I’ve grown up in the church. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t plugged into a church or youth group. I LOVE serving God. He has blessed my life incredibly and I can’t wait to see Him work more in life, but I really want to speak a little from my heart and where I’m coming from when it comes to church, religion and just popularity in general, so please hear me out (If you want).
I have always viewed my walk with Jesus as a walk. I have always struggled to conform to the ‘rules’ of Christianity. This idea that you must live your life a certain way and if you don’t there will be harsh judgment or even shame by ‘Christians.’ It’s almost like religion has put a restriction on Jesus and everything He is capable of doing. If you have all of these ‘rules’ you must live by, and if a fellow follower does something that goes against those ‘rules’ they feel shamed or feel like they are on the outside. I’m a firm believer in Jesus and following Him and what is clearly (ha, sometimes not so clearly) written in the bible. God has given us the bible to help guide us in the world we live in, but I feel sometimes, Christians focus on ‘rules’ and lose sight of one of the most important calls on our lives; to love others over EVERYTHING else. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34. God gave us the commandment of loving one another because He has loved us… but where has the love gone? I have seen and heard of many stories that the second someone makes a mistake in the eyes of the ‘church’ the love is no longer there, why is that?
Does God stop loving us when we make a mistake? I really hope not, because then I would’ve lost God’s love a long time ago. I’ve been working on loving everyone to the fullest capacity that I can. I’m not always the best at this because I am not God, but I’m holding myself to a high standard of trying to love everyone despite what they do. I’ll be very honest and let you in on a fault within myself. I struggle to find love for people who have wronged me (I think we all struggle with this to an extent) but people who have hurt my feelings, I really struggle with finding that love that God has called me too. I have found myself slipping into a place of negativity and hatred and Jesus correcting me and focusing my thoughts on that love. I want to be the kind of person who is rooted in love ALL THE TIME. “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, -” Ephesians 3:17.
I am very thankful to be serving a God who loves me no matter how many mistakes I make, to be serving one that doesn’t make me feel shame or guilt, but instead the feeling of freedom when I come back seeking His love and forgiveness. God sent his only son to pick up that cross so I wouldn’t feel shame, that’s SO cool.
Another thing that has been weighing on my heart recently is popularity within church. I full heartedly believe that people shouldn’t feel like they aren’t cool enough to be apart of a church. I know there are a lot of really cool people out there. I know that some people would say i’m one of those really cool people, but the truth is the actions speak louder than the words. I could shout from the rooftops about how ‘cool’ someone is, but that doesn’t mean that person will feel cool after hanging out with me. I think that sometimes, people can hold the power of popularity. If you don’t get invited to hang out with certain people, post about them on social media or even just talk to them, then you aren’t cool… that’s actual bs.. I don’t want to be apart of a environment where I feel like people are being praised for being cool. I fully agree with giving honor where honor is due, but when it gets to the point where honor is due because they look cool and act cool, that’s not something I want to be apart of. I have left youth groups because of this. I have been apart of youth groups that made me feel SO cool and so accepted in the beginning and then after time i was no longer cool. I’m solely chasing after God. I’m not going to try and conform to another person’s view of what’s cool to fit into a church, I’m going to continue to hear from the Lord and do what His will for my life is. I am not trying to call anyone out or make anyone feel attacked and if you read this and felt attacked by it personally, please message me about it because I am not calling anyone out personally, I’m just putting what has been on my heart out there for people to see the real things i have been struggling with recently (and throughout my entire church journey). I knew that deciding to write this and the possibility of posting it could create really hard conversations, but I am willing to have those because I want it to be known. I know i’m not the only person who feels this way,or has felt this way at some point during their journey with church. I love the church and youth group I have been apart of for all this time and can’t wait to see all the things God does within both and within me.
Let’s keep focusing on listening, pursing and serving God and He won’t lead us astray. Be rooted and established in love always. Thank you for reading and listening to my heart.
With love and all that, Bannah Hurley.