Playing by the Rules {Growing Up in a Christian Home}

7:51 AM

A picture where I attempt a self portrait that turns out more like a mug-shot haha. 

Hola readers!
A lot of my life (especially as a child) I struggled with feeling broken and I wondered why. I did all the right things: I listened to Christian music, watched Christian movies, read Christian get the point. Why was I hurting so deeply?
I realize now that a lot of it had to do with how seriously I was taking my relationship with Christ (not). I was doing all I was supposed to, playing by the rules, but my heart wasn't into it. I watched all Christian movies, listened to all Christian music, because my parents did, and some were great - amazing. I fell in love with Courageous, found out about Switchfoot, read Christy Miller, kissed dating goodbye, and all that good stuff.  We played Klove while we made supper, I never listened to rock music, I never wore skinny jeans or cussed. I was a perfect Christian girl.

Or so it seemed.

Inside I was falling apart. And you've heard the story, I'm sure. I've posted about it on here - I struggled with self-hate, sometimes wondered about death and really had a dark outlook on life. Yet, I continued to read my Bible, pray and journal about God.
What was wrong? Shouldn't I have been OK? Why was I hurting if I was praying and reading my Bible like a good little girl? Shouldn't that have "fixed" me?

No. It shouldn't.

While I had the idea of reading my Bible, of listening to encouraging music, of watching good-for-you-movies and none of this was bad, I didn't realize how I was actually not "following God with all my heart". I was following my parents' faith and their convictions - what they believed. I was too young to make decisions on my own - what is good to watch, listen to, what language I should be using, etc, etc, but  still, I didn't know Jesus. Not really.
And the older I got I continued with that cycle of feeling off of my parents' faith, up until about the age of fourteen when I began to see things change, when I truly sought God's will. When I realized I wanted to be a Christian because I loved Jesus with all my heart - not because my parents were Christians and expected me to follow their rules.

Again, there's nothing wrong with obeying your parents. This is a huge commandment from the Bible that needs to be obeyed as a child, but the tricky part comes the older you get, especially around the age of thirteen is making sure you're following for all the right reasons. If you take a good look at your life, why are you actually watching good movies? Why don't you curse? Why aren't you having sex before marriage? Why? Is it because you've grown up knowing "it's wrong" or because you're truly seeking God and He's convicting your heart?
As a Christian who grew up in a Christian home, I sometimes find myself doing things that are opposite of how I grew up with. And sometimes it's OK - I feel that God is giving me the OK and other times I need to pray and make sure that He really is fine with wearing skinny jeans, watching secular TV (sometimes with profanity), or listening to One Republic.
As a Christian who's grown up in a Christian home, I think it's time for a reality check. I don't mean rebel, suddenly change and dye your hair purple simply because you want to prove to your peers you're your own person.
I mean, redefine your life as a Christian. Make sure you're following for all the right reasons. Make sure you're really following Jesus or just simply feeding off the faith of someone else.
For me I quickly realized how hypocritical I'd become. I only did "Christian stuff" because my parents did - not because I felt convicted. Not because I was following Jesus. I realized that I did everything "Christian" because I felt like I was expected to and it made me look good.
That doesn't mean I need to change drastically. It means I need to get down on my knees and ask Jesus where He wants me to change, to mold my heart to mirror His.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

I don't need to do "all things Christian" to be a follower of Jesus. That does nothing for my spiritual life if that's all I'm doing. I need to mirror Jesus - to learn to stand in front of people and be a reflection (even if it's just a glimpse) of His perfect love, grace, and forgiveness without bounds. 
He is my Lord and Savior and everything I do needs to be because I believe it and am a follower of Christ, not a weak imitation of anyone else's convictions. 

Side note: I could go on and on about this. Be on the lookout for a post titled somewhere around the lines "Taking Off The Mask of The Church" sometime next week. We're a broken generation, a broken world and I want to focus on that in the upcoming post! 

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4 of your thoughts

    I think thats a big issue for people who grow up in the church. they're surprised when all these things arent making them feel better, even though they're just going through the motions. and people fear this stage in their faith a lot because its when we doubt and wrestle with God. but those times in our lives are the most impactful.
    I loved what you said about redefining your Christian life. because thats so true. Im so glad you were able to look at all that in your life and come to the conclusion that you did. thats beautiful.

    and Im SO looking forward to that next post. it sounds amazing. these are honestly things Ive been thinking about a lot and could never find the words to blog about. so thank you for saying all the things that I never could.

    you're amazing.

    1. Aww thank you Faith! I'm glad I was able to find the words my heart so desperately wanted to get out. That stage of redefining my faith was and is definitely a scary time for me, especially because I felt like I was rebelling or doing something wrong, when actually for the first time I was really longing to follow Jesus with all my heart and not just (as you said) going through the motions.
      Thank you for being such an encouragement to me!

  2. This was such a convicting post, Kara! Thank you so much for writing it. It's true how we so easily do "good" things out of habit and not with with real love for the Lord or a desire to serve Him. You said this so well!
    God bless!
    ~ S. F.

    1. Yes exactly S.F - sometimes "doing the right thing" can come so naturally to us that we forgot why we're even doing it in the first place.
      God bless you too dear friend!


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