What Influences Your Faith?

Journey with Natalie in her quest for religious influence.

Our faith can come from different paths but all are provided by God. Image Credit: By pixelheadphoto digitalskillet on shutterstock.

So I’ve been thinking lately about my Christianity and what shaped my faith throughout my life. Certainly, my parents, grandparents, extended family, and the believing adult friends of my parents got me started down the path to a personal relationship with Jesus. I accepted Christ at four years old and loved Him for all my childhood years. Church and Christian school also helped form my faith. Biblical instruction put a body of knowledge around the heart for Jesus I already had.

I then walked away from God during my teen years and spent a decade without reading the Bible, spending time with other Christians, praying, and ignoring the beliefs I knew I had. I wanted to be in control and make my own choices with God’s disapproval or the rules I felt He wanted me to follow.

Returning to a Life of Faith

In my late 20s, I realized my way of doing things sucked. I divorced my first husband. He suffered from addictions and anger issues and liked to be with other women. He did not want to be married. I did. I was the first one to bring divorce into my family line, and it devastated me. In my anguish, I cried out to God. I heard and felt Him instantly.

I surrendered control of the messy life I made. I gave it right back to Christ. He accepted it graciously and healed my heart. He gave me a new life. I have loved Him with a passion since. I work hard to follow Him, stay in fellowship, continue to learn, and grow in my faith.

But life is still hard. Children don’t always choose to live up to their potential, and that grieves your heart. Friends and family members die. Cancer strikes. Bankruptcy pulls the rug out from under you. Tragedies and catastrophes happen all the time – some global, some right in your own home.

Still, I choose to love God and believe that He is good. I seek His wisdom by reading His Word. But I have questions.

Spiritual Clotheslines – Hanging Up Your Questions

I have a friend who once told me that she has a “spiritual clothesline.” When life throws a curveball and she doesn’t understand, she asks God for the answer. She then hangs that question up on her (metaphorical) spiritual clothesline. When He gives her an answer, she takes it down. Some of her questions and prayer requests come down right away. Some have been hanging there for years. They might be there until she gets to heaven.

I have questions for God. I bet you do too. I think that is exactly the definition of supernatural. If God is God – supernatural – and we are only natural, we will not be able to fully understand. Not until our eyes are opened when we meet Him face to face. That’s where the faith part comes in. I love the hope I feel when I remember 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV), which says:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

The glass I look through is old, smudged, maybe even cracked. And the older I get, the more I realize how much my faith is not as pure, as “direct from God” as I thought it was. It is murky, as much on my part as on God’s.

I am much more influenced by people, by media, and even by my country’s core tenets than I realize or care to admit. How much of my gospel is God, and how much is actually what’s around me?

Questioning Yourself – What Is Impacting Your Beliefs?

Let me give you a couple of examples. I grew up believing that Jesus loves me and died for me. He came to save me from my sin. I still believe that. But somehow, from the disapproving Sunday school teachers and the warnings of scolding parents, I also got the impression that God was a fun-killer. He laid down the rules. I was expected to follow them. Period. And the rules were no fun.

My Old Testament God and New Testament Jesus were definitely not one-and-the-same. Yet they are a trinity. Three-in-one. Like the three forms of water – ice, water, and steam. Three forms. One substance. God loves me. Jesus loves me. Both want the best for me, because they are one.

I also never realized how much my nationalism clashes with my Christianity. I grew up in America. I am American. Taught to be self-made, able to achieve anything I put my mind to. We are this motley crew of people who believe in personal freedom above all else. The American Dream is to accumulate all the wealth you can and have fun spending it on yourself.

Yet God calls me to be last to be first. To be the least in order to be the greatest. To empty myself so He can fill me, and to give what I have to others before I give it to myself. When I strive so hard to achieve, to prove that I can “Just Do It,” without asking God first if I am headed in the right direction, how much of my thought patterns are American vs. godly?

Western Thinking or God-Directed Decisions?

What does all this have to do with God’s Greenery? At God’s Greenery, we are on a journey to explore natural wellness, health, and wholeness. I want every visitor to this site to experience optimal health in their body, their minds, their emotions, and their spirits. They all work together. If any part of you is sick, it keeps the rest of you from functioning at its peak. We are here to thoughtfully discover the ways CBD can be part of our paths well traveled.

When I first heard of CBD, I dismissed it immediately. No way, Jose, was I going to use something that was lumped into the same plant family as pot. Was not going to happen. Then I began to hear stories, so many stories, of the benefits my own friends found when using it. They slept better. They overcame PTSD. Their kid’s seizures stopped. Their anxiety levels went down. My curiosity was peaked.

That led to my inner questions. And the examination of my beliefs. I realized I have developed a trust, a faith, in western medicine. Doctors, pills, antibiotics, checkups those are all part of my American life. Somehow that equated to me that those practices equal taking care of myself and my family in the best way. But manufactured does not equal healthy. We are discovering every day that what God designs is better than what man makes. The Creator of the universe designed the hemp plant. He filled it with chemicals that don’t need to be altered to give health benefits. That’s better than some medicines that help one condition while causing others.

I have no idea what goes into the pills I take, the antibiotics I have given my kids over the years. I do know some medicines have terrible side effects. That the cure may be worse than the illness. So today I question. And I am learning. Growing. Discovering.

CBD oil is part of that discovery process. It doesn’t get you high. It is not marijuana. God made it. Time for me to rethink and realign. How about you?

Natalie Gillespie

Natalie Gillespie

Natalie Gillespie is an author, journalist and editor who has published more than 2,000 articles in the last 20 years in magazines and websites such as HomeLife, Guideposts.com, and Publishers Weekly.

You can reach Natalie with article ideas, personal testimonies, theological thoughts, or just to say “hello” at [email protected]
Natalie Gillespie
Natalie Gillespie
Natalie Gillespie
Natalie Gillespie is an author, journalist and editor who has published more than 2,000 articles in the last 20 years in magazines and websites such as HomeLife, Guideposts.com, and Publishers Weekly. You can reach Natalie with article ideas, personal testimonies, theological thoughts, or just to say “hello” at [email protected]

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