and I am in a long-sleeved shirt hearing the wind howl through the open windows. It sounds like home and I love it.) On the boat ride out to our dive site today, my dive group had a shockingly passionate conversation about faith and if God is real. I say shocking because I have a tiny dive group of three other people, Lauren, Charlie, and August--and all of them more or less have no faith, some to a more determined extent than others. Charlie and I have talked before about my faith and everyone in the boat knows that I am "religious" as they say, and somehow he (we?) decided to talk about faith today and how I know it's real. August and Charlie got very into it and were "pelting" me (this is actually a very accurate description) with questions like How do you know God is real? What if someone just made up the Bible? Harry Potter is read just as much as the Bible. Maybe in two thousand years Harry Potter will be the most important book. What would you do if science proved that Jesus wasn't real? Is God white or black? ...and on. But it was all in the right spirit since--though he hides it--Charlie is actually curious and I think August truly doesn't believe but is intrigued by someone who does. I felt challenged and alive and so grateful for the testing. I have never been questioned like this before and it is so proving to my own faith when I am called on to explain to others--it makes me thankful for the background I was raised in but also critically aware that I need to live outside my little "AC bubble" if I am going to be a strong light for Christ. It is easier to shine in a crowd of lights, but more beneficial--though challenging--to shine to the dark world. I just think of the superficial relationships I have on the OSU campus and how few spiritual conversations I have had with my peers there; it is so easy to just blend in as some girl with a penchant for wearing skirts. Here, spiritual topics come up all the time and people are open to asking--- but maybe I am being more open to sharing as well. This experience has made me branch out and become less afraid of sharing--in the end, the only person who's opinion matters is God's and for Him to be glorified, I need to be willing to talk. I am praying I can keep this confidence and perspective when I get back to life in Corvallis.
Aimee has been asking me questions as well recently. She is a fairly new Christian and has a lot of questions as she comes across passages in the Bible or conflicting views and isn't sure where she stands. It has been SO GOOD for me to be called on to answer because it strengthens my faith and shows me where my understanding is weak. We've talked about modesty and head coverings before---I was surprised to find out that she had thought my head covering was a fashion piece (yes, though I wear old t-shirts all the time I decided to bring hair accessories;)--and this week the topic was non-violence. There is a ROTC guy here who is hard-core military but a Christian and the fact that I wouldn't take another life for mine was brought up. Later Aimee was asking my beliefs on the military and why in the Old Testament it was ok and what about the role of gun-carrying police officers and others keeping us safe. I realized how much I need to have more scripture memorized! I ended up looking up our Statement of Faith and the verses we have listed there, but I should be able to call them (or some of them) to memory in times like this. I know it's not New Years yet, but that is going to be a goal of mine... learn more of the Word and be able to explain it well! It is also interesting to see the variance in the King James Bible versus other new translations... and it makes me so thankful for our heritage of preserving the KJV! When reading verses the other day, Aimee commented that one of them sounded like something you would find on Facebook so I mentioned that it was probably her translation that tried to put in "21st century" speak-- I read the verse from my Bible and it was pretty different. As with a lot of these experiences, they strengthen me and I think are widening other people's perspectives as well. Maybe they will remember what they heard or saw here and seek the answers further.
A few weeks ago we had another of those nights where the atmosphere just fosters meaningful conversation: bonfires. This one was even more special as we road in the back of pickup trucks or in 15p vans to East Bay for a beach bonfire. Yay for attempts at fall! The first hour consisted of us clumped in groups as a few people attempted to start the pallets on fire--to no avail. We started just eating the marshmallows and chocolate chips plain and then a spark caught and the fire was soon blazing. Sitting around the fire a group of us started giving each other back massages and the conversation slowly turned to faith and traditions of modesty. There were four of us from pretty different backgrounds and then some others that stopped to listen in. I felt so humbled but then ecstatic about getting the chance to share of God's direction in my life--especially when Aimee heard people talking the next day about how much they appreciated the conversation!
Anyway, I am just floating through the days here, trying to soak up the stars and the views and the life because I know I'll miss it soon enough. God's plan is wonderful though, and the time I've had here to reflect on His will in my life and what all He's done for me and the awesome world He created has been amazing. This thinking time of me & Him, and the conversations I've had sharing the Word... this is what life should be all about. In the end, our purpose here is to glorify God and the times I do that are what encourage me and keep me running strong towards Heaven.
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.