As I wrote my blog about how I have faked it until I made it in my past jobs (you can read that HERE), I realized that there is another area of my life that I have sometimes faked it. When I say this, you may think badly of me, but sometimes, I have faked my Christianity. Okay, now hear me out before you light your torch. I want to explain.
I don’t mean that I have faked a belief in God. I believe in God. There have been moments that I questioned those beliefs, but then, I looked around and saw too much evidence in the world to think God wasn’t real. In those times that I questioned Him, I was open and honest about that. It happens. All Christians question God at some point, and if they tell you they don’t, they might be fooling you or themselves.
When I heard, believed, repented, confessed and was baptized, I meant it. There was nothing fake about that.
I mean that I have faked the desire to be a Christian. I’ve been going to church three times a week since I was 15 years old. I am ashamed to say how many of those times I really did not want to go. Especially on Wednesday night, sometimes it’s hard to feel motivated. I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m 100 things behind on my to-do list. Church just seems like it will get in the way! It means I have to brush my hair (such a chore) and get in the car and go. Sometimes, it’s tempting just to skip it. Occasionally, I have skipped it, and every time I did, I regretted it. However, almost always, I’ve gone anyway.
And you want to know a secret? I never, ever regretted it when I went. In fact, I came out of church feeling refreshed and ready to tackle that to-do list! I’m not saying church is magical or anything like that, but there is definitely a power there. Being with your church family and worshipping and learning about God together can give you a hope and a spirit that you can’t get on your own.
The writer of Hebrews knew what he was saying when he wrote Hebrews 10:25, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” There is encouragement you can get at church that is inexplicable but real. God did not tell us to go to church for His sake. He told us to go for our sakes! He knew what He was doing when He designed church, and if we follow that, we are uplifted and encouraged.
I’ve also faked it when it came to loving others. There are days when I don’t want to be nice to anyone. Just to smile is painful. I don’t want to help others. I want to drop the door on the person entering the building behind me. I want to cut people off in traffic. Sometimes, I have done that (although I’ve never dropped a door on someone on purpose…my southern upbringing won’t allow me to do that). I have cut others off in traffic, and I regretted it. I probably ruined that person’s day, and I felt bad about it.
On the days when I did not let my ugly attitude affect how I treated others, I never regretted that. In fact, smiling at someone, holding a door open and allowing someone in front of me at the stoplight actually improved how I felt. Before I knew it, I was speaking nicely and maybe even humming a tune.
Galatians 6:9 says, “So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.”
Just like in my jobs through my life, I’ve had to fake it, I’ve had to do the same in my Christian walk. If I gave up every time I felt like it, I would have quit a long time ago. The Bible is clear about the fact that a Christian walk is not going to be easy. In fact, in several places, Christianity is compared to a long race.
Open your Bible and check out these verses:
I Timothy 4:8
I Corinthians 9:25-27
So, on days when you are ready to give up, don’t. Remember that the Christian walk is a marathon and not a sprint. If you aren’t feeling like much of a Christian and you are feeling tired, stressed and disenchanted, don’t give up. You may not feel it right now, but keep trying anyway. Follow my motto, “Fake it ‘til ya make it.” Keep acting like a Christian even if you aren’t feeling like one, and eventually, you’ll feel like one again. -Al
“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Until about 2 years ago, I was the queen of the leftovers. I would plan meals so that not only did we have leftovers for lunch the next day, but I had leftover meat to use for another recipe. In cooking, this was efficient and great. I would still be the queen, but my royal subjects eat all my food now. No matter how much I make, the Beetle and the Goose devour it, so the leftover days are gone.
I wish I could say the same for my spiritual life. Unfortunately, most days, I’m still the queen of the leftovers. When it comes to my spiritual walk, that’s not a good thing. I am only giving God the left over time in my day instead of putting Him first.
There have been times in my life when I made sure to study my Bible and pray every morning. However, these times were usually short-lived. This is something I have struggled with since the beginning of time. (Or at least, the beginning of my time.) It’s hard to make time for God! As terrible as that sounds, it’s true.
Anyone who has been to church more than once in their lives has probably heard the preacher’s illustration of filling a jar. If you have large stones, rocks, pebbles and sand to fit into a jar, the order in which you put it matters. If you put the sand and pebbles in first, they will fill up the jar and not leave room for the large stones and rocks. However, if you put the large stones first, then you can put the rocks next. The pebbles and sand will go in easily as they will fill in the cracks around the bigger items. The point is, if we put the important things first in our day, the rest will get done because they will just trickle in around the important ones. That’s an illustration I think of often as I wonder where my day has gone and realize that I let the sand fill my time.
So many days, I hit the ground running. I wake up and immediately think of all the things that have to be done before I can go back to bed. I put in a load of laundry, get started working, do the dishes, etc. I let all the little pebbles fill my jar, while the large stones and rocks wait to the side, never getting done. It’s when I remember to put the important things in my day first that I get more accomplished. I would imagine every mother out there struggles with the same thing. There’s just so much to do and so little time to get it done!
Through the years, I’ve heard some suggestions on how to better fit Bible study and prayer into a daily schedule. This list is by no means complete. I would love to hear what anyone else wants to suggest. This is something I struggle with, as I am sure many of you do too.
Here’s the list so far:
- Find a good Bible study book that interests you. If you have a reason to study, you are more likely to study.
- Read the Psalms. Study one or two a day as this will keep you busy for at least a month.
- Keep a prayer journal. I have done this on and off during my adult years. It is encouraging to go back and read my prayers from the past and know how they have been answered. As an example, I prayed for a year and a half for a second child, and I just knew I was going to die if I didn’t get one. The Goose proves that God answered that prayer in His time.
- Use a prayer rock. Now, this sounds silly, but it works. Use a rock to remind you to pray. At night, put it on the floor so you step on it in the morning. You’ll remember to pray. Then, in the morning, put it on your pillow so you’ll see it (or feel it!) when you go to bed. Then, you’ll remember to pray again.
- Specify certain things to pray for each day of the week. That way, you feel motivated to pray, since you have a “reason.” (As if we don’t already have a million reasons!) Here’s a suggested schedule:
Sunday – Pray for the growth and strength of your church family
Monday – Pray for the physical and spiritual health of your physical family
Tuesday – Pray for those who are sick and hurting
Wednesday – Pray for those who are lost
Thursday – Pray for the military and those in the community who serve us through various occupations
Friday – Pray for the government
Saturday – Pray for yourself for strength, wisdom and the fruits of the spirit
What are some other tricks that you use to get into God’s word and into prayer daily? I would love to hear any suggestions you have. Maybe they will help me not to be the queen of the leftovers! -Al