Why I No Longer Follow Other Christians..And Why You Shouldn't Either.

It's been a while, I know, I know.

Motherhood ain't easy chile. I know, I know, I'm always either saying that, or I'm saying that I'm tired, lol, but its true, managing life, working full-time and raising Cairo is a balancing act. The M Word has grown in popularity and by the grace of God, I have exciting projects with the BBC and other brands coming out in 2021, whilst I'm excited, this mama is truly pooped at times.

I never want to write a blog post just to check it off my list, I want whoever reads my words to feel inspired. And I guess due to being tired a lot of the time, I haven't been inspired..until now.

One of my most favourite bloggers is CasSpeaks, I've never [virtually] met someone who literally speaks to my heart with every post they write. It's not always Christian-y, you know? She talks about real life struggles, she talks about real life things and manages to give you a glimpse into the heart of Jesus every time. Every time I read a post, or look at her Instagram page, I'm encouraged. Check out her socials and please subscribe or follow!

One thing I love about Cas's blog is that she does monthly posts, usually its around the 1st of every month, so I either check her blog or get an email with what she's shared. I love that idea so I'm officially copying it. I think it's an awesome way to balance out blogging, whilst remaining authentic to myself. It's December 31st today, so I guess moving forward, I'm going to challenge myself to write a post at the end of every month with what's on my heart, it shouldn't be too hard...I hope.

So, I guess you've read the title and you're like what sis?? I just checked your Instagram page and you do follow other Christians! Well, yes, of course I do. I don’t mean literally. I meant I stopped copying what other Christian's do in their walk with God.

Let me explain! I guess like most black 20-somethings in the UK, I grew up in a religious household. My mum's a pastor's kid, the daughter of a Bishop, so I have always been influenced by Christianity growing up. Eventually, after years of running from God into disastrous relationships [and some criminal activity], I gave my life to Christ in 2009 and started attending church regularly.

I had Cairo in 2019 and throughout my pregnancy and first year of motherhood, I began reflecting on my life, my choices and who I was as a person. I really wanted to give Cairo something to look up to, and I knew in order to do that, somethings in me needed to change.

You're probably like OK girl, gotcha, but what's your point? I'm getting there!

Growing up with a mother who was a pastor's kid, and a Granddad in ministry, in combination with serving in the church myself, has given me an in depth look into the church and Christian culture.

Whilst, I absolutely love the church [I mean Jesus died for it, it is absolutely necessary and vital in having a relationship with God], I do think there are some toxic behaviours, we take on as Christians and as a church that God never intended us to.

What are you talking about Millie? Following. I'm talking about copying, following, imitating..whatever you wish to call it.

It's something that a lot of Christian's do. To be fair, imitating is probably the bread and butter of many religions, and is probably how many cultures and religions are passed down to generations over time. However, as Christians when following others, it's important to consider a few things.

The first thing I want you to consider is how God sees you.

Becoming a mother, has given me a glimpse into God's heart towards us as His children.

I'll explain.

Cairo's still young, and he's learning how to speak at the moment. Whilst it's true that he learns most of his vocabulary from copying me, other family members, tv-shows, or his nursery. The error begins when I start to compare him to other children, expecting him to be just like them.

Imagine, poor little 16 month old Cairo looking at me whilst I'm like "cAiRo, I aM sO dIsSaPpoInTeD tHaT You ArEn'T tAlKiNg LiKe RuBy [who's aged 7]", I know you're rolling your eyes but how stupid would that be. If he could even understand what I was saying, he would be so discouraged, he would probably stop trying to sound words as he makes mistakes regularly, and I would have sown a seed of insecurity into him.

But that's how it is when we compare ourselves to other Christians. Sometimes, we have no idea how long someone has been walking with God, so to compare ourselves would be doing ourselves a disservice. Cairo can't be like Ruby because he hasn't been alive long enough. It's just not possible - yet, and sometimes, for us, it's just a matter of time, or better said, God's timing ;).

As a health visitor, my specialty is child development, one fundamental rule to apply when understanding child development is that: no two children are ever the same. Whilst most may meet certain milestones, eg. walking, talking, babbling at similar times, no two children will ever be the same, including identical twins. Sometimes, it is expected that at a certain 'Spiritual' age, you should be able to [insert Christian behaviour here] or stop [insert worldly sin here], but, similarly none of God's children are the same. We have unique upbringings, unique patterns, unique trauma's, and God is working on all of us individually. I'm not saying sin recklessly, I'm saying don't be discouraged if you couldn't stop something the first, second, or six-hundredth time, be patient with yourself, God is being patient with you [1 Cor 13:4], that's why Your still breathing, press into the mercy He has for You [Lem 3:22-23] and try again with His grace [2 Cor 12:9].

One thing I have realised over time is that this generation [including myself] has two issues, one of them being comparison, which is often anchored by a deep insecurity, and the other - impatience, or, laziness.

We've touched on comparison, but impatience is a real problem. Just try bopping to ALDI on a Saturday afternoon, and see if you can stand in the socially distanced queue for more than 10 minutes.

Sometimes, as Christian's when we are following others, we need to also consider the concept of time.

As I'm getting older, I find that my response to a lot of situations is just give it time. Time is such a needed thing.

