Bailey speaks to us about how there is no hierarchy of sins, how Paul called out the early church on things that are still relevant today, waiting in peace, and how nature and fellowship amplify how we feel God’s presence.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
I love the verse above because God is speaking through Isaiah to talk to His disobedient children. He is pleading with them to just stop running from Him, listen, and admit that they need help. Isaiah reassures the people of Jerusalem that God will be gracious when they cry out for help, and more than that, He will guide their path saying, “this is the way; walk in it.”
I am not in a season of rebellion, but I am in a season that is confusing and uncomfortable, and I often cry out to God, waiting for Him to tell me whether to turn to the right or the left.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Servanthood. I grew up serving in a multitude of ministries at my local church. Now that I am an adult and have since phased out of many of my regular serving positions, I am learning what it means to serve God’s people outside of the church. Every person we encounter in a day is a child of God. How can I treat every person I encounter like the precious creation that they are? How can I die to myself so that another person comes to know the love of Christ?
“Every person we encounter in a day is a child of God.”
Profession: I am freshly graduated from college, so I am currently blogging full-time and doing free-lance work as a web design consultant and social media strategist.
A one sentence bio of yourself: Overly serious lover of coffee, Kyle, and Christ Almighty (in order of least to greatest, obviously).
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him?: I first encountered God when I was really young. So young, in fact, that I can hardly remember the exact age I was. I do know for certain that I committed my life to the Lord around age six. It was a beautiful summer evening, I was dancing around in my backyard, and I prayed that God would become the boss of my life and forgive my sins. I was a little too young to fully grasp just what it was that I was asking of the Lord, but He was faithful. A sense of peace and delight washed over me and I have had a keen sense ever since of God’s presence in my life. Since dedicating my life to the Lord I have encountered Him in radical ways that reaffirm His realness in my life every time.
Growing up, I always encountered God most vibrantly at church camps or retreats. There is something about being immersed in the mountains, good fellowship, and amazing worship that amplifies the presence of God.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Recently, I have been stuck in a season of waiting. I thought I would graduate college, get married, start climbing the corporate ladder, and become an overnight success. God had different plans. Learning to listen, obey, and trust God has been a huge point of spiritual growth. I make time EVERY DAY to open up my Bible, spend time studying the Word, and I try to allow myself at least 5 minutes of absolute, concentrated silence.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. This book is chalk full of insights about the Christian faith. So far, I have been most impressed with the chapter eight. This chapter explores the intellectual debate about God’s existence.
My favorite thing about this chapter is the fact that we will never be able to fully convince ourselves or others of the existence of God. For every argument of God’s existence there is a counterargument. To me, this is a fascinating testament of God’s might, mystery and glory. He is such a magnificent being that we will not totally know the intimate details of his essence and creation until we meet Him for ourselves. What I have learned is that faith is a huge component of our walk, duh. But more than that, we can relieve ourselves of the pressure to know all of the facts, memorize all of the arguments, and insistent on being advocates of absolute truth and knowledge. If you, like me, chose a major in science, you will really enjoy this book, especially chapter eight.
Top three essentials: Is the Bible too cliché? The Bible, coffee, and the right eyebrow pencil.
How did God speak to you recently? I am in a season of silence from God. He isn’t speaking clearly, loudly, or directly. I recently got on my knees and begged Him to speak to me. The only thing I distinctly heard was, “wait.” That still, small voice that is so easily missed in chaos of life reassured me to wait, and overwhelmed me with peace.
“The only thing I distinctly heard was, ‘wait.’”
Hobby: I love writing, running, reading, and doing puzzles. Of all those things, puzzles are my favorite, but writing is a close second.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1. Silence. You must find time to be silent and learn to pause everything while you connect with your creator. Make time to be silent for at least 5 minutes every day. Try setting a timer if you struggle with how and when to be silent.
2. Do not become insensitive to the nudges of the spirit. Are you gossiping and suddenly feel a flutter in your heart telling you to stop? Don’t be insensitive to that flutter. See and old person struggling to get their groceries into their car when you feel a nudge to go and help? Don’t be insensitive to that nudge. When we routinely ignore the nudges of the spirit we become insensitive. Just as you go to the gym to keep your muscles strong, respond to the prompts of the spirit to keep your spiritual game strong!
