Keepin' the Faith

Okay, so here's the deal...

I love Jesus.

Like, for real.  I think He is the absolute man and an impeccable example of what human beings should strive to be on earth - how He treated others and Himself (He LOVED to take some quiet time to be alone with His thoughts and with God) was amazing.

Alright, now that 75% of people have left the site (I know religious-type posts are not for everyone) let's get down to the real deal:  I used to be embarrassed about that fact.

I wanted to use the word "shy" here, since that's a softer, easier word to handle, but it's just not accurate.  I was embarrassed.  You see, I went to an extremely hippie-dippie liberal arts school for college and for me, school was just not a place where I felt entirely comfortable with my faith.

As far as individual thoughts and feelings, absolutely, but sharing those opinions?  Much less so.

Although I certainly didn't deny my faith (after all, I do wear a sassy "Jesus" ring all day err'y day and have since freshman year) I often felt as though I wasn't able to express my thoughts or experiences with God as often as I'd have liked to, for fear of being looked down on by my peers.

my JC bling bling, yo.

It is just about the most cliche thing in the world, but I didn't want people to judge me.  Especially in that type of environment, Christians are often looked down on as indoctrinated, close-minded, or just plain foolish.

People at school were nice to me, and (generally) fairly accepting of my faith, but it was frustrating to constantly hear things like "No, you're a COOL Christian!" or "You don't count!" when overhearing conversations others were having about 'religious people.'  I knew that they meant it as a compliment - meant it to distance me from the uber-conservative, hate-mongering folks they were conversing about.  For me, though, it just made me feel both distanced from those who share my faith AND distanced from those who disagree.  To be blatant, it just sucked.

And so, for awhile, I was pretty quiet about things.  People knew I was a religious person and if someone asked, I would absolutely share, but I (very very very intentionally) tried to get people to see me as someone who saw faith as wearing "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" t-shirts and using prayer as a Meisner activity, and far less about attending church or reading the Bible daily.

And, I'll be honest, this feeling of needing to keep the strength of my faith a secret was still strong up until the beginning of 2012, when I decided to do something that I KNEW I would struggle with: post one verse of Scripture on my facebook page every day for a full year.

Every. Single. Day.

And I'll be honest, it really was hard.  I'm positive that a great deal of my friends have hidden my posts (I might too, if I were them and the subject wasn't something I was interested in, so that doesn't offend me) but others have told me, in private, that they have really enjoyed my verses.

I try to keep it simple, and the only rules are:

-No skipping days.
-No posting after midnight (it's a new day, then!)
-The verse MUST be something I read during my Bible readings that day

and I suppose there's the unspoken rule that it must be a verse I think is interesting/agree with/that really resonates with me/I find theologically intriguing.


It has been one of the scariest things for me to do, silly as that may sound.  It has meant that when I make new friends and they friend me online (which is so commonplace it's almost bizarre when it doesn't happen) they see a facebook full of the Bible.  Just wallpapered in the Bible.

And sometimes that makes me feel nervous.  It makes me think people will judge me.

But, you know what?  It has also been one of the most awesome, freeing, fabulous things I've ever done!  Because eventually I stopped caring!  If people go to my facebook and see posts about Jesus, well...they are just seeing something that's important and interesting to me.  And if they try to judge me as a human being, or pretend to know my political views or my views on social issues based solely on their preconceived notions of religious people, well then they are making a grave mistake.  

It is not my responsibility to make sure I am never judged negatively or incorrectly.  I can only live and be the best possible person that I can be - which for me, it turns out, means following my main man JC.

31 comments:

  1. So, I apologize for possibly intruding, but I'm one of your Tumblr followers, so I saw this, and I wanted to comment, because I think this is really wonderful, and I'm really glad you gained this confidence in yourself and who you are.

    I think the social situation where there's theoretically 'tolerance' but in real life people end up feeling uncomfortable if they're different from those around them is really harmful, and it's inspiring when people resist it, find ways to be who they are anyway. And your faith is inspiring too.

    Thank you.

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    1. You're not intruding at ALL - thank you for replying :)

      Yes, it was quite the experience, although definitely something that I think, ultimately, improved me as a person. Sometimes things that seem simple can feel so difficult; isn't it crazy the way that is?

