How do you approach obedience and sacrifice when looking at a highlight reel?
I met you the first time at LEAP, Expression 51’s woman’s conference. And from the first moment you said “good evening” we all felt this wave of the Holy Spirit hit us and we knew whatever this woman brings it would be fire. And it was!
The funny way that we ended up connecting more was the day after that event I went to a friend’s home for Super Bowl. Sitting there in her living room I was asking if anyone had heard of this pastor, Christa Smith. And bam, this guy on the couch is like, hey that’s my stepmom! So, hilarious! What a small world. It’s so fun how God connects people.
I can’t wait to discuss Christa’s journey of success, its wild twists and turns, and what didn’t make the Instagram highlight reel. Today’s conversation is a deep dive into vulnerability, obedience, dreaming with God, and the untold story of sacrifice.
Keep reading for the full show notes after the jump!
You’re right, it’s the reality of what’s the journey look like? It the valleys the moments that really develop your depth with Jesus. It’s constantly a refocus on who God is and who you’re not. I don’t want to ever end the journey. I want to perpetually be reminded that I need a God, I need a Savior, a Redeemer, a Healer. I want to live constantly aware of my dependence on the Lord.
Christa’s life didn’t always look the way it does now. I had an incredible experience growing up as a Catholic. Her family started pursuing the charismatic renewal within the Catholic church. She had a tangible encounter with God that marked her. At the young age of seven, she made a big decision stating: “If this is available I will spend my life pursuing this.” I feel like this was one of those key experiences that marked me.
From that experience, she knew her life would look different. Moving forward her choices in life wouldn’t look like the choices of those around her. She still went to parties in school but never participated, you mean not giving in to peer pressure?!?! Is that a thing? Christa shows us how this is possible. She grew up going to public high school where she was surrounded by the norms of parties and drugs but because she was marked by God she didn’t have a desire to participate. “I felt so loved and known by God that I wasn’t wooed or seduced to look for love in other places.”
Early on she obtained a mentality that looked a lot like getting comfortable with being different. “Knowing that they can do this (partying) but this is not something that I do.” Not that this decision was always easy for Christa, she dealt with lots of FOMO. What teen doesn’t want to be involved and feel like they belong? Christa bravely chose to live by the spirit and not the flesh. She states “I had to get really comfortable with being different.
Christa looks back at seasons in her life describing them as training grounds. Going through seasons of loneliness and not wanting to be different. The truth is deep down she didn’t want to be different but rather be a part of a faith community going after God. She came to discover that with the prophetic voice inside of her and the way God uses her to preach and minister was really different. It’s maybe a little more fiery or bolder, not better just different. It caused her to just accept who she is and not apologize for it. Rebecca understand what that feels like having faced moments in life when the fear of being different had her go against her own convictions.
How often are we allowing the fear of being different to determine our choices, even when it’s against our convictions? The truth is that everyone’s process and journey are different. Christa states, “I can’t allow other people’s convictions to become my convictions, I can’t use other people’s standards to base my standards on.” I can learn from people and be discipled by people. I have realized that I need to be assured I don’t allow anything to dim the standards I feel called to live by, or my integrity. If I do that I feel I’m not being true to me.
It’s hard. I don’t want to be legalistic or religious, I just want to be consecrated, integrous and righteous. There has to be grace for one another, for integrity and standard. And truly trust them with their walk with God. Yes! There has to be a point where we trust the Holy Spirit in them and honor that they have their own journey with Jesus. We don’t have to call everyone out on every little thing. Trust their process. We all have one, we all have our own journey. Love them through their process and encourage them to press into God. That’s also what causes people to trust you as a Christian. Instead of calling out and judging.
It’s so true. Love people where they are. And when and if they become open to talking about a topic, they will come to me because I wasn’t hard or confrontational. As you love someone, you choose to give them freedom.
Yes, that is really hard when you see someone about to pull a grenade in their lives. But the reality is exactly what Danny Silk states, “You can never work on someone else more than they are willing to work on themselves.”
Regardless of the community you find yourself in, choose to live a life set apart, loving others into breakthroughs, and simultaneously choose to live openly, with the differences in standards and calling on your life. There’s nothing more beautiful than letting go of comparison. FOMO is something that is present.
Christa knew that she was going to wait for God’s best for marriage so when it came time to date she really relied on the Holy Spirit to guide her and that looked like making hard decisions. She was single from 19-38 and was married at 39. Holy Spirit would tell her if she wasn’t to go on dates which lead her to create an accountability system with others she trusted. It’s not easy to make these decisions. Sometimes we need others to help remind us when God said, “No,” and remember what we are waiting for.
For me, pastoring as a single woman was tough. I have had people get up and leave service because I was a female pastor and single, too. It a challenge being single as a pastor but also just in society in general. And it just goes back to being different, again. That thread that has run through my life. Living in the world was hard but my life was on a different timeline.
I need to be reminded of those quiet moments with Jesus that in the desire for companionship can get lost really quickly. “I have to trust Jesus more than I trust myself.”
I want people to walk in the fullness of what He has for them. Church, podcast, sermons, books are great. But nothing replaces time with Him. There is ease when you know Him. It makes the cost of loss and pain and even loneliness, worth it. It’s going to be temporary. Who are you doing it for when He is asking you to lay it on the altar? When you have encountered HIS love, there is nothing too great that He asks for.