My smelly ‘Christian’ dilemma….written by Stacy Westfall

Last week, in one post, containing only 35 words I managed to offend both Christians and Non-Christians alike. Quite an accomplishment, if I may say so myself. But it did get me thinking.

I haven’t always been a ‘Christian.’

As a teen, I referred to myself as an agnostic.Atheist

When I was angrier, an atheist.

But one thing I HAVE always been is a ‘seeker’.

I am willing to challenge my own thoughts as well as the thoughts of others.

I am able to hold an idea in one hand while weighing out its seemingly opposite idea in my other hand. This gives me the strength and knowledge to choose.

I believe this makes me stronger.

I believe that I can learn from everyone and everything around me.

But I also struggle.

I struggle because I do not want to offend. Strangely, when I was an ‘atheist’ or ‘agnostic’ I was fine with offending; would seek to offend.

That I no longer seek this is evidence of the change that took place in me.Offended

I am tempted to ‘hide’ my faith at times. When I ask myself, ‘why?’ the answer is not fear of attack. It is fear of offending.

I was offended BY Christians when I was not a Christian.

If there was a person that I wanted information from who happened to be a ‘Christian’, I would ‘hold my nose’ and try to avoid all that ‘stuff’ while trying to gather what information I did want from them.

And now, here I stand on the other side of the fence.

Torn.

Remembering when I was offended. Fearing now to offend.

And my wise husband put the choice into words.

“It’s simple,” he said. “Is it just going to be a business or do you want them to know you?”

And I already knew the answer before he asked the question. I just didn’t have the words for it.

To be known.

So hold your nose if you must. Or avoid me completely. But one thing that is true, if you are seeking to know me. Here I am. All of me.

How many 'Christian' symbols can you find?

How many ‘Christian’ symbols can you find?

149 Comments

  1. Ann Kernechel on December 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Good news that you are a christian I am 76 and as far as I can remember I believed in God. As I got older it was strengthen…..He is in my life and I talk to him as a friend and as my savior. God Bless us all

  2. Sally on December 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    People do not get nearly as offended as we fear they will, as long as we are non judgemental and also except differing views/believes. Sally

  3. Mara on December 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you Stacy, for being true to yourself, and letting us know you. You are truly an inspiration, as a horsewoman, mother, and professional. I feel grateful that I am able to share in your story!

  4. Tristan henke on December 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I enjoyed reading this. People who want to be offended will find something to be offended with. We are all in a struggle to achieve a happier, better life. It behooves us all to help, rather than harm, our fellow man. Keep up the good work. You inspire me.

  5. Elvira on December 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Stacy, Its very refreshing to see you put yourself out there, really appreciate that, I don’t agree with your beliefs, but I would defend your right to have them and express them.

  6. heather maxwell on December 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Very well said. Good for you!

  7. Kimberly S. McLaughlin on December 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you Stacy for your being, for your horsemanship skills and mostly for your faith that lives through yourself, your family and your profession. I have been awed by your skills as a bridleless rider and trainer,and would delight in seeing you again at a horse expo. Keep up the excellent work and may God continue to bless you as your faith grows stronger and in knowing His presence in your lives and work. Love in Christ, Kim McLaughlin[ mother of Matt]

  8. Diana on December 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Well said!

  9. Dee Marrow-Zane on December 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I can disagree with you and STILL want to know you.
    I can disagree with you and still be a fan.
    And in all honesty, if you’re going to put yourself out there, not everyone is going to like and agree with you . . . but on some level that is THEIR problem, not yours.
    Keep seeking. 🙂

  10. Anna Scantlan on December 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Stacy,

    May you be encouraged and strengthened by The One in whom you place your faith. Thank you for sharing your horsemanship knowledge, as well as your faith, family and friendship with us in the blog world. I truly value the opportunity to get to “know” you and am blessed by your love for The Lord. Merry Christmas and may you have a blessed New Year.

    Anna

  11. Kat Jihnson on December 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I’m so glad and PRIVLEDGED to know the real you Stacy. You and Jesse are a blessing. I can completely relate to your dilemma. Remember God uses you AND your faith to reach the lost. Those who are offended just aren’t ready yet. Keep doing what you do. You never know when you are leading someone to Christ. HE is the only one you need fear offending. And you obviously are not doing that. 🙂

  12. Susan Hope on December 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I think , Stacy in todays , times of watered down , seeker friendly so called Christian society….its easy to offend…..when you speak the word… and stand on that truth…well….its offends…the cross of Christ is offensive ……but, you know , as tender as Jesus was , He was tough… Jesus said, we are to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates…..we can’t conviently rip pages out, that just might offend….its a narrow road. If everybody loves us…. we have to ask ourselves ….am I pleasing God or man ??? God has found great favor on your work with horses and your ministry, because you honor Him…. keep up the good work….

