iMac

Yesterday I bought a new computer. After working and saving for over a year, the last check was finally deposited. I intended to wait until my husband got home from work to go with me, but I just didn’t have the patience. After verifying that the money was in my account, printing a shopping cart page showing what features I wanted, and even calling  to make sure the computer was in stock, I headed for the Apple Store.

Most of us have a place where we love to shop—where we love to simply be. Yours may be Pottery Barn or Target; T.J. Maxx or Anthropologie (I confess I’ve never been); Barnes & Noble or Walmart. For me it’s the Apple Store.

The employee practically high-fived me when he heard what I’d come to buy. I handed over my printed shopping cart page and he rang it up right there in the middle of the store. I couldn’t stop smiling.

And then he showed me that my debit card wasn’t approved.

Thankfully I’ve discovered a small-town bank in a big city. I called my local branch; the employee who answered the phone recognized my voice and I recognized hers; and at the end of 10-15 agonizingly long minutes the iMac was mine.

Knowing the money was in the bank and I wasn’t trying to pull a fast one on the Apple Store was the only thing that kept me standing there, arms pinned to my side to hide the sweat, communicating with both parties until the transaction was complete instead of ducking my head in embarrassment and walking away.

Sometimes this is what it feels like to be a Christian in a secular world.

You know you’re on the right side—ultimate truth is in Christ—which gives you faith in your position, but the world sure can make you squirm and sweat.

My husband and I are movie buffs, whether at the theater or sitting in our living room. Twice in the last month we’ve seen Christians portrayed on the screen in a way that made us cringe, once in a movie with at least one current Oscar nomination, once in the middle of the fourth season of a five season TV show we stream obsessively at home from Netflix.

As Christians we are followers of Christ and our lives should speak love and mercy, joy and laughter, not the rigid-jawed, thin-lipped self-righteousness of the Pharisees that I saw portrayed. Too often that’s the stereotype that you and I face in this world. It’s our job to dispel it—to stand firm when other employees steal from the company; other students cheat; or other women badmouth their husbands—because our principles have a foundation.

Even when the situation makes you sweat.

We serve a God who isn’t hindered by technical glitches and whose account is never empty, his grace and mercy ever-abundant.

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” ~ Romans 8:31

Was there a time in your life when your faith in God enabled you to stand firm in a hard place?

by Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet Home

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  1. 1

    thank you. going to share some of this with my kids. they are at the age where the differences between them and the world are really starting to show and it is getting hard to always be the different one, a little on the outside. uncomfortable. but the bank account is full of grace and strength and good plans and a hopeful future for them. –kris

    • 2

      There’s so much peer pressure on kids. Being secure in who you are and what you believe is huge. Thanks for being a mom who helps. :)

  2. 3

    This actually made me think of a time I didn’t stand firm and then had to go back and apologize. As God would have it, the apology made much more of an impact than my initial response….which was unfortunately the norm of what this person had experienced.

    BTW…we are always looking for good shows to stream and are currently hooked on The West Wing. You were careful not to mention the show in your post, but would you be willing to PM me?

    Enjoy your new computer……

    • 4

      Ouch. I know that feeling. It’s awesome how your apology worked, though. Maybe this person will appreciate the difficulty of yours (and others’) positions, but realize there’s strength in a faith that brings you back to apologize and clarify.

  3. 5

    Sometimes silence speaks louder than actual words. But sometimes you do have to speak and when you have to speak do so gently, understanding sometimes even Christians know not what they do because of bad teaching.

  4. 7

    Dawn, I really appreciate this post. I think it’s an important topic that we need to talk more about. We are pilgrims in a strange land–and we must pass through it on our journey to Heaven unspotted by this world . . . with a smile and words of kindness on our lips, shining His light as we go. . . ministering His grace. Blessings to you and yours. And by the way, I’ve got a glass of sweet iced tea in my hand too while I’m living and loving down here in Augusta, GA.
    http://www.writemomentswithgod.blogspot.com

    • 8

      Rose, I like your words: “with a smile and words of kindness on our lips, shining His light as we go. . . ministering His grace.” Blessings to you, sweet tea sipping GA sister!

  5. 9

    I actually struggled with this yesterday. What is it that non Christians are seeing that makes them so bitter toward Christians? Its certainly not the same Christians I see and interact with everyday. But, the antagonism and hatred put me in an unsure place. I will continue to be me and stand firm in that hard place.

    • 10

      Lisa, I know exactly what you mean. Keep standing firm.

