Today, Katie speaks to us about Christian involvement in politics, the Church’s role in justice and thoughts on God’s timing.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: Throughout my childhood, I grew up outside of Charlotte, NC, where I attended a Christian school from kindergarten to my senior year of high school, so Christianity had influenced me from a very young age. Throughout this time, I was always involved in leadership throughout student government and participated in the band. Outside of that, I constantly tried to pursue something that would fulfill my desire to help others. Getting involved in the political realm at 16, I wanted to do something that both glorified God and made a difference in the world. My parents, as well as a few teachers, really taught me the importance of putting God first throughout my life, especially when it comes to my values.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9.
This passage has been the Scripture that I try to live by each day. So often, one of the hardest things for me to understand is seeing how so many Christians haven’t spoken out about serious injustices throughout the world. The Church has such an important in the world to raise their voice about important issues. In my life, especially after the overturning of Roe v Wade, the Church must speak up for the millions of babies who haven’t had the opportunity to speak for themselves while fighting for the rights of these beautiful children of God.
“So often, one of the hardest things for me to understand is seeing how so many Christians haven’t spoken out about serious injustices throughout the world. The Church has such an important in the world to raise their voice about important issues.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: At this current moment, the focus I currently have is to find patience and joy for the future to come. Especially as someone who is always trying to plan very far ahead, there is something so beautiful about uncertainty. A struggle of mine growing up was seeing people around the same age as me living in different stages of their life and the overwhelming desire to try to compare my journey to theirs. Rather than comparing one’s journey, finding patience and joy for the future while still living every single day for the Lord is so important to have a life dedicated to God. Rather than waiting around and just worrying about the future, finding that level of peace to live in the moment that God has you in is necessary to continue to fulfill the mission God has for your current life. Living life for the Lord and His Kingdom is far greater than living one’s life for personal achievements.
“Living life for the Lord and His Kingdom is far greater than living one’s life for personal achievements.”
Profession/Mission: I am currently a student at Liberty University, studying Politics and Policy with a minor in criminal justice. While preparing for my future career in public policy, I am working to develop a list of resources for churches to understand various political and moral issues so that these topics can be understood from a Biblical worldview. After graduation and in tandem with a master’s degree, I plan on working for a think tank within the realm of social policy regarding pro-life legislation, a Biblical view of both marriage and gender, and religious liberties. My mission throughout my life is to spread the truth of God’s Word in love towards others while standing firm on Scripture.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? As much as I love writing, I never have actually thought about writing a memoir. However, if I ever did, I definitely would call it “From Anxious to Activist: Finding Purpose in God’s Plan.” In this, I definitely would discuss the moments where I struggled severely with social anxiety especially when it comes to my fear of public speaking. From going to barely being able to give a class speech to being able to speak the truth of Christ to others on campus boldly, the purpose found in God’s plan for my life has been so fulfilling that I could only have imagined growing up.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I grew up in the Church and went to a Christian school; however, I always “walked the walk” rather than living actively for Christ. Throughout elementary school and middle school, I hadn’t had the passion for Christ because I led my life trying to please others. I wanted to have a good group of friends; however, nearly every person I was friends with throughout those years became major negative influences on my life. During high school, I attended a camp where I felt the presence of Christ, which later led me to lose many of those friendships that had been negatively impacting my life. Throughout this time at the camp, I had been able to have strong influences that helped me turn back towards Christ and away from negative influences. A battle of going back and forth with my faith continued; ultimately, the leadership at that camp had helped me encounter God and turn back to Him.
