Thursday, January 17, 2013

Faithful Fridays ~ Running the Radical Race

Hi, everyone!  :)  It's time for Faithful Fridays (and I'm actually writing my post early on Thursday night this time!  Woohoo!  :D)!  :)

Faithful Fridays is a weekly "meme" hosted on my blog.  I made it so that Christians could have one day out of the week (Friday) to share something from their Christian walk on their blog.  If you'd like to participate, write your post, grab the button from the Faithful Fridays page on my blog (so that it will link back here), and come link up at the bottom of this post!  :)


Different people come to Jesus at different times and in different ways.  A man may go through a good portion of his life without Jesus and finally come down to his wire after losing everything and realize that there's a God that loves him, a God he needs.  A young woman may come back to the Lord after falling out of His will many years before.  Some, like me, come to know the Lord when they're small.  I was five.  But it wasn't until maybe two years ago that I really started realizing what it meant to really follow Jesus.

And so I'm in this place when I'm eleven or twelve, making a decision to really follow the Lord and just completely give my life to Jesus.  

And between some rough times, that promise has strengthened.

But, guys.  It's soooo hard.

It's so hard being a teenage girl trying to take up the cross daily and radically follow Jesus.

Because that's what we're called to.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
-Hebrews 12:1

We all know that growing up is hard.  Especially the teen years.  Because when you're kids, personalities and looks and backgrounds and faith doesn't really make a difference; you're all kids and you all play together.  But when you get older, people start changing.  The people you used to be best friends with become people you can't stand to be around.  Your childhood fears are exchanged for different fears, perhaps more scary.  Your priorities change.  You change.  Opinions you had when you were a child become a thing of the past.

And I get so scared sometimes that I'm going to fall into the way of the world, the pattern that almost all teenagers in America take.  That is one of my worst fears.  It may seem a bit silly, but it's true.  And that's probably saved me from a few things and done me good.  

Growing up as a truly Christian teen girl (or guy) is one of the hardest things in the world.  Ever!

You're probably going to get made fun of.  You're going to "miss out" on a few things (but those who don't take this narrow road miss out on so much more, believe me), or so the world will tell you.  You're going to get downtrodden and discouraged.  You're going to cry.  You're going to get angry.  You're going to have hard times and you're probably going to really not like yourself at times.

It's going to be hard and you're going to feel like you're just barely surviving and just barely making it.  

But you're also going to experience this amazing closeness with God.  This joy.  This peace.  This love.  This patience (okay, I haven't received that yet).  It all comes from this incredible relationship with the God of the universe.  You actually get to feel Him speak to you.  You get to read His word.  It's wonderful and amazing and incredible and like nothing anywhere else, ever!

And at the end of these hard years, you're going to look back and be like, "Man, that was awesome."

We're called to be radical.  That's what picking up the cross daily and following Jesus means.  You have to deny yourself.  Denying yourself means putting Jesus in front of yourself.  And it's hard.  Really.

"Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"
-Luke 9:23

I used to read that verse and feel kind of...vague.  And hazy.  It didn't quite pierce my brain like it does now.  God speaks to us about different things at different times.  I used to try to kind of literally listen to God when I was little, but I think I realize now that when God speaks to us, a lot of times it's a slow understanding He brings onto us.  An understanding of what He's trying to get through our thick skulls.  It's kind of like a quiet nudging.

Now, when you think of being a radical Christian, you might get the wrong idea.  Like the so-called "Super Christians" that memorize entire books of the Bible and always wear skirts and head coverings and are extremely strict.  

And that's not it.  

Hey, if you can memorize entire books of the Bible, please come over to my house and TEACH ME HOW.  Because that's great.

And God calls some of His daughters to dress differently than others. 

Each of us have our own paths that are different and yet similar in a curious way.

They're all about Jesus and radically following Him and putting ourselves to the side.

Throwing off all the distractions--our friends, the computer, the phone, fashion, makeup, appearances, material things, fame, money, and all the rest of the worldly things we come across--all the things that hinder and the sin that so easily entangles.  Because sometimes, even though we kind of try to stop sinning, we don't really do our best.  We kind of voluntarily let ourselves fall into this trap over and over again and feel miserable about it yet keep doing it.  I say this because we need to know that we cannot be perfect because only God is perfect and we will sin sometimes, but we need to do our best and try really, really hard not to and to not make excuses for ourselves.  Do not let that sin so easily entangle you!

So, I hope you got something from this today.  I guess my last point is that we need to throw off all this stuff and just focus our eyes in straight ahead and run a radical race to the finish line, where God will be waiting to escort us to our house in Heaven.

We're called to be radical.  We're called to run a radical race.


Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...

Being radical for Jesus and following Him as a lifestyle is never EASY, but it is so worth it....and to think that you now at this age are doing're being protected under His wings from so many things that others look back upon and wish they had done! Keep running the race.....radically!

I love you and am proud of you!


Laura Lane said...

Good morning Joy,

It touched my heart this morning to read what you wrote. My Emily is around your age, 15, and my Amy is 11. I know that Emily sometimes struggles with being so different from the other kids in her youth group at church. She actually considers youth group to be her mission field.

I think growing up homeschooled, by parents who are serious about helping you to be set apart for God, makes you different. You probably always will be...unless, you decide to turn away from your upbringing and from the Lord's will for you.

I don't think it will happen accidentally. I think you make the decision to be worldly one choice at a time.

Be strong in the Lord, Joy. You can do this. You can be the young woman of God that He wants you to be. Trust Him to speak to you and to keep you safe. Fear not! He is with you. Be not dismayed. He is your God.

Blessings to you dear girl,
Laura Lane
Harvest Lane Cottage
Mom to Teen for the Lord

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