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  2. Yeah! This is something I've very recently gotten over being embarrassed about too. My whole life growing up, I would kind of mumble the, "oh wait, i can't, it's Sunday morning and i have church.." Then in college as a Biology major & Religion minor, I constantly found myself replying to surprise with the, "yes! not all Christians/ religious people are stubborn, unintelligent tea partiers! and yes, science & religion caaan work together!" It still felt semi-defensive, and my faith was something I would bring up after I'd gotten to know someone a bit. Again, rooted in that fear of judgement/dismissal, I think. Finally, last year, I did an Episcopal Service Corps program, where 16 of us 20-somethings lived in 2 houses, did service projects throughout the city, and had Morning Prayer every day! Friends would find hymns on Youtube, volunteer to pray before meals, and it was not an issue. I came to realize that it's not my role to defend every aspect, person, & action within the Christian faith. I can't. That's the beauty of Christianity, is that it's open to all. I get from it what I get, friends get something totally different, and other friends (who may have had terrible experiences with church growing up) find God/peace/fulfillment in other activities. I think some of it was getting over the inner fear that people think I think they're going to hell. I do believe that's where many attacks on religious people is rooted, is that defensive hatred of personal judgement. Since that year, I have a gold cross ring that I wear every day, which shows that it's just part of me, and there's no need for me to be embarrassed. It's not an issue, it just is. This got long & I should eat some breakfast, but thanks for this post & aw yeah for "coming out" as a Christian. :)

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    1. This response just felt perfect! Thank you for sharing your experience and it's so nice to know people who can relate to my nervousness!

      :). Hope you had a great breakfast, haha!

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  3. As one of your adamantly non-Christian friends, this is one of the many, many reasons I love you, Grades. That you are so unabashedly honest and true to something you believe and care about so deeply is refreshing and inspiring. <3

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    1. Thank you <3. Surprisingly (or maybe not?) people in the theatre have been incredibly supportive and wonderful in regards to my faith.

      See you soon! :)

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  4. I think that growing up it's harder for people to accept their love for JC. My friend recently accepted his faith a few years ago and at first we were all a little stumped. But honestly it does not bother me one bit. I am agnostic technically, but I love everyone and I think all paths are interesting. I just can't pinpoint what is exactly right for me, you know? I am so thrilled when people are so happy and dedicated to their faith though. You go girl!

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    1. Thank you! I wasn't really "raised" in a religion, so I find it very confusing when people do the "rebelling from their faith" thing, because I was just never forced into anything myself, so I've always found faith/religion and exploration thereof to be freeing, not stifling. I think, honestly, that's where I've seen a lot of the hate come from - people who were forced into it or who feel others are forced into it.

      I am 100% on board with loving everyone :)

      Thanks for reading!

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  5. I love the idea of posting EVERY DAY. I do every now and then but to do it intentionally especially with what I have read for the day is an awesome idea. I too hope I live out my faith and not care what people think because it just doesn't matter. Thank you for the idea!!!!!

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    1. Absolutely! I found it to be really an awesome thing once I got over the stressful part.

      I haven't posted a verse in awhile, since I've been focused on reading other things (at the moment Christopher, my boyfriend, and I are reading "Blue Like Jazz" - http://gradybird.blogspot.com/2013/01/time.html - and that has been fun) but I do intend to post some more Scripture every now and then.

      Just committing to doing it was really great for my spiritual life AND I think it was helpful and encouraging to some of my friends, too!

      Thank you for reading :)

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  6. I am not a very religious person but I deeply admire people who stand for what they believe in and express their views. I 100% respect you just for posting a post like this and telling the world about your faith. You sound like a very strong woman and I admire you for that.

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    1. Thank you so much! I was not raised to be any specific type of religion. I honestly searched on my own when I was in middle school - my parents would drive me to whatever place of worship I wanted (temples, churches, etc.) and they'd pick me up after the service - so I've really felt a serious ownership of my faith, which I think it really helpful.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting :)

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  7. Grady,

    I love how you are taking flight!

    People don't like being preached at. I think most people respond differently when they recognize you are expressing yourself and your beliefs. People respect honesty and consistency; it is hypocrisy that they abhor.

    I explored your blog while I was here and I really enjoyed your writing! Would love for you to share your creativity with us at Inspire Me Monday and Friendship Friday! :-)

    Create With Joy
    http://create-with-joy.com

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm not exactly sure what Inspire Me Monday or Friendship Friday is, but I would love to learn more!

      I am really feeling great about this post, although I will admit that it was very scary to write and put out there. I do try to be as honest as I possibly can and I think you are 100% right that people respect that.

      Thank you for reading :) Please stick around!

