When I was twelve, our associate pastor's wife told me and a couple friends about her experience giving up eating meat. During the early days in their marriage, she learned about her husband's beliefs, specifically as an Adventist Christian. While being vegetarian is not one of the fundamental beliefs, choosing a healthy lifestyle is important, and being vegetarian or even vegan is often the result.
Growing up on a farm in the South, meat was a big part of her diet, as I assume it is for many non-vegetarians. She loved fried chicken and she just wasn't sure she'd be able to give it up, and wasn't fully convicted that she should. So, she took it before God. She prayed that if He was leading her to not eat meat anymore, then He would have to change her desires; He would have to make her not want it anymore.
She recalls that it happened just like that. After she had prayed about it, she had no appetite for meat. It didn't smell good to her anymore and she didn't crave it like she used to. There she was, telling this story in her 70s and God had helped her not eat meat for 50-some years.
Now, I assume any of you that have found me over the internet and not through friends on Facebook, are likely not Seventh-Day Adventist and likely find this sort of "health message" an odd addition to the Christian faith. Praying about giving up meat seems to have nothing to do with following Christ, and for most that's likely the truth.
The way I saw it, her story was less about directing everyone else to also pray and give up meat. Instead, I saw her story more as a personal testimony in her walk of faith. A walk with Christ where a burden or a question is brought before Him, and He answers. He leads to act on that faith.
A couple weeks ago, my Grandma recently posted the following on Facebook:
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
Those last two lines have been floating around my mind since I first read them.
That's a truth that's often easy to forget when I'm caught up in the moment. When I'm hearing from others and getting their opinions like-it-or-not. Or when I'm feeling insecure and wondering what others think, and likely making my own assumptions good or bad. Or any number of other scenarios that make me unnecessarily look to others for approval, rather than looking to Christ.
They're similar to something from The 4:8 Principle, a book I'm reading: "What others think about you is none of your business."
Last week, when I shared about my experience giving up my yoga class, I did so not as direction for others to do the same. I shared my story, simply as one piece from my testimony of Christ. An experience where my questions and concerns are brought before Him, and He answers. He led me to act in faith, and growth has been the result.
Then, at the end of the day, when posts slowly get lost in the archives. When comments--those from people that seem to "get" where I'm coming from, or challenge my views and help me see another perspective--when they're all forgotten. I'm left with those last two lines that have become my mantra of sorts....
It is between me and God.Whether we do yoga in a class, at home or not at all,
If we feel like quitting church or we follow through,
If we love all people, or are civil at least,
If we're terrific parents or just try to get through with a little bit of courage,
If we're vegan, vegetarian, or neither,
If we use technology or give it up altogether,
Whatever we do, is to be done with passion for Christ.
Because all of it, good and bad,
is ultimately between us and Him anyway.
And that's really at the heart of everything I share here. It's one perspective of the Gospel message; one testimony of His good works; one journey in faith with Him. That I truly hope will somehow resonate with your own testimony; or spark something for your own journey in faith.
Therefore, everything you do, do it heartily>>>
as to the Lord, and not to men. | Col. 3:23
if you feel like quitting church
it's not about yoga
success and failure