Truth for the Times

I’ve recently sensed a quiet but significant shift in my heart. It could be a result of being forced to slow down in the pandemic. It could be the heightened conflict that we see all over the news and social media. It could also be the fact that I became a momma and then turned 25 about a week later, and both of those things have made me feel more like a “real adult” (whatever that means).

It’s probably a combination of all three. Whatever the case, the shift has been this: I’m hungering to further solidify my commitment to the way of Jesus, and I want to truly walk the walk.

In 2020, we were staying at home, and I had some room to evaluate where I was spending my time and putting my energy. Dellan and I decided to rest more intentionally, for example. I felt like I had just kind of stumbled upon a lot of the things I was involved in, and I wanted to instead choose to do what I truly cared about. Since then, I’ve been doing my best to orient my schedule to match my most important values.

Then, as tensions rose over the course of the year and social media became a volatile place, I was doing a lot of wrestling with what I actually believe. I saw so many posts that said something like, “If you’re a true follower of Jesus, you’ll agree with _____.” It came from both sides of every issue. Every time I saw something written in that way, I would get anxious. It seemed like whoever posted it was so sure that not only were they correct, but they knew that God would side with them. I didn’t want to choose either side. I wanted the way of Jesus. And I wasn’t sure if I had ever really tried to look at the world through the lens that He would.

Becoming a mom just intensified both of these feelings. I spend my days watching this little girl change daily before my eyes and I feel like I’m running out of time. I can already sense just how quickly the next 25 years will go, and I want to make the most of it. I also want to be able to tell her about Jesus with clarity and adoration. I hope that she sees my devotion to Him in how I live, which is a weighty and holy task.

I’ve heard similar sentiments from others. I think a lot of us are wanting more of Jesus–wanting to be true apprentices and followers rather than fans and acquaintances.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)

These days definitely feel evil, amen? It is all the more important to make the best use of our time. For me, it’s looked like decreasing the time I spend scrolling and worrying about what others have to say. I’ve raised the volume on voices of people devoted to Jesus, and I’ve increased my time with Him and doing what He made me to do. If you’re looking for a place to start, I think those are helpful.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

1 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)

I have to make a daily choice to set Jesus apart as the best thing and increase my passion for His ways, His words, His love, and His redemption. I want to know how to defend my hope in Him and give language to my beliefs during a time when everyone gives voice to every opinion. When I do explain, I desire to cut through the noise with a spirit of gentleness and meekness. We have an opportunity to be salt and light in a world that would rather be zealous for darkness.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10 (NIV)

This one sums up both the belief and action well, I think. If I were to turn it into a prayer about how to walk through these times, it would sound something like this:

Help me love what you love, O God, and give me distaste for what you hate. Instruct me in seeking the narrow way in a world that claims to offer many paths to abundant life.

When I become tired, give me strength to move forward. Daily renew my commitment to following you closely, that I might fall back on the habits I’ve built when I am weak.

Feel free to steal it, if you want! We’re in this together. Praying for wisdom for you and for me.

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