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The Cruciality of Owning Your Faith

Spiritual crises, as difficult as they can be in the life of a young Christian, are necessary for a person to truly understand and own their faith. Even though it was the most difficult period of my life, I wouldn’t hesitate to go through it again because I discovered what I truly believed and who I am. This is what I found during my own spiritual journey.

This verse from the Bible has brought me great inspiration in my own faith journey: “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  –Jeremiah 29:13     Photos courtesy of Madisyn House

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Every person has some sort of belief system, but many times, people never truly decide what they think and are just persuaded by the beliefs of the community around them. 

As a young girl who grew up in a strong Christian family, I spent every Sunday at church singing songs and learning about God.

During those services, I would look around me and see people I respected, like my parents and Sunday School teachers, singing loudly, possibly with their eyes closed worshipping. Since I was an impressionable kid who wanted to please people, I would copy them, closing my eyes tight and loudly singing the familiar tunes. 

Growing up, I sang all the right songs and I knew all the right answers to every question asked of me. All throughout my childhood, I was constantly going through the motions. 

However, the older I got, the more I questioned everything I claimed to believe. I struggled to feel confident in what I was always taught was true. This is when I realized that the faith I thought I had was not truly mine but rather one I inherited from my family. 

As a young high school student I went through what can be called a “spiritual crisis” where I rejected everything I had ever known and started from scratch in deciding what I truly believed. Confusion and frustration controlled my life due to the hopelessness I felt inside of me. 

During this time, I had moved from a tiny Christian school to a fairly large public high school. I thought I was ready for the change. But deep down, I don’t think I was strong enough in what I believed to face the reality of a place filled with so many opposing viewpoints. 

Any time I was faced with a challenge or a doubt about my faith, my stomach felt like it was in knots. I felt overwhelming emotion about everything and I couldn’t think through those emotions rationally. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was diagnosed with two anxiety disorders. For the first time in years, I felt like maybe I had a way to learn about how to understand myself. 

Throughout that time in my life, I learned more about how my brain worked and that it wasn’t God’s punishment to me. I talked to counselors and doctors about how to deal with my anxiety properly.

I learned tools that allowed me to work through my emotions and practice rational thinking. Soon, once my anxiety was more under control, I began to be able to think clearly and truly rationalize again.

This is when my faith struggle began to change. Instead of being overwhelmed with the other things in my life, I finally had time to focus on finding what I truly believed. I read anything I could get my hands on like books, blogs and the Bible.

One verse that came up a lot in my diligent search was Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek with all your heart.” However, instead of being encouraged, I was upset. I felt like I was so desperate to find answers and was coming up empty. I was angry.

I spent years searching for answers. I wanted facts. I wanted to be sure before I fully committed to a belief. Eventually, I became more confident in the Christian faith with every fact I found to support it. But something was still holding me back. That is, until late one summer night before my junior year of high school. 

Madisyn House holds a child during Vacation Bible School at Faith Baptist Church in Festus, Missouri.

I had just returned home from a mission trip where I saw people who loved God wholeheartedly serve Him for a full week. That week, I had worked with people who played with kids, cleaned buildings, and happily served in any way they could. They had a joy that I really wanted in my life. 

I remember laying on the carpet in my bedroom, pouring through the Bible. As I flipped through the pages, reading about God, I prayed harder than I ever had before.

I sang along to worship songs, I reflected on my thoughts in silence and I sobbed out of desperation. After hours of this, I knew I had to give myself to God, and I decided to let myself fully fall into that trust.

And that night, I felt the peace that I had been so desperately searching for. In my heart, I knew what was true. And I finally allowed a faith to be fully mine. Now, Jeremiah 29:13 filled me with hope and joy instead of my previous bitterness and anger.

Even though that time in my life was the most difficult period I’ve had to go through, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Because of that spiritual crisis in my life, I discovered what I truly believe. And I began to find out who I truly am. I now feel confident in the ideas that I share with the world. My faith is now mine. 

That is why I believe that spiritual crises are necessary. So many people live their lives going with the flow and agreeing with the opinions of everyone around them.

If I never had that difficult time in my life, I would still be going through the motions, and struggling to make my faith my own. Until one goes through the struggle of identifying what they believe versus what they were taught, they can never have that true confidence in their faith. 

For a faith to be real, we have to actively decide on it. When we skip that step in life, we can never truly be sure of ourselves and what we believe. Without spiritual crises, no one could truly and confidently own their faith.

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Madisyn House

Madisyn House

Madi House is a staff writer, photographer and editor for MBU Timeline. She is a born and raised St. Louis girl who is majoring in communications studies and minoring in worship studies. House owns her own photography business, MJ Photography, and writes for her own blog, keepgrowin.wordpress.com. Along with working on these platforms, she loves to spend time singing and playing her guitar and ukulele. She works as a social media intern for a non-profit and a writing coach in MBU’s Student Success Center.

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DID YOU KNOW?
   
Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student newsmagazine of Missouri Baptist University, in St. Louis:
   
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
   
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