If I were to give you an analogy to summarise this generations approach to things I'd say we are like a woman who brought ingredients to bake a cake, she lightly glanced over the instructions, and mixed the ingredients together, she put the cake mix into the oven, but wasn't sure how long she should wait. Eventually she got tired of waiting and took the cake out of the oven after a few minutes, only to find it under cooked, or under developed and inedible. She grew angry with the outcome and went back to the shop, demanding a refund because her cake hadn't come out as expected. It hadn't turned out like some of her friends cakes. She didn't realise it was her fault for not reading the instructions properly, and not allowing time to have its part in the process.

I don't want to be a hypocrite so I'll admit that I'm incredibly impatient. Sometimes, I don't understand why things have to take so long. But I guess God wouldn't have taken the time to create time if it wasn't necessary, or valuable.

This month, I'm studying Moses and it's so interesting to see how insecure he was. He literally questioned God every second, whilst doubting His own ability. Yes, Moses is a great prophet, but he also had to stand the test of time [as many great prophets do]. He was in the wilderness for 40 years before God spoke to him in the burning bush. Even after those 40 years, while God deemed him ready to use, it was clear Moses still had character-flaws.

When you follow someone, or try to imitate them, you need to consider time. A lot of us post our wins, our highlights and our good days, but I wonder how long it took some of us to get there, I always also wonder if we are ever "there". Moses was still incredibly insecure after his 40 years in the wilderness, but should he have had an Instagram page, I'm sure he would have been posting videos of his staff turning into a snake and the infamous plagues dropping on the Earth at the sound of his voice. Luckily, the Holy Spirit inspired writers of Exodus to give us the full story, so we can see that behind the scenes he was still a mess, who struggled with self-confidence.

In fact, that's probably why most of the people you need to seriously follow are only in the Bible, instead of Instagram or other social media sites. God has purposed their lives so that every occurrence is relevant to this time. He gave us the full story there, so we wouldn't be dazed by the perfection many 'saints' portray today.

When following someone, you may not know how long it took them to overcome something. You won't know if they're still secretly battling that thing whilst they're posting cute OOTD's with whitty quotes. You just won't. You don't know if that person really prays daily, I mean every-single-day, or just says they do to make themselves feel better because they're bleeding inside, and superiority/ acceptance is their temporary plaster to soothe whatever trauma they have. You don't. Sometimes, in the hopes of imitating Godliness, we can imitate brokenness, never allowing ourselves to truly experience God or change.

That leads me on to my last point. When following other Christians, you need to consider God's word.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus [Phil 1:6].

God is faithful. It's like embedded into His being, He cannot be unfaithful. He will literally see to it that the outcome of your life will be you becoming like Christ. That's what He promises, and He never, ever breaks His promises.

The bible says our days our written out [Psalm 139:16] and in writing them out, He ensures that everything we encounter, would somehow make us become more like Jesus and work out for our good [Romans 8].

In understanding that, you would see that everything you encounter, everything you do or become, is for you, literally. It has a way of working out in your life, for your good.

So why try and copy someone else in the hopes of becoming like Christ? Follow God's blueprint for you. Follow His Word.

It also means that some mistakes, some difficulties, some sins, some occurrences, are unique to you because God has a way of using this to make you more like Christ, and its only through certain situations that your heart can be softened or you are likely to surrender and change [see Hebrews 5:7-9].

When you grasp this truth, along with many other truths in the bible, you can see that at a point, the only person you need to be fixed on following is Jesus.

The truth is a lot of us are lost, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't learn from anyone, or admire anyone, of course, do! But don't copy blindly, and don't let someone else's journey make you feel bad for where you are on your own journey.

God is working on us at his pace. Whilst most times, to be honest, we can drag our feet and make the process harder than it needs to be, He crafted our character, and knew our stubbornness before we even walked in the stubbornness!

Your walk with God, is just that, its yours. Make it personal and make it your own. Our relationship with God literally mirrors a marriage, at the beginning of the relationship, 'the talking phase', is spicy, and similarly, when accepting salvation, we are on fire for God. As things progress, and we become familiar with who God is, sometimes things can slow down, or even die, just like with some marriages overtime. But does that the mean the marriage is over, because it feels dead? No. Legally, you're still married, just like legally, Jesus purchased you with His blood. He's not letting you go. So work on it, make the relationship what You want it to be. [James 4:8], God is following your lead, if you want to be close to Him, He promises to come close to you too!

I'm learning that God really doesn't expect perfection from me. He actually expects quite the opposite, and he made it that way, so I could need Him. So when its been a while since I've prayed, since I've read the word, or maybe I find myself going back to old habits, I don't need to condemn myself, all I have to do is stop. Repent and go back, and try again. It's really that simple. I really don't think Christianity is as complex as some make it to be. God doesn't always need you to be sweating during prayer for hours, he doesn't need you to be having a good streak of quiet times before He answers your prayer, all those things are legalism and religion. God needs a humble, honest heart that will admit when it's wrong and use Gods available grace and mercy to correct itself.

Following others, at times, can sow seeds of insecurity but always consider his Word first! You are His child and no matter how you behave at times, you will always be His child, and day by day God will help you to change, because He loves you.

As we go into 2021, and everyone's making resolutions, how about some of us vow to be kinder to ourselves and truer to who God says we are?

- Millicent x