coward or Christian?

My friend Annie‘s new book, Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have, came out a few weeks ago.
As I was reading it, I had to stop and text her about something I was so convicted of while reading it.
and from then on, I read the book through that conviction.

In the time I was reading it, I went on a hike that ended up with me staying as far ahead of everyone else as I could so I could cry and pray and look like a crazy person.

I poured my heart out to God about this conviction, which is really an opportunity I don’t know what to do with. I started telling him what I saw to be the cost of pursuing it – what I would lose, who I would hurt, what I would risk. Then I started telling God what I saw to be the cost of abandoning it – what I would lose, who I would hurt, what I would risk.

and then the Holy Spirit cleaned out the ears of my heart and I heard deep in my soul this question:

Well, Stephanie… What do YOU want?

Which made me start crying EVEN MORE. Because you know what I want? I want to take that opportunity. So I said it. Outloud. and God pointed out that he had PAVED A WAY for me to take that opportunity.

I have been so quiet in my spirit since that moment, because I realized that I have spent my whole life thinking that being a Christian meant worrying about how my actions affect other people. Seriously, I don’t post on Facebook without filtering it through a few key people on my friends list and thinking how they would respond to it. I agree to plans that other people initiate because I wonder how saying “no thanks” would affect them, with no concern to myself.

and it hit me that maybe what I’ve thought was living a Christian life… is really living a COWARD life. It puts the dreams and emotions and feelings of others as the primary function of life.. often at the cost of pursuing my own things, which seems holy but really is just a sissy thing.

I was practicing the book of Philippians {which I’m trying to memorize.. wish me luck} and I got caught on the verse that says:

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

NOT ONLY. It doesn’t say “Each of you shouldn’t look to your own interests, just the interests of others.” It says that my interests are just as important as the interests of others. It’s like the “love your neighbor as yourself” thing. If you don’t love yourself, you’re gonna pull your neighbor down to your pit of misery instead of having a healthy view of yourself and pulling them up to your stable self-image.

Every moment, my feelings towards what I will do change. Some days I cry with excitement because I am going to take this opportunity… other days I cry with sorrow for even considering abandoning what I have. I am all in, and then I am all out. Hot then cold, yes then no. In then out, up then down.. you know, like the Katy Perry song.

My prayer for myself  is that no matter what I choose, that I would make the decision bravely and not disguising my cowardice as Christian living. and I pray that for all of you, too. That you would not hide behind the proper, approved church life, living in the outward shell of a Christian while your God-given dreams lay stagnant. I bet those sleeping dreams make God more sad than the people who have to keep repenting for the mistakes they have made while bringing theirs to life.

ps this is the book, when I first started reading it and before the conviction hit me so I didn’t even know it was coming.

Photo on 7-19-14 at 11.32 AM #4


  1. Joy
    July 29, 2014 / 10:26 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I pray you are brave and I pray that I will learn to be brave too.

  2. July 29, 2014 / 11:37 am

    um. beautiful, beautiful thoughts!! thank you for sharing – you are such an encouragement to me!

  3. July 31, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    you are so articulate about what God is doing in your life, and it’s hugely encouraging to hear your insight on following him! my favorite line of this post is “That you would not hide behind the proper, approved church life, living in the outward shell of a Christian while your God-given dreams lay stagnant”…sooo powerful, stephanie! it’s so easy to be a “safe” christian, and harder to live life according to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

    (i found your blog after you did the Q&A over at Robyn’s Nest)

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