  13. Linda on December 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Stacy, I have followed you for a while now. I also have been a bible believing Christian for 38 years and I have finally boiled it down to the fact that people HATE it when you state truths that God wrote in the scriptures without any paraphrases (or popular opinion about what people “THINK” it is really saying). People want to believe that God is all love and no punishment, but that simply is not the case if you read any of the bible at all. Jesus was the most controversial person of his time and they were costantly taking him to task and trying to kill him over and over for what he said. He quoted the old testament a lot and they couldn’t handle the truths that he revealed, so in the end, they killed him for what he said.
    Just hang in there, Jesus is coming to get us sooner then anyone wants to think about, but everything has been fulfilled and all that is left is for him to come for his church. Who knows, we may be having Christmas with HIM next year…………….God Bless you for your testimony.

  14. Di Moore on December 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Be Blessed !

  15. Lynne on December 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    You are so cool that I choose to hold my nose! Sad that you were an angry atheist at that time, I’m def a happy one! Could be the drugs… hahahaha!

  16. rabbit59 on December 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Actually, Stacy, trying to be inoffensive makes you Canadian, we are always apologizing for everything (or so the American Media wants US and us to believe). Canadian Fan – Bunny

  17. Robin on December 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Kuddos to you Stacy! It is refreshing to see a fellow Christian do the right thing and be proud of their Christianity. You can’t please everyone but at the end of the day we have to be who we are and I for one sleep well because of it! Keep doing what you do and may God Bless you and your family! Merry Christmas!

  18. Karen Motycka on December 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Truly God has given you a platform to speak His truth; may you be blessed !

  19. Susan Clogston on December 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Stacy – I have not read all of the comments and I quite frankly do not know what you said that seemed to offend. I will share with you though a few sentences from a sermon I heard many years ago that has never left me. At the conclusion of the sermon, the pastor said ” I am sorry if I have offended some of you this morning but the cross is offensive!”. Amen! I have never worried about offending since then as long as I know I am not choosing to intentionally offend someone. Yes, Christianity offends some because it is not the norm and not popular in the main sect of America but it is what we called to do and how we are called to do it. Keep the faith and keep on keepin’ on.

  20. Cynthia Brackett on December 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Stacy,
    Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid of offending. Christians have been persecuted for standing for, and believing in, things that are contrary or unpopular by society.
    Stand confidently in your faith. Be yourself.
    And thank you for sharing. I am a new fan…

    Sincerely,
    Cyndi. 🙂

  21. Barbara Potter on December 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Good for you, Stacy. I refuse to apologize for being a Christian. I do not try to shove my beliefs down anyone else’s throat…nor do I worry about what they think of me. It really can’t be any other way!

  22. Chris on December 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    This is fantastic. New to the blog and delighted to see a place where horsemanship and faith dance together. Thank you!

  23. Lizzie on December 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I LOVE that you are so open about your faith! Keep sharing! Jesus offended more people on earth than He made friends with while He was here and that didn’t stop Him. It is impossible to please everyone no matter how hard we try

  24. Mickey Sandridge on December 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    You go girl! I agree completely with Mr. Fraughton (although I don’t know him.) And I learned a long time ago that whatever you do will offend some, all the time.

  25. Terri Anderson on December 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    People who stand up for their convictions are getting rare these days! Kuddos to you! (I saw 4) and that logo is amazing!!!!!

  26. Jonathan Rogers on December 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Stacy, the above was very well written. You are an inspiration and a blessing!!! I thank God for all that he has done for you. It’s wonderful. If we are going to be true to our Lord, there are times when just our presence will be offensive. It can not be helped. Most people were offended by Jesus when he walked the earth. He didn’t try to be offensive, but the truth is offensive to those who do not abide in it. Keep on keeping on!!!

  27. Pamela G Evans on December 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I found 2 and I will follow your bog ,regardless !! I love that you talk about your faith and your family. It’s part of you ,just as horses are !