How would you describe Jesus? Jesus is ultimately the Messiah, the second Person of the Trinity, Advocate, Deliverer, Creator, Shepherd, King of Kings, Lion of Judah, and the Word. I’ve always loved the idea of Christ as the Word of God especially within the connection between John 1 and Revelation 19. In John 1, Christ is described as the Word who was with God from the beginning that was sent to us. One of my favorite ways that Christ is described in Scripture is that the Word was sent by the Father to reveal Himself to the world.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? Since becoming a Christian, I really have felt more at peace with God’s timing rather than trying to take everything into my own hands. As a Christian, I use His guidance and His Word to make decisions and influence every action within my life. We are called to change our sinful ways and follow Christ by surrendering to Him regardless of the consequences that one may face. There is no greater gift than being changed and surrendering to Christ, allowing Him to radically change you.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? I’ve had a few moments that were extremely dark in my life. One of the ones that really has impacted me the most was my struggle with comparison that I’ve dealt with since I was young. I felt my achievements and journey were minimal in comparison to many of my friends. Even as I am only 20, I had this perfect life I envisioned that I would living at this age that I kept seeing my friends start living while I felt as I wasn’t able to see for myself. As someone whose deepest internal struggle is jealousy, I became so angry at God because I kept seeing people that I had been walking alongside achieve their goals while I felt as if my life was extremely stagnant.
Additionally, in May of 2021, I lost an opportunity that I had dreamed of due to a circumstance out of my control; however, that loss led to months of struggle within my faith walk as I compared myself to the people who ended up gaining that opportunity. That loss shifted my perspective as I had put so much pressure on trying to accomplish everything in my plan rather than trying to live according to God’s plan.
Through this hard circumstance, God constantly has been laying on my heart to work on praying about it to get that strength to stop comparing my current stage of life to another person’s current stage of life. Even with lost opportunities and different stages of my life, God constantly pointed me back to trusting His plans rather than leaning on my achievements. Additionally, I had to rely on who He was shaping me to be in my current stage rather than trying to be angry at Him for not being at the same stage of life as others.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? In this current season, I’ve been really growing through a deep dive into various passages of Scripture. Each month, I try to do a deep dive into a different book of the Bible. I recently read through Ecclesiastes which had been a major impact of my life over the last month. Especially going through my last year residentially at Liberty and will be graduating in fall 2022, I think this book of the Bible really goes in depth about life and one’s purpose in life. I’ve been trying to grow in my life through trying to understand one’s purpose for life which I can use to help others. Outside of reading through the teachings of Ecclesiastes, the biggest thing that has helped me drastically grow spiritually in this season has been friendships that have held me accountable to a strong Biblical foundation. Growing together with others and holding each other to a high, Biblical standard has helped me drastically grow in my faith.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I started to read through Isaiah, which has always been the most interesting passage of Scripture in my opinion. As someone who always loved the prophecies fulfilled through Christ, this has been something that I have always loved studying. It has been so amazing to understand how unique Christ’s fulfillment of the prophecies were. Isaiah really emphasizes the importance of God’s holiness and the need for salvation that will be through the Messiah.
Top three essentials: My three essentials are my faith, lipstick, and my phone.
How did God speak to you recently? God has really spoken to me recently to find peace in Him. I’m in the middle of college, and that amount of pressure to “figure everything out” has been intense. Especially getting into His Word, I’ve noticed that most of the Scripture I’ve read through recently has been about the meaning of life especially after just finishing Ecclesiastes. The two biggest commands that constantly kept coming up through God’s Word was to fear Him and keep His commandments. I think the more one fears God, we have that reliance on Him for the future.
Hobby: I love journaling and working on my blog that I recently have been working to launch. I’ve always loved to write; however, my love of writing really stemmed back to my 11th grade literature teacher who was one of the biggest influences on my decision to get involved in politics and use my skills to glorify the Kingdom. Having an outlet to put my thoughts out has been a blessing beyond belief especially to process how God is working in my life and how I can impact culture through the career God is leading me towards.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
- Read your Bible. Whether you read a passage a day or study one passage for weeks at a time, get in the Word.
- Have someone in your life to help push you to do everything based on God’s Word rather than one’s personal judgment.
- Always be in prayer regardless of your circumstances. If you are in moments of happiness
Favorite person in Scripture? I have a few that I’ve always looked up to when it comes to my faith. Obviously excluding Christ, who is definitely the most important person in Scripture, the two that immediately come to mind are Peter and Martha.