    • 11

      Yes, Lisa, I hear you. Just this week one of our Facebook friends posted (yet another) very anti-Christian post. My husband wondered why he does that when we are obviously Christian friends of his. We do not get offended, but it sometimes can hurt a bit. We desperately try to portray something different to him who seems so *very* against Christians. So, dh made a comment on that post (brave) and our friend in return commented that we do seem different from “capital C Christians” (um, whatever that means in relation to who we are but….) and that he does respect us and our example in the world. That was nice to hear, but it is baffling to see such *hatred* spewed in different venues.
      I struggle with wanting to take back the “Christian” label, or just call myself something else like “Christ-follower” or “Jesus Freak”. :)

  6. 12

    Your post is so familiar to what my life tends to be like . These words always come back to me that I was once told ,”You’re never alone”. Which I find to be not only comforting but true .This is why it is so important for us to be able stand true to our beliefs , as we are not standing alone after all.

    Bless you all and thank-you Dawn for posting this……

    Penny

  7. 13

    Dawn, I love this! So well stated. I, too, watch movies where Christians are portrayed in ways I do not agree with, and I want to stand in our defense. Or….more often than not, I want to stand and say, I am not one of them! We so desperately need to work together as a body of Christ to change the world’s twisted and misled view of what being a Christian really means. I am so discouraged by those who, knowingly or not, misrepresent our faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your wisdom and encouraging words. It is nice to know I am not alone. ~jana

  8. 15
    Marinalva Sickler says:

    I took the Love Language test to find out how physical sense is important to me. Perhaps because my deceased husband valued it the most and how he used to speak with me and how he was complementary to me. His last words to me at the morning of his last day were “I’m the happiest man on earth!” I asked him why and his answered, “Because I get up every day with a beautiful woman!” It was almost one year ago, on the 11th. My heart cries inside of me as I carry on life without Paul.

  9. 16

    Hi Dawn,

    I clicked on the Feb. calendar above, and saw a January calendar still there, hope to see your new Feb. calendar soon for upload, or is it download? (not a techie, here :) but love your calendars!)

    And on the subject of Christians living in a secular world, and how uncomfortable that can be at times, that very discomfort also reminds me it is the evidence I am His child, that is why we just don’t fit in this world. And yet we are here to be a Light, His Light!

    • 17

      Kathy, it should be there now!

      I love what you said about the discomfort reminding us that we are His. Beautiful!

  10. 18

    Thanks Dawn… loved your post and yes it is so hard at times to be in the world. But so often when I run across this I realize that I am NOT of the world. If I am subject to an off comment because I am a Christian I just know that somehow someone is seeing me wear my belief on my sleeve. I take comfort when Paul said we would have trials and tribulations because of our faith. We are not to feel at home here anyway…. and that is a good thing! Let us shine for HIM!

  11. 19

    While I feel uncomfortable seeing the type pod person you describe in these two movies being used as the “default” Christian, I have to admit that, for many unbelievers, that’s the only Christian they “think” they know. Unfortunately, nice Christians are undistinguishable from nice “regular” people, for most folks. Hollywood revels in stereotypes, ordinary people bore them.

  12. 20
    RoseAnn says:

    Because of a “computer glitch” (obviously “my” mistake!) only the first line of my comment was posted this morning on your other blog site. Here’s the previously posted line followed by my complete comment:

    You “got me” at the first photo showing your Apple computer which features many of my same icons I have in my dock! Dawn, after reading your post and profile, I discovered that we share many similar interests–photography, browsing (and “dreaming”) in the Apple Store, spending quality time with my husband watching streamed Netflix movies–and yes, even preferring that more than being gifted with flowers and chocolate!

    My 47 years of marriage to a man who lives out his faith in Jesus in a remarkably consistent way has produced four incredible “kids” who have been blessed with wonderful, God-fearing, spouses and provided us with 11 grandchildren. Reaching the point in life when I had been married longer than my age, is but a distant memory (20 years ago)!

    Through life’s journey, I have discovered God’s marvelous “Grace, upon Grace, upon Grace” which sustains me when Satan attempts to still my joy, replacing it with discontent–and “technical glitches”! (I LOVE your quote: “We serve a God who isn’t hindered by technical glitches and whose account is never empty, his grace and mercy ever-abundant.”) That has proven so true in my life also!)

    So, when the world makes me “squirm and sweat” as I’m striving to live out the ultimate Truth which is Christ alone, I’m looking for Him to strengthen my resolve to be bold in making my opinions known to our political leaders, to “turn off” the TV, walk out of the movie theater, or write a letter to Producers or Executives who condone the sleaze which is becoming SO prevalent in our secular society’s “slippery slope” of degradation.

    Indeed, as you stated, “…our principles have a foundation.” Thank you for your post and for re-awakening my commitment “to stand firm” when I see the evils around me.

    Blessings to you and your family! I feel as if I have just discovered a “new friend” and look forward to following your blog.

