How to Strengthen Your Faith

How to Strengthen Your Faith

Even though, they may work for me they may not work for you! But that is okay! These are just my ways.
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Have you ever sat down, as a Christian woman, and thought about how hard it is to be strong? I sometimes find it hard to get up in the morning and look in the mirror and truly believe that I am made in the image of Christ with my droopy eyes, grey skin covered in acne, and the wildest hair. But we ARE made in the image of Christ are we not? He even tells us so. So how do we do it?

I asked my friend Amber how she kept strong in her faith one day while I was sitting in her dorm. She looked to the left of her and stared at what I thought was space, but in reality, she was looking on her bed frame at a sticky note she had stuck upon it. It read " Don't Let Faith Give Way To Fear". We then started talking about how much of a struggle being in college and pursuing the career God planned for us to take was intimidating at times. In a sense I realized how much faith it must take for Amber to become a nurse with all of the crazy classes she has to take. The conversation we had that late afternoon showed me that we can not let fear overtake our faith. We need to stand strong and lean on God in our weary times rather than run away and hide.

There are endless ways to stay strong in our faith to Jesus, but in this article, I am going to explain to you what helps me in my walk.

One of the ways that helps me stay strong is my group of Godly women. Starting every Sunday morning at 10 am I would drive to do a group devotional in my pajamas (bless this opportunity) where I would sit with, on a regular day, about seven women and we would talk, study our bibles, and pray over one another. This helped me a ton because not only did I get to start off my week great and pointed towards Christ, but I got to create a bond with women older and younger than me. I no longer get the chance to go as often to these groups ( but that is because I am now a Sunday school teacher within the church that we had these devotionals) but I still remain extremely close with all of them ( I mean we do go to the same church so it is easy to do so , praise God) and talk to them all the time. I believe that if I did not get the opportunity to create relationships with Godly women like themselves, I would feel alone and my relationship with Christ would not have grown as much as it has. These women pushed me and encouraged me and they definitely have influenced my life. So if you get any thing from this, I would want it to be that surrounding yourself with Godly women, or Godly people, definitely helps remain strong in your faith.

Another thing that I have done, or in this instance, changed, is what I listen to. I have found that when I listen to worship music all the time, not only am I in a better mood, but that I truly worship God a lot more. My favorite thing to do is to go for a drive by myself at the crack of dawn when the world is starting to wake up with my favorite worship music turned all the way up and i just scream sing and cry tears of love, joy, or hurt. If you have not found any Christian artists that you like, here is a list of my favorites:

1. Hillsong United

2. Bethel Music

3. Elevation Worship

4. Lauren Daigle

5.NF

6. Crowder

7. NEEDTOBREATHE

8.Passion

9. Switchfoot

10. Tenth Avenue North

11. for KING & COUNTRY

I truly hope that you found the positive change in your mood, your day, and your life like I have.

One of the last things (not really) I do, is pray or talk to God. I have conversations with him like he is right in front of me, a tangible human. I do this a lot, and some people may think its cliche, but for me it truly works. I find that if I speak to him throughout my day, God seems to become a priority and the focus of everything I do. Whether I am struggling or succeeding, I talk to him about my days or my worries, or give him praise. Talking to him throughout my day has become like an instinct, or a healthy habit, and makes my day easier. So if you see me walking by myself and it looks like I am talking to no one, just know that I am talking to someone, the Lord.

These seem like simple tasks, but having them incorporated into my every day life has made my days go by better and fulfilled. There has been no greater joy for me then being able to become close to God every single day and have him provide me guidance and strength through whatever trial I am in. Having these ways helps me take the focus off of myself, and give it all to him. It helps me see the better picture and reminds me of my purpose to live for him. It challenges me to put unnecessary things aside and to put him in the place of importance. God is so ready to start a relationship with each and everyone of us, and creating that bridge, for me, has been the greatest decisions I have made. It is so prominent. So even if it is hard to believe that your a God's child, or that you have a purpose bigger than you could even dream, do not be fearful. Take the risk and trust. Trust God.





Cover Image Credit: Amber Myers

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Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip

No haters are going to bring me down.
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With Coachella officially over, lives can go back to normal and we can all relive Beyonce’s performance online for years to come. Or, if you were like me and actually there, you can replay the experience in your mind for the rest of your life, holding dear to the memories of an epic weekend and a cultural experience like no other on the planet.

And I want to be clear about the Beyonce show: it really was that good.

But with any big event beloved by many, there will always be the haters on the other side. The #nochella’s, the haters of all things ‘Chella fashion. And let me just say this, the flower headbands aren’t cultural appropriation, they’re simply items of clothing used to express the stylistic tendency of a fashion-forward event.