  28. Scharry on December 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I found 3. You are precious to me because you are my sister in Christ. We may never meet this side of heaven but know that I stand behind you all the way. I feel the same in regards to this post and it breaks my heart that we see the scripture coming true today that says evil will be seen as good and good as evil. Hold tight to the position God has given you and continue to bring Him glory through it as long as you can.

  29. Susan Hanks Winddancer Arabians Equine Therapy on December 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Without Christ we can do nothing, I not only applaud your training techniques but I applaud more so your effort to claim Christ, the word says if you deny me, I will deny you and He being Christ is the ONLY way to the Father so I don’t mind offending either if it saves another life like mine, when I was lost, Praise God He is a redeemer and I would do anything and will do anything to let people know of His love, grace and power!! Keep up the fantastic work, if they don’t like it they don’t have to watch or learn!! Praise God and you are an awesome Blessing using the talents God gave to you to help others and the horses you reach, this is what I have strived for also for the last few years!!

  30. Tim Kovitch on December 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    So much for the “horse only” blog. Bye!

  31. lavenderlady1957 on December 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    As someone has wisely said, the Gospel message will afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Your posts are honest, charitable, and direct. Thanks for being an example. If some of us haven’t offended as many people it’s only because we don’t have as public a forum in which to share our thoughts 🙂

  32. Andrea Strop on December 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I look forward to getting to know you Stacy 🙂 with so much of the world being in an uproar about what people are saying and doing…..none of us, except Jesus Christ Himself is perfect. I am Christian, yet I sin daily. I misspeak, I unintentionally offend. I love others, even when we disagree. I hope you continue to share your faith and your talent with the world. God bless.

  33. John Fraughton on December 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I would rather live my life as if there IS a God and find out that there isn’t, than live my life as if there is NO God and find out that there IS!

    Merry Christmas!

  34. Wendy Ford on December 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Be your authentic self. Those who seek offense will find it anywhere, anyway. Any rational person would look at your intentions and go from there. Be at peace.

  35. Ryan Nixon on December 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    That was well put, ironically, by apologizing you’ve probably offended someone. That said, it’s my staunch view as an agnostic at best that those who choose to be offended are those least apt to know their true religion. Ms. Westfall I commend you for your honesty.

  36. Pat Smith on December 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Its not about being known. Its not about not offending. Its about being respectful. Your relationship with God is between you and God. Not you and anyone else. Anything more then that is you thinking your so important and how God needs you to. That is narcissistic and self centered. It was disrespect why you didnt like it before. If there is a God, I think God would be disappointed that you are choosing to be disrespectful to others. This is not how Christ lived. So, if you choose to be disrespectful then your not even Christ like. God wouldnt be this way. Maybe you should take Christs example and be respectful instead.

    • Chris on December 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Ummm. . .Christ certainly didn’t keep quiet about His relationship with God. . .or with the world and He definitely didn’t ask us to keep quiet! I guess I cannot even begin for her to fathom how sharing about her relationship with Christ is disrespectful to anyone. Many will be encouraged. And no one is forced to read. If someone is interested only in the training, then they are free to skip over blogs with spiritual content. I know that for me, my faith informs every portion of my life and to separate it from anything, including my horsemanship is impossible. It is an integral part of everything I do. My interactions with people, and certainly my interactions with my horse.

  37. Cathy N on December 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I am glad you are a child of the King Most High. There is no shame for us to bear. People are rebelling against God, not us. Stand strong with Him who gives you the strength and the gifts. Merry Christmas!

  38. Carla hart on December 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Beautifully stated. I think of myself as spiritual, but that also offends some. Thank you.

  39. http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com on December 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I must have missed the “offensive” post. However, I believe you need to be yourself. You are never going to please “everyone.” You are an original. Accept that truth and build on it, honestly and joyously.

  40. Dana Bone on December 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    If any of our eyes are focusing on the faults of the human err and ways, we will all be offended in time. What I love about Christianity, is my focus can be on the pure and simple Son of God, in whom there is no guile, but compassion, no falsehood, but truth, no judgement, but mercy…and so on. This, my friend, is why we connect…with our fellow man, with our horses, with God, because we choose to be more like Christ, less human, but while we are in the human flesh, we are prone. Thank you for sharing you personal struggle, if it’s any comfort, you are not alone in this. What I do appreciate is that while seeking to be a great leader to the horses, you still seek the greatest leader ever created….and I am confident that as long as that is your main focus, there will be less struggle, and more glorifying of the ‘Truth’…through the language of love and compassion. I see it in your eyes, and in you mannerisms, the way you present…thank you for that.