3. Know your spiritual gifts and exercise them. God equipped each of us with unique talents, skills, and affinities. If you aren’t sure what your spiritual gifts are read 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. Once you have read those passages take an online assessment. I would encourage everyone to take at least 3 different assessments and see how closely each test result is related. Whatever your top through spiritual gifts are, you must find outlets to plug them into! This is a great way to stay spiritually strong and celebrate the gifts God has equipped you with.
Favorite person in scripture? Besides Jesus, it is so hard to choose! I really enjoy the Old Testament, and I adore the writings of David and Solomon. I love the stories of powerful women like Esther and Ruth. But I also love Paul and his ruthless teaching. He sort of calls out the early Christian church on a lot of things that I think are still so relevant today! If I had to choose, I think I would say David. He was such a powerful young man, set apart and bold. But David wasn’t without fault. He was this incredible king. An exuberant worshipper. A fearsome warrior AND an adulterer. Woah. David inspires me. David’s story is proof that we can be incredible people. Amazing advocates for the kingdom, and still so fallible. None of us is invincible. We all need a savior and David’s story is so convincing of that.
“He (Paul) sort of calls out the early Christian church on a lot of things that I think are still so relevant today!”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to learn that redemption exists in many different forms. Like I said above, all of us are in need of a Savior. Even those of us who have been walking with God for years. We all fall short of the glory, but God can redeem anything and anyone. I hope that people who knew me in my teenage years now see a girl who has been redeemed. She’s grown up, she’s rooted her identity in Christ, and she isn’t afraid to admit that she used to be a bully. I hope that others will be inspired by my story to seek the same kind of redemption that I sought when I was at my lowest.
“God can redeem anything and anyone.”
Favorite season? I love fall. Warm, thick sweaters, scarves and socks. Moody weather. Colorful leaves. I love the changing of summer into fall. I was born in October though, so I think I might be biased.
Favorite holiday? Probably Easter. I am not a huge fan of holidays but I can get behind any day that is designated to celebrating the resurrection of Christ. I have recently become overwhelmed with the commercialization of holidays in America, so it is hard to choose one that is still an authentically Christian celebration, if that makes sense.
A dream you have? I dream of being a successful entrepreneur. My ideal day consists of coaching, blogging, networking, and bringing others to the love of Christ through the work I produce. Could there be anything better than that?
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: My husband and I have kept up the tradition of traveling to a small town in Montana every 4th of July. Of all the traditions we held growing up, this is the one my husband and I have endeavored to keep alive. We hit the road early, watch a local parade, and then have a barbeque style lunch before fireworks kick-off.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? This one stumps me. I am honestly just so excited to get to heaven! I always have been. I suspect I will want to know where my family is or why I wasn’t called to heaven sooner. For now, I am just fixated on the excitement of witnessing God’s glory and perfection.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I want to tread lightly on this subject because there are theologians out there who might disagree with me, but I do wish more people realized that all sin is equal. Sin is sin. Just because your sin looks different than your neighbor doesn’t mean one of you should be judged more severely than the other. You know what I mean? Our cultural has designated some sins as more deadly than others and that simply isn’t biblical. Whether you struggle with substance abuse, sexuality, promiscuity, gossip, or gluttony, God is equally grieved by all acts of sin. Some sin just has more tangible adverse reactions. Simply put, sin is sin and we can do ourselves and our communities a favor by seeking to love and understand or neighbor despite their sin, instead of condemning them for an act of sin that we see as more deadly than our own (Mathew 7:1-2).
“I do wish more people realized that all sin is equal. Sin is sin.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? As of late, I have been rolling out of bed around 7 a.m., I go to the kitchen for some coffee, I make breakfast and I settle in for devotionals and quiet time. Then I begin my work day at home.
What is on your nightstand? On my night stand you will find a picture of my husband and I, from our dating days and whatever book I am currently reading. As of right now, The Reason for God and The Power of a Praying Wife are on my nightstand.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Living a life that recognizes the power of the God who created the universe, the death and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus, and answers the call to seek and save the lost.
For more Bailey:
Until next time, keep witnessing!