Hello, Happy Monday! Okay, so these past two weeks have been busy ones, and that’s why I’m sat here at the end of week 6 having not yet written the blog for week 5, whoops! Guess I’ll be squeezing it all into one blog this week.
So, week 6 already?! Time flies when you’re counting the weeks. Despite this week being hectic, I am so glad that my youth pastor introduced me to God 52 because it has been an absolute blessing.. a challenge and sometimes a struggle, but always a blessing!
So, week 5…the challenge was to ask someone if I could pray for them. For some people, this would be easy… why? Because to be honest, there’s no shame in praying, but it can be hard to say out of the blue to someone who you know isn’t a Christian, ‘hey, can I pray for you?!’ I’ll be honest, I was scared. I knew straight away that I wasn’t going to approach some random stranger in the street, 1) because anything could happen and 2) because, quite honestly, I don’t have the nerve… and some people I can imagine would not be very impressed. I played it safe… sticking to people that I ‘roughly’ knew, and people who I knew I wasn’t likely to get abuse from. But, even this was scary. So it came to last Monday, and once again, I’d put the challenge to the back of my mind (whoops!!) and quickly searched my phone and Facebook for the people I felt I should ask. I guess in this case, I played it very safe… behind the safety of a phone or computer screen, even if someone challenged me, I was in a safe place (probably on the sofa) and I could just get on with it without worrying about people’s reactions too much. It went well, I got a good reception from all the people that I asked, and no one hurled abuse at me. The end.
No, actually its not the end, because, on reflection, I can’t help but wonder why I was so scared. I’ve been a Christian since 2010, and in that 2 years and 6 months(ish!) I can see that I’ve developed hugely in the confidence that I have in my faith. I’m not afraid to say that I’m a Christian anymore, and if someone challenges me, I no longer want to run away and hide, but feel that I can stand up for my beliefs without really worrying about what they’re going to say back.
Whilst thinking about the prayer challenge for week 5, I remembered the Mexico feedback service, when the team I went on mission to Mexico with basically put on a service to tell the whole church about what we did, what we learnt, what we got from it etc etc. In the evening service, I signed up to do a short ‘talk’ on a passage from the bible, the one about the sheep and the goats, around the theme of service. I was so worried about speaking in front of the church, and with minutes to go.. my youth pastor said, ‘Hey Maddie, are you ready?’ and I replied with something along the lines of, ‘No, I’m scared’. Why was I scared? Because, to be completely honest with you, I felt like a 16 year old girl who knew nothing .. and I thought to myself, ‘who am I to stand up in front of these people and speak to them about God?’ When I said this to him, he simply said something along the lines of, ‘you might not know everything, but you know Jesus.. and that’s what matters’.
In week 5, this is what kept me going. If there’s one thing I’ve been reminded of, it’s that no matter what you believe, you will always find people who believe something else… but hey, as I sang with such certainty the other night, ‘there IS power in the name of Jesus’. At the end of the day, what is the worst that can happen? This week, with the the help of the wise (not so old) Steve, I’ve remembered that God is totally in control, and that I shouldn’t feel shame whilst trying to ‘expand the kingdom’ but instead, joy and excitement… because who knows what will happen when he’s got the reigns? To any of you reading this who have found this week hard, or who would find it hard to speak to anyone about your faith, don’t worry.. you could be surprised. I’ve had amazing conversations with people, and even made completely new friends thanks to conversations about God. We should live by it and not be ashamed, and although of course I appreciate that is easier said than done in the society of today, God is with us all the way, and his love never fails.
Then came week six, and the challenge was to listen to a speaker giving an opinion on a topic different to your own. Once again, I have to put my hands up and say that I haven’t done a great job of this one.. I couldn’t really think of any particular area that jumped out at me, and last night I was desperately trying to think of something to tackle and I thought to myself.. why rush? When something pops into my mind, I will tackle it, but at the moment I’m actually quite content. Like everyone, I’m surrounded by people who don’t share my views, and because of this, I’ve learnt to appreciate other people’s views. I can’t lie.. I still find views about women not being in leadership in church a load of rubbish, but that’s just my opinion. I’m not really qualified to argue because I guess I don’t really know any of the theology behind this type of thing, but what I do know, is that I am surrounded by women who have made a wonderful impact in my life because of their strengths in leadership, and also in my own church and other local churches, women are very much leading the way, and, in my opinion, doing a fabulous job of it. Like I said, I don’t know the Theology of it all, but the idea that women should stay silent in church seems crazy to me, sometimes.. its hard to shut me up.. So I guess I haven’t been very good at this challenge…. but, for now all I can say is, we’re all Christians who are following the same God. Regardless of how we interpret the bible, one thing I know, and one thing my dad pointed out to me today, is that Christianity is rooted in love and forgiveness, and I guess that’s definitely one thing that will never change.
I’m sorry this has been a bit scatty, busy weeks = tired Maddie, but full steam ahead!!
God bless you all! x