Should We Stop Pursuing an Accelerated Faith?

My personality is such that I’m always trying to get to the next stage of something – whether it’s the next stage of mastery, or of a relationship, or of life. Sometimes it doesn’t look that way on paper, but something inside me always says that until I’m doing something perfectly, I am not doing it at all. (This is especially difficult when it comes to making art, like creative writing: you’re never really done with an essay or a story.)

So I really appreciated my friend Kari’s thoughts on the same subject, in a blog post she called “The Winding Path (or, why I don’t want an accelerated faith)”:

For many years, a toxic combination of my personality and our culture and the messages I got at church caused me to approach the spiritual side of life with this same “level up” mentality. Rather than seeing it as a winding road that sometimes turns back on itself, I attacked faith like a mountain to climb, or, since I am not much for hiking, like Donkey Kong. I was sure that I would reach the pinnacle if I just kept going. I packed my bag with all the right resources: memorizing the books of the Bible and then certain verses and even some chapters. I trained by starting a prayer group and facilitating a Bible study group and being on leadership in my campus ministry. I lamented the ways I felt I was behind. I worried that other people wouldn’t know how hard I was working.

Worst of all, I never seemed to get anywhere and I became resentful when all the things I was doing never seemed to be enough. I was trying to be an accelerated student of God and to have answers for all of life’s mysteries, not so I could learn anything, but because I wanted to have learned everything.


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  • Thanks, Alissa!

  • TomBk

    Dear Alissa/Kari:

    I have found that focusing on my continuing need for a savior relieves me of much of the pain of my perfectionism.

    Just driving the .8 mile between work and home each day reminds me that I have not become “perfect” in any way that I know of. The way I talk to the other drivers sometimes is not becoming of a follower of Christ!

    Instead of routinely criticizing myself for my lack of achievement in the faith, I’m learning to be thankful for His mercy and grace.

    And lest I am tempted to feel down because of my imperfection, I remember the “giants” among the patriarchs of the church. Paul describes himself in Rm 7 as “What a wretched man I am,” and in Gal 2 shows no special veneration of Peter for his spiritual development.

    Thanks be to God in Jesus Christ for his wonderful mercy and grace!

    Thanks to both of you for the articles. I wish you “peace like a river” in your spiritual journeys.