At my small Southern high school, following Jesus was, believe it or not…cool. Football players attended Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meetings, and every few weeks, groups of loners and cheerleaders alike gathered at 7:15 a.m. for “Prayer at the Pole.”
But what about later in life?
When the Friday Night Lights fade and everyone forgets the meaning of Tebowing, when “Prayer at the Pole” is replaced by deadlines and board meetings, and the idea of a so-called God isn’t only rejected, but laughed upon.
And I, in my abrupt moment of scholarly daydreams chose to be a part of this world, surrounding myself with people who worship the works of Ernest Hemingway and the awareness of social movements, having no shame in the female #nipple. No shame in cursing or using pornography for artistic purposes. No shame.
Even in Shakespearean time, life had only two questions:
Or not to be?
But for me, there is no question.
Finding Christianity wasn’t a random life occurrence in the least. It was everywhere, always pounding on the doors of my heart, even when those doors were locked with a deadbolt and chain. But eventually, I came around to accepting my inheritance. My destiny to be a daughter of the King.
As I’ve spent the last three months working on graduate school applications, I’ve been introduced to a new belief system that is to no avail, rather catchy. Its name?
Can the spiritual and the analytical happily marry into one fruitful life? Yes, and here’s how I perform this ceremony daily:
- Pray with faith; Unceasing, with a thankful heart
Because I spend 14+ hours a day with nonbelievers, I constantly have to speak with God. Their influence over me is sometimes overwhelming, and occasionally tempting. Believe me, I’ve tried slacking on my prayer life, and no one but myself suffers.
I’ve noticed patterns where I’ll start to slip away, and before I even realize it, I’ve sinned. That’s why it’s so important to always pray, even when you don’t feel like it. Pray believing that what you need has already been delivered to you, because essentially, it has: His blood was shed nearly 2,000 years ago. And that’s enough to last a lifetime. For this, we should always be thankful.
- Respect their decisions and understand
The last way anyone wants to feel is judged, and unfortunately the Christian family has a bad reputation for judging people. No one wants to be preached at, and no one cares to hear your beliefs about God, or why they’re going to Hell.
Be respectful of them and their decision to not believe. Chances are, if they’re over a certain age, they probably decided who they want to be as a person a long time before they crossed your path.
That being said, there is no reason why you shouldn’t “walk in the light” while you’re around them. I was raised to believe that this is the best form of witnessing a person can do: living the life. I’ve seen it inspire people countless times, just by showing God’s love, mercy and honor.
For people who I deal with that are just…difficult, as in rude, demeaning and hurtful, I try to understand their side. Know that there will always be people who completely despise you because of the way you live, including your belief in God. They don’t like your opinions on this and that, and they’re not afraid to hurt you where your heart is. With these people, I remind myself that there’s always a reason for a person’s non-belief. Maybe a parent taken too soon by cancer. Maybe rubbing shoulders with too many hypocrites. And maybe because some people are naturally weaker, and they need guidance, but are too prideful to accept it. This is why it’s so vital to understand. Because we all have a story.
- Don’t compromise your faith
This is so important. One of my personal convictions is cursing. It seems like no big deal, but for me, it reminds me of Colossians 3:8, which reads as (NIV): But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. It’s not Godly to curse, and it’s not lady like.
In my literature classes, we all take turns reading text aloud. More often than not, these readings contain language that make me pause before it becomes my turn to read. And my peers read these words with joy, praising the intellectual brilliance behind the author’s work. And I just sit there, feeling isolated and like the “odd one out.”
It’s the small moments like these that matter the most. Because once you allow your mind to accept something as petty as cursing, you’ll start to accept other things, too. Before you know it, your faith is shaken, and you could find yourself questioning the very existence of a God you once worshipped.
I’ve put so much thought into this subject, having morals in higher education. Atheism runs rampant in the intellectual world, and jabs at Christianity seem to be a popular pastime. I face this battle daily, curious to understand how others see me, while secretly wanting their acceptance.
And then I’m reminded of one of the greatest women who ever lived. Queen Esther, an obedient heroine of the Old Testament, who prayed without ceasing. She understood what the enemy believed, and she never compromised her faith. By doing this, Queen Esther prevented the genocide of her people.
Find favor in the King’s eyes. If we don’t accept our royal destiny as Queen Esther did, we’ll soon face a spiritual genocide at the hands of the secular world. Seems radical? Not quite. I’ve come close to drifting into enemy territory a time or two, as I know we all have.
Esther 4:14 (NIV): …And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”