Because yes, the music, and sure, the art, but so much of what Coachella is, really, is about the fashion and what you and your friends are wearing. It's supposed to be fun, not political! Anyway, back to the main point of this.

One of the biggest things people love to hate on about Coachella is the fact that many of the attendees have their tickets bought for them by their parents.

Sorry? It’s not my fault that my parents have enough money to buy their daughter and her friends the gift of going to one of the most amazing melting pots of all things weird and beautiful. It’s not my fault about your life, and it’s none of your business about mine.

All my life, I’ve dealt with people commenting on me, mostly liking, but there are always a few that seem upset about the way I live my life.

One time, I was riding my dolphin out in Turks and Cacaos, (“riding” is the act of holding onto their fin as they swim and you sort of glide next to them. It’s a beautiful, transformative experience between human and animal and I really think, when I looked in my dolphin’s eye, that we made a connection that will last forever) and someone I knew threw shade my way for getting to do it.

Don’t make me be the bad guy.

I felt shame for years after my 16th birthday, where my parents got me an Escalade. People at school made fun of me (especially after I drove into a ditch...oops!) and said I didn’t deserve the things I got in life.

I can think of a lot of people who probably don't deserve the things in life that they get, but you don't hear me hating on them (that's why we vote, people). Well, I’m sick of being made to feel guilty about the luxuries I’m given, because they’ve made me who I am, and I love me.

I’m a good person.

I’m not going to let the Coachella haters bring me down anymore. Did my parents buy my ticket and VIP housing? Yes. Am I sorry about that? Absolutely not.

Sorry, not sorry!

Cover Image Credit: Kaycie Allen

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You're Never Alone When You Have God And Tacos

I'm sharing with you my struggles in the hopes they can help someone who's in a similar patch.
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"Wait, so you didn't grab tacos last night?"

"Haha, no. I decided not to go."

"Why?"

"I didn't want to go alone."

"You wouldn't be alone. You'd have God. And tacos!"

Little did my friend know, but that conversation became the rope that pulled me out of the deep funk I had been in for the past day. In fact, later that evening at the local Applebee's, I laughed and realized to my surprise that I had just laughed for the first time in 24 hours!

What got me? What was it that pushed me into this stink-hole anyway?

As I look back, I realize that this hole had been deepening for a while, beginning the middle of March. Then, the week after Spring Break, after desperately searching for a taco buddy, a thought entered my head.

"You are completely, and utterly alone."

Those words were the just the shove I needed to send me tumbling down.

You see, I don't mind being alone. In fact, sometimes I crave it! Despite being a non-stop chatterbox, I need my quiet space to recharge my energy! However, the feeling of isolation is different because even when I take time for myself, I know I'm not truly alone. On the other hand, the feeling of isolation sends the feeling that you're stuck in your loneliness.

To be honest, I had never felt this way so strongly before. It's a devastating feeling, a feeling that I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemies.

After almost a month, I'm joyful to say that I'm on the up-and-up! As I look back on the last four weeks, I can look back with clear vision and say that THOSE words were a thought bomb planted by Satan himself.

Satan is looking for any and every way possible to separate us and get us alone. Like a wolf separating a sheep from the rest of the herd, Satan knows that once he has us alone, we're much easier to prey upon.

As I've been fighting The Funk, I've watched in amazement how God has walked with me, step by step. Take the time I opened my Bible for the first time in months and read in my own handwriting on the cover page, "Through God's strength and grace, I am never alone." How about the time I was visiting a friend at her college and came across a poster which stated the power of fellowship when we're feeling lonely? These are just a few samples of the reminders God's been giving to me!

As I've been fighting The Funk, I've learned that my secret weapon is running after God and pursuing Him with no hold-back. Reading His word brings such peace in my life; it's a weapon I wish I had learned much earlier in my life!

One of my favorite verses during this trial has been Psalm 23:

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

I was apprehensive to share my battle here. I was afraid of the comments I would get. "Oh Elyssa! I'm here for ya girrrrrrrrrrl!"

I'm not sharing this with you to gain sympathy. Rather, I'm sharing with you my struggles in the hopes they can help someone who's in a similar patch. As Christians, we should share both our joys and our struggles. By sharing our battles, we can learn and grow from one another!

On that note, if you're traveling through The Funk like I have been, know that this isn't the end, and that you're not alone in your alone-ness. We have tons of friends and loved ones who are holding us up, not to mention our Heavenly Father!

Now, grab your Bible, jump in your car, and go buy yourself a taco, because when we have God and tacos, we're never alone.

Cover Image Credit: Jon Pettyjohn

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