Thursday, February 17, 2011

Defining Me, Defining My Faith

"Be honest: Do people have to ask if you're a Christian? Do your words, music, hobbies, jokes, attitude, and social commentaries make it hard to distinguish you as a follower of Christ?" -@StickyJesus p. 133
 My honest answer to this question is that it depends on who you ask.

You see, to some people I'm not conservative enough to be a Christian.

I enjoyed a beer with dinner last night.  I voted for Obama and I'm proud of it.  I'm a moderate liberal despite my Republican upbringing.  I can appreciate a well-placed swear word. If I haven't listened to any angry rock music in awhile, my stress level goes up.  I walked through the fire of depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal ideation half a lifetime ago.  Heck, I still have eczema even though I was anointed with oil at a childhood prayer service.

I've been condemned for these things. I've been told I wasn't a real Christian because of these things.

To my nonChristian friends and my more liberal or socially conscious Christian friends, those are the things that make me real and keep me approachable.  Because what is at the heart of those things, whether you agree with me or not, is a heart that wants to remain soft to God and daily strives to be more Christ-like.

I never want to be held captive by legalism.

I know you may have reasons for not drinking or why you only vote Republican.  I affirm your decision and however you got to that place.  To me these things are not markers of faith.

Someone I met at Blissdom told me she'd like to have a glass of wine at one of the cocktail tables but she didn't want anyone to take a picture of her holding the glass, for fear one of her readers would see it. I get it and yet I don't.  I'm the same person on this blog as I am in real life.  Perhaps more vulnerable on-line but ever the same girl. 

How do I want people to see my faith?  By seeing my compassion, my willingness to listen and serve, and by noticing that my life is daily filtered through prayer.  I want people to see the hands and feet of Christ when they see me. I want to be someone who draws people to the foot of the cross.

Maybe legalism will prevent those within the church from viewing me as a Christian.  I know that I am right with God.  Maybe He'll work on me about some of those things someday but for now, my focus is more on being in relationship with the people He's placed around me.

I will continue reaching out and sharing my imperfections and how God is redeeming me day by day.  Hopefully in these things my faith will shine through.

How would you answer this question?

This post was written for the @StickyJesus Read-Along hosted by Michelle Sarabia.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from HopefulLeigh, any purchase you make supports this site.


  1. Love the post, Leigh. I think striving to be real and authentic is important in today's world. Especially if one has a heart for those around us. We can have such an influence on the positivity or negativity of a person towards the Christian faith simply by the amount of legalism in our Christian walk.

    I too never want to be held captive by legalism. I want to be defined by the compassion I have, the grace I extend, the love I show, not what I do or do not do. Thanks for the reminder that we are still being redeemed every day.

  2. Ah Sister Friend, I totally know where you are coming from.

    I guess my answer would be that in the old days I would have fit the "right" answer to a "T" yet personally I feel like I was further away from what "Jesus Would Do" in those days than today.

    So while some may now look at me today and be disappointed in my "witness" as it doesn't fit traditional molds like it once did, I feel like I am closer to where God would have me... an imperfect human, saved by grace, loving her fellow man.

  3. Your story sounds incredibly familiar. Being the odd voice out gets hard especially in a legalistic setting, but knowing other people are in the same place is comforting somehow.


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