    • 21

      RoseAnn: 47 years together—you inspire me! Thank you for your comment. I feel like I just made a new friend, too. :)

      • 22
        RoseAnn says:

        Thank you, Dawn, for reading my long comment (sorry about the length). I admire your commitment to your readers; it must take an enormous amount of time to read so many replies in the midst of everything else you accomplish each day! May God provide you with an extra measure of His grace this week. :-)

  13. 23

    we own a small motel and pray over all of our rooms. we have the Bibles open to Psalm 91 (the Protection Prayer) and each t.v. is set for Trinity Broadcasting Network because we believe that just one Word from God can save a life. each night my boys and i kneel down and ask God to destroy satan’s strongholds off of each guests life.

    on tuesday a lady checked in and killed herself.

    some people told me not to share my story because it could ruin our business. i knew if i didn’t share the story it could ruin my life.

    how do you stand firm in the middle of such brokenness? how do you keep believing when it seems like He doesn’t hear?

    i hold on knowing that maybe He brought her to our place for His grace. that sometimes it’s what we don’t see that gives us stronger faith.

    i hold on because i want to serve Him. even when i’m broken.

    http://www.thegiftofmondays.com/2013/02/i-know-how-it-feels-to-be-broken.html

    • 24

      Colleen, you stand strong and don’t let this break you. What you’re doing is valuable and the lesson you’re teaching your boys is important. I don’t know the answers to your questions, but He does and he sees you and the work you do. I’m praying peace for you and your family today.

  14. 25

    I love that you said “…it’s our job to dispel…” The tight lipped, pharisaical attitude that are Christians’ reputation. God’s grace and mercy make such a difference.

  15. 26

    It hurts my heart so badly when I see those caricatures of Christianity in film and television. What else have we given them to work with, though? I have been so convicted lately that I too often fall into moralism when what I need to fall into is grace. I know my heart is just as wicked as anyone else’s. I’m learning a little more every day to be grateful for my salvation and to honor my Lord with my life in even the small things. Especially the small things.

    I think the best example I can think of God helping me stand firm in a hard place was when I worked in a creative field and held some personal moral convictions that were in direct opposition to what my close friends at work lived on a daily basis. When it came time to part ways, I was surprised to find that my fear-inducing statements of faith and abstaining from the corporate culture (fear for me, that is, how they would react) was something my coworkers actually appreciated about me. I was shocked at their heartfelt statements to me. And a little ashamed that I had cringed inside every time I had to quietly opt out of an activity or conversation. I think that was the first time I had understood that God can use me, as I am.

  16. 27

    Wow. Thank you soooo much. I’ve been waiting for a post like this. I’m actually struggling living in a family where I am the only believer while the rest are zealous fanatics of their religion. It is hard when someone persecutes you or makes you uncomfortable because of your faith; I just realized that it is harder when your own family throws insults at you and hurts you (sometimes, physically) because of your faith.

    God has currently prompted in my heart James 1:1-8. What comfort to be told to consider it as pure joy when we have trials and testings! I am still struggling but overwhelmingly comforted and encouraged to stand firm. My heart and my strength may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever! <3

  17. 28
    Wendy B says:

    It is interesting how well timed this is for me! I felt called this week to defend my particular branch of Christianity, as well as Christian believers in general this week and ultimately was branded as hateful and disgusting. I am undeterred, however, because I believe that you have to stand for something – you have to have principles, morals and values because otherwise you can be talked into doing anything. I knew going in that speaking against this person was going to be interesting since he already proclaimed he was anti-organized religion. I also believe that I responded from a place of love and explained that sometimes churches have rules for that very reason – if there are no rules, it is easy to be led off course. God has rules for living, and we cannot just pick and choose because those things don’t fit with the lifestyle that we would “choose” for ourselves.

  18. 29

    Thank you for this post!! It blessed me AND challenged me.
    Blessings,
    Rachel

  19. 30

    Love this all the way to the bank and back Dawn. So many truths here. Thank you

  20. 31
    Beth Williams says:

    Dawn.

    You are right on with your post today. Soo often I see/hear things that I just don’t agree with morally or as a Christian! When that happens, I usually turn it off or just leave the room. There is a song out there that states “you must stand for something or you will fall for anything”! How very true that is!

    As I age, I have come to realize that my actions speak volumes over my words and that everyone is watching. If we want this secular world to be like us we need to be more like Christ!

  21. 32

    This post rang loud and true for me, too. Thank you for reminding us that we must be ever mindful of those watching us “Christians”.

  22. 33

    I really enjoyed this read. It is true. I feel the judgement myself. People assume that because you’re Christian your going to preach to them, and be uptight. Or, they criticize your faith and your religion. I try to let the holy spirit shine through me like a beacon of light, and through my actions rather than my words encourage people to see my faith and seek theirs. But, I make plenty of mistakes. And I sweat a lot.
    Kate

  23. 34

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