I started out the summer with an amazing camp experience that revitalized my faith and instilled a passion in me to live my life with God at the core and in everything that I do. But when prayers felt unanswered and I felt alone again, isolated from the mass of Christ followers at camp, I began to realize that I had no idea what it looked like to have Christ at the center anymore.
What happens when you need to press reset and rediscover faith?
The transition from adolescence to adulthood contains challenges that change our character and our viewpoints. Often times our faith can get stuck in our childhood perspectives that don't match up with our more adult-like experiences and trials.
So what do we do when our spirituality no longer matches the demands that we face in the world (spiritually, emotionally, relationally)?
Answer, we have to press Reset and start all over again (well maybe not completely). However, there comes a time to reevaluate our faith, Jesus' place in our lives, and what it looks like to live in faith. We can only last so long when we hold faith in one hand but see a world that conflicts with the views of God we once held in the other.
For example, where do we turn when we learn about evolution, predestination, the big bang, etc. etc.
What about when we experience heart ache for the first time and witness the unfathomable tragedies that occur everyday in the world. How do we answer the question of "How could a loving God?"
Taking the time to open your bible again or crack open a devotional could help, but there are some other solutions too. (Not that I am anywhere near an expert.. but I am trying these things out on my own and learning as I go.)
1. Pick up books about your questions... there are TONS. And I mean TONS of books on how God is good in the midst of pain, the journey of non believers to understanding Christ, and how evolution is not a scientific fact.
2. Find others who are learning and discovering a new faith too.... small groups and new believers bible studies can help re- explore the roots of faith and your faith when it feels that your spirituality is out of sync with the rest of your life.
3. Drown yourself in the truth of God, if a direct approach of Bible reading or devotion time is not the way for you yet, then saturating yourself with as much of God's truth is a worth while route.
-Christian music only.... or at least listen first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. You will be amazed at how listening to God's promises through song can help shift your perspective towards the day and give you a blissful night sleep.
- Write reminders to yourself of the truths of God that you most need to hear and remember, and place them in places you will see them multiple times a day (on the walls of your bedroom, bathroom mirror, binder cover, car dashboard, computer/phone lock screen, etc.)
4. One word.... Apologetics. My view is that this is the link between the world's views and our faith. It helps make sense of how our faith fits within the world and what it teaches without undermining scripture. Apologetics address our intellectual difficulties to accept our spiritual beliefs. (videos and blogs available online)
5. Surround yourself with people and places that will remind you of God's glory and magnificent purpose for your life.
Taking the time to revisit old friends. youth pastors, small group leaders, and family members that will support your walk with Christ is important so you can remember that there is a society of believers who will walk and support you in this journey of rediscovery.
I've found that visiting nature at least once a week also helps keep me aware that I am not in control of my situations, and God is still the ultimate despite what I see happening in life around me. With paved streets and tall buildings, all I may see in a day may be "created" by man... but under the surface of everything is the magnificent craftsmanship of God's hand.
See the little glories in the nature of a park or garden can help remind me of that.
I may "know" that Jesus Christ is my one and only salvation and have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, but I want to know how I can stand strong in that faith and allow it to transform me for His will in the midst of the challenges I now face in the world.
Resetting your faith is not a bad thing, sometimes it is important to bridge the gap that time and maturity has made between you and your understanding of God. As we grow, so must our understanding of Him. Through His grace he can transform and restore our faith and grow it stronger so we can better understand His will and love for us.