Peter has always been one I’ve connected with throughout my life especially when it comes to his impulsivity and strong-will. I’ve never been the “quietest” when it comes to my views, so I feel like I really relate to Peter when it came to how he interacted with Christ. Peter loved Jesus to the point where he had attacked a servant with a sword; however, he also was the same one who struggled to the point where he denied Christ. I’ve had those moments where I went from being a bold, outspoken Christian to fearing for how people would think of me if I spoke Biblical truth.
Additionally, I’ve recently begun to really respect Martha because I’ve noticed a lot of my mannerisms through her. Martha always was a “busy” person that she took her eyes off the Savior in order to impress Jesus and the disciples when they had visited her home. I’ve always been one to stress over the “perfect” impression that I make with people that I miss the main focus, like Martha had missed the importance of Jesus due to her busyness. Martha’s faith in Christ was shown when she interacted with Christ after the death of Lazarus as she knew the power of God. The biggest lesson from Martha’s life that I’ve really learned within my own personal walk with Christ is that Christ’s strength is far more powerful than our weaknesses.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I would love to think that people see God’s unconditional love through me. I always try to be that person to love people unconditionally. I pray they see that God loves everyone, unconditionally, regardless of their flaws and sins. Even in my moments of failure, I always try to show love towards people, unconditionally, like Christ did.
How do you engage with your community? I’ve been blessed with growing a community online. Through this, I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to mentor a couple girls younger than me. When I was younger, I never had someone to mentor me, so this had been such a blessing to engage with them. At school, I am very active on campus especially in the political realm of Liberty’s campus through my club on campus which is a Biblical worldview club that discusses how Christians should interact with cultural and political issues.
Favorite holiday? Definitely, Christmas!
A goal you have? My biggest long-term goal is that I want to be able to work on a curriculum to teach Christians how to actively defend the sanctity of life. So often, I’ve seen so many Christians, especially influential Christians, feel as if Christians “shouldn’t push their religion” when it comes to the abortion topic. However, there are so many reasons why Christians must support the sanctity of life from both a Biblical and secular perspective. Through this long-term goal, I want to be able to focus on training others on defending values of the faith such as the promotion of the sanctity of life.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: We have never been ones for traditions. The only two traditions that we genuinely keep up is that we will always go out for fireworks for the 4th of July and go look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I’ve never thought about the possibility of asking God a question because I think we are going to be more focused on strictly worshipping Him in heaven. However, if I had a chance to ask Him a question, I definitely would ask simply “Who were the sons of God, also called Nephilim, that were described in Genesis 6?” There are three major theories that I’ve read into including fallen angels, royalty, and sons of Seth. I’ve asked a few Biblical scholars before; however, I’ve received various answers on this subject. I’ve always been super curious about this especially when I had been studying that passage. Especially as angels are mentioned to not be married in Heaven by Jesus in Matthew 22.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The thing that I want to raise awareness about is that there is a necessity for Christians to be actively involved in politics, especially when it comes to issues that are strictly Biblical. So often, we see Christians say that they do not want to be involved in politics because it is “dirty business.” Rather than believing Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics because of how corrupt politics are, we should rather train Christians up to understand the necessity to be involved on some level to changing the culture and protecting one’s religious values in a nation that has fallen so far from God.
“Rather than believing Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics because of how corrupt politics are, we should rather train Christians up to understand the necessity to be involved on some level to changing the culture and protecting one’s religious values in a nation that has fallen so far from God.”
What does your morning routine consist of? Typically, I usually try to listen to worship music or a passage in the Bible when I get ready each morning. I’ve never had a major routine each day. Whenever I am at my university, my biggest priority each morning is to make sure that I am prepared both academically and spiritually each day before my classes.
What is on your nightstand? On my nightstand, I have way four books that I plan to start soon, typically a water bottle, my prayer journal, my glasses case, and a notebook that I use to take notes on podcasts I listen to. I typically try to listen to a podcast before I fall asleep, so this is something that I’ve started to do to write quotes and highlights from the podcaster.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is the notion that God created a perfect world that had fallen because of man’s sin, so God sent His Son, both fully God and fully man, to redeem us through His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection.
For more Katie:
Instagram: @KatieGooding1776 and @traditionally.conservative
Until next time, keep witnessing!