Faith & Fear

Politics, mommyhood, personal issues?  I'll talk about those things all day to a total stranger, but mention my feelings about God and my faith in front of an acquaintance and my heart skips a beat.

Outside of the safety of church or my Bible study, God has become a four letter word in my vocabulary.  I often feel my cheeks turning red and my palms start to sweat if 'God' slips out in a conversation.  Did they just hear me say that word?  Are they judging me right now?

Over the past several weeks my Bible study has been looking into our own insecurities and I realized that this is a major insecurity of mine.  I am always afraid that I will somehow offend someone over my faith or come off as judgmental of those who don't think the way that I do.  I shouldn't have this fear of hurting others by simply expressing my feelings about the G word.  Really, what is there to lose?  If someone disagrees with me, it should lead to insightful discussion and not end in unspoken judgement.  People have a right to have their own beliefs and follow whichever religion they choose.  I have a right to have my own beliefs.

I have been going through this struggle of going to church and reading the Bible because that's just what you are supposed to do.  Kind of like studying for a test.  Bible study homework on Saturday after putting Ellington to bed. Church on Sunday.  Bible study with some loving women on Sunday night.  Then, it's back to reality and God gets pushed to the back of my to-do list until Saturday night again.  I suddenly realized that, though I call myself a Christian, I was only letting God into my life for brief moments when it was convenient for me.  In other words, I was only a 'hearer' of God's word and really I was only hearing God on Sunday.  

After discussing this struggle and fear with a friend, she gave me some very good advice.  These are her words:

     I have to admit that I struggle with the same thing most days. I worry about what other people think of me...
that they will think I'm a "fruitcake" or just a zealot. But, I have to remember that it only matters what God 
thinks of me. I have also thought about it in this context. Think about something that you love. For guys, 
a lot of times it's sports. For women, I could see it being our children. Or even while we were dating, perhaps all
 we could think about was our boyfriend (now husbands:). If I was talking to a friend or acquaintance about 
life and catching up, I would have no problem talking about my child. I would talk about things that my child
 and I do together, new things they're learning, and how I'm connecting with my child as a parent. Through my 
conversation with my friend or acquaintance, it would be absolutely obvious how much I love my child. 

Translate that to our faith. If God is a god that we love, shouldn't that be apparent to others If we didn't want to 
talk about Him all the time or never mentioned His name, wouldn't you (and others) wonder if you really loved Him? 
That is a very difficult thing for me to tell myself. I am trying to remember the last conversation I had with someone
 that didn't mention my child...those are few and far between. Now, if I try to remember the last time I mentioned 
God in a conversation...certainly not enough.

When was the last time you mentioned your god or your faith in a conversation?  I am determined to do this more because 'It only matters what God thinks of me' after all and more discussion about faith is never a bad thing, right?