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  8. I definitely know what you mean! I also went to a lib arts college and have always been in lots of spaces where the majority were not christian. It was easy to distance myself because I do feel a little different than what people perceive christians to be--but that doesn't help with the witness of other christians for me to distance myself and sort of "agree" (even if not verbally) that they were kinda weird. I'm still learning what this means and I challenge myself not to stay in the church box even though my hubby is in full time ministry. Now I do roller derby--something I'm weirdly good at--and is a place where I connect with tons of non-christians. It keeps me on my toes and I have to also make sure I keep up fellowship and my time with God to be an effective witness. :) Sorry for the super long post! Just connected via blogelina!

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    1. I LOVE that! My friend Gina does roller derby and she has told me on more than one occasion that it's something I would be awesome at!

      I tend to be in a similar situation, although for me it's the theatre (the most obscene group of people there is :-P ) and that's where I work for my full-time job.

      I am definitely not what people perceive when they think "Christian," but that does not make my faith any less real, which I think can sometimes be confusing to people.

      I'm so glad we connected (here and on Twitter) - I added you to my RSS Feed! :) Thanks for reading! :)

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  9. I frequently put Bible verses on my FB. I think it's an encouragement to more people than we know. And every day... that's a cool idea. :)

    ahumblebumble.blogspot.com

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    1. You're definitely right! I have been told on more than one occasion that people (religious and otherwise) were very inspired or uplifted by my verses :)

      Thank you for reading!

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  10. I like to encourage people with Bible verses on FB too. I think it is great that you love Jesus and are not ashamed to say it loudly! Thanks for sharing! And yes, I love Reese's PB cups too!

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    1. Yay! A fellow Jesus-AND-Reeses lover! :D

      Thank you so much for reading :)

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  11. I love that you posted a verse every day on FB in 2012. Is it your plan for 2013 to continue? I get what you mean about being embarrassed, as I think most of us have been there done that. It's scary to approach the subject at times because we don't know how people will react and we don't want to alienate people because of our faith.

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  12. You go girl!!! I am glad you stand up for what you believe in. I know at times it is hard for me to stand up for my religious convictions but I guess I need to more like you!!

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  13. These days it is really hard to get to see people professing their faith and standing up against those who do not respect that. I must say that sometimes for convenience sake, I too decide to ignore my faith quietly. and I am a catholic. Thanks for showing me a different perspective to this. God Bless!

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  14. I love Jesus too and have struggled with how to share in appropriate ways (and by appropriate I mean in ways that will edify bless the recipient and not necessarily just make me feel better about my own walk with the Lord if that makes sense). The only problem is my way means I'm silent more often than not.

    PS (I found you link on TMMO)

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  15. Hello - Thank You for popping in to My blog and Commenting! I appreciated your post here and I want to encourage you to continue to share your faith as you can. I use the YouVersion Bible App, too! ;-} I search for the 'appropriate verse' to go with each of my posts... My Best Wishes and God's Blessings to You!
    Lynden
    http://aneleganttouch-lynden.blogspot.com
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/An-Elegant-Touch-/162889457132788

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  16. Public protestations of faith make many people nervous, regardless of the faith expressed, be it Christian, Buddhist, Moslem. I am not a religious peson, but I respect faith and belief in others - I think what makes people, generally, nervous of religion is how they are expected to respond - that the key to that is the believer themselves.

    A statement of belief and how it shapes your life is an integral part of you, what might bother people is those who relentlessly hammer on about their faith as if they want to convert the world to their own way of thinking. Your blog sounds a great way for you to express your living faith and your love for Jesus - go for it, you have found friends and respect with your blog - you are doing good!

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  17. I definitely give you major props, and have to admit I don't blog much about my faith simply to reach a broader audience...hmmmm...maybe I should take a leap of faith and give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration!

    ~Terri
    Eco-Crazy Mom

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  18. What's interesting is I went to a liberal arts college but it was considered a Christian college. I also think it is interesting that you felt the need to downplay your faith whereas I've felt the need to hide that I am agnostic. Neither of us should feel that way!

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  19. I am not a practicing Christian in the since of going to a Church, but feel a close connect to God. I am a firm believer that our relationship with him is a personal one, not forced one, each relationship different than the next. It sounds like that is something you have found. Thank you for sharing.

    Dawn
    http://dawnsdelightsart.com/

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  20. Great idea about posting a new verse on your wall each day!

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  21. I too am a Christian and have gone through that kind of embarrassment as well. But I know that I am more courageous now in terms of expressing my beliefs. That doesn't mean though that I'm no longer afraid of rejection. I still am -- because rejection does hurt. But when I remember all the blessings and all the times God has been faithful to me, that hurt just becomes a blur.

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