Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wearing Your Faith on the Outside of Your Shirt

Some time ago I was having lunch with a colleague who I knew to be devout in her faith. I noticed the little gold cross around her neck was tangled in her collar. I reached out to help her straighten it until it hung on the outside of her sweater.

“Thanks,” she said and grabbed the delicate chain, “but I have to keep this on the inside of my clothes at work.”

Obviously she’d been told somewhere in her career that symbols of faith should not be worn in the workplace. Perhaps those who believed differently would find it distracting or inappropriate. Maybe she’d been flat-out instructed not to bring her faith to work. Whatever the case, I understood – but I didn’t have to like it.

The question is: Are you wearing your faith on the outside of your shirt whenever possible? Or are you keeping it hidden because it’s the easy thing to do?

It’s not hard to share your testimony or invite someone to hear a special speaker at your church when you’re safely within your own group of fellow believers. It becomes a lot harder to step out when you don’t know what or who you’re dealing with. But isn’t that exactly when God expects us to? Just remember that more than half the people you’ll cross paths with today are having a worse day than you are – and a lot of them have not experienced Christ-like love or encouragement.

The challenge: Wear your faith on the outside of your shirt in 2009. Invite someone to church, tell that struggling mother of teenagers about your awesome youth group, keep church brochures in your car for that new person in your neighborhood…you get the idea. What’s the worst that can happen? A blank stare? A polite or not-so-polite “no, thank you”?

Not all encounters will be met with a positive response, but the one that does is the one that makes a difference. And the difference depends on how you wear your faith.

Carla Rossi is the author of Limited Light and Almost Home.
Visit Carla at or by e-mail at


Hope Wilbanks said...

Great post and thought-provoking. LOVE the new blog look!!

Kara Lynn Russell said...

Thank you for the challenge. Maybe I can steer more people towards the Christian fiction in my library this year. I'm hoping to sneak one or two into our book club, too.

Cami Checketts said...

Thanks. I love the challenge. It has been on my mind as well. I'm so blessed, if I don't share my faith and love I'm not showing much gratitude!
Thank you,

Sharon Donovan said...

Carla, how true your words are. Without faith, we have nothing.

Carol Ann said...

You are right on with the need to step outside our comfort zone to show our faith. I'm going to try and focus on that this year. Thanks for the great post.

Carol Ann

Laurean Brooks said...


This is so true. We could be the only Jesus some folks ever see. That's a scary thought. It puts a heavy responsibility on our backs. I have been praying for more compassion toward those who don't have a relationship with Christ.

Thanks for provoking us to take a stand or make a difference.

Nicola said...

Great post and so true. My pastor always says that if someone with whom you've interacted for a while says to you, "Oh, I didn't know you were Catholic," or "Oh, I didn't know you were Christian," then you're not living your faith very well b/c it should be such a part of you that it permeates everything you do.--in a good, non-preachy sort of way, of course. You know, as the saying attributed to St. Francis goes, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."

Teri Wilson, Romancing the pet lover's soul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teri Wilson, Romancing the pet lover's soul said...

Okay, I'm re-doing my comment because I accidentally posted it when it was only halfway written. Oops!

Anyway, as I said before, great post Carla. It really resonated with me. By the way, I just read your book Almost Home and really enjoyed it!!!

Blessings, Teri