  41. Sara Allison on December 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Ive been following your blog since I saw the viral video of you and Roxy. You have shown through your interactions with horses and people just where your heart lies. Do not be afraid to offend others, because when you do, its a guarantee that they have listened to what you had to say and thought about it enough to generate an emotional response. You never know what little seed youve planted and when it may blossom. Based on your actions, your words, and your ability with horses I would trust you with my dearest partners to take them to a level I will never be able to.

  42. Joy Evenson on December 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    It seems impossible to not offend people now days.. but the Bible tells us that the world hated Jesus and will probably hate you too at times when you stand for Him. “Blessed is he who is persecuted for My sake..” If you love people and want them to know Jesus too , and hope that they receive the gift of everlasting life, just be true to your faith, and God will do the rest. but you can’t live in fear of offending. The cross is offensive to those who don’t know Him. You are a dear and we love you and are so thankful for the inspiration you are!! we thank God for you!! May He be with you always!!

  43. Heidi (nrhareiner) on December 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Do to my job I see people in the public eye all the time. Some what you see is what you get. Some are so very different from what most see. Sometimes that is better, some times not. For some it is just a show they perform on stage. The ones I find are the most true to who they are are the ones who do the best, are the nicest, they are the happiest. They enjoy what they do and do it well. They know their truth, their north star. Once you find that, once you stand for something that is true you will stop falling for everything or anything. You can not please everyone it is just not possible. So I have found that at the end of the day you must stand by what you believe to be true.

  44. Leanne on December 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    One of the reasons people love you, is because you are REAL! Keep on being real. And we will keep on loving you:)

  45. equinelover on December 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I have never been offended by you. I treasure your wisdom and advice about horses. I am happy you are also a Christian.

  46. Patricia A. Woodruff on December 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Great statement, Jess & Stacy…I knew deep down that you were a Christian before you told everyone because of how you have a deep love for people and horses, your heart is so tender, kind, loving and you have TONS of patience!!! Keep up the GREAT work and inspiration you give to everyone…horsey & non-horsey!!! LOVE YOU!! XOOXOX

  47. Lori Brasseur on December 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I like you more NOW! 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

  48. ferg05 on December 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Stacy we are in difficult times here in America and Abroad. People are suffering in unimaginable circumstances. I applaud you for being human and acknowledging that you struggle with what people think of you. We all have this fear (whether we admit it or not). I, like you, wonder (even if only for a minute) am I gonna offend someone with what I say or do. My Great Grandma would say, ” Pride cometh before the fall”. So true. So I just want to say, “I would rather follow Jesus knowing that possibly I will live in eternity where things are beautiful and whole, then risk burning in Hell, gnashing and grinding my teeth in pain and suffering for eternity!” Oh I’m sure there will be the agnostics, that say well if you believe in that crap you’re an idiot. Well then call me an idiot, because when the time comes and NO ONE knows what really happens when you die, I will at least come out on the awesome side of that whole debate!

    Here are 2 scriptures that come to mind:

    “Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” [Matthew 5:10-12]

    “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” [Luke 6:22-23]

    God Bless you and your family, stay strong and keep your faith! God is always watching.

    • LovesDeHorses on December 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Bless you ferg05. I have read all of these replies to Stacey, and you are the only one who refers to the bible. There is only one true God and He will reward us for following Him! Sometimes our walk is full of those casting stones, but if we remain true to our Lord Jesus Christ, He will take care of us!

  49. melody on December 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Stacy you can offend anyone if they take anything wrong someone might say. Today I believe what I believe if it offends anyone it is on them. I do not apologize anymore for what I truly believe. If I do something ‘wrong’ to someone then I apologize but not for what I believe. I guess I missed whatever you posted to ‘offend’ those who say they were offended……….Have a great Holiday season. Looking forward to you videos no matter what they contain.

  50. Jutta on December 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Hallo Stacy, Ich finde sie echt toll und würde mir wünschen das es viele Menschen wie sie gibt. Menschen die Götter brauchen, um sie anzubeten, sind schwach für mich. Menschen die an sich selber glauben und ihren Weg gehen stark und doch mit so viel Herz, die tragen einen Gott in sich .Das ist viel mehr Wert als jeder Glaube dem man nachjagt weil man selber nichts auf die Beine bringt.

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