I’ve always been extremely hesitant to talk about my faith on social media/ the internet. Mostly because I’m a flawed human just like anyone else and didn’t feel qualified to sort of preach my faith to the world as if I have all the answers. But I’ve kind of hit a point in my life where God has become such a huge part of my existence that I don’t want it to be ignored or some secret relationship that I keep on the side. People are always posting photos with their boyfriends/ friends/ husbands/ families etc, so it seems only natural that as my walk in my faith has deepened, that this be something I incorporate into my public life too.
I’m by NO means trying to be a person that crams religion down your throat. If anything I’ve just learned that beyond the bags, beyond the shoes, beyond the great Instagram feeds, and incredible opportunities to travel, God really is the ultimate source of happiness and completion. Instead of this being some sort of sermon series or me talking at you about my faith, I really want it to just be a conversation about God like I have with a lot of my closest friends. I still love fashion and still plan on incorporating lots more travel, but faith to me is so much greater and too important to be ignored!
I’m not going to dive into my entire vocation right now, but I’ve definitely been at both ends of the faith spectrum where I’ve read and highlighted my bible every single day or haven’t picked up a bible or prayed in months. Good news is, I’ve learned God loves you just as much regardless of where you are, it just takes a little boost sometimes to get your footing and figure out where you want to be and where you currently are.
If you’re totally new to faith, and I don’t mean systemized religions but an actual relationship with God, I really encourage you to just give it a go! Unlike all these beautiful things advertised on Instagram.. for one it’s free 🙂 it’s #notsponsored, and I can confidently say from every end of my experiences, it’s the only thing that will satisfy your heart.
As mentioned, I by no means have it all together and am on this journey with you myself, but here are some of the tools that have guided me along the way and have made a really big impact on my walk with God and shaping my heart:
Jesus Calling: I probably have had this book since I was about 16? It’s super easy to read and offers a daily devotional message written from the perspective of God followed by a few verses to look up. I prefer the book version because it actually requires you to open up a bible, but if you’re traveling or want to go the 21st-century route, it’s also available in an app! A lot of my friends from all walks of life have had it — It’s a great place to start if you want a daily devotional! Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t read it every day. It’s a journey and we’re all figuring it out!
Hows Your Soul: Wherever you are in your faith, this is such a good, refreshing book to read! It’s written by the Pastor of my church back in LA (Churchome) and is SO good at breaking down our culture of “How are you? Great thanks! How are you? Good! Great! Bye!” ——— really diving into asking “How is your Soul?”. I shared a few peeks of it on my Instagram stories and got a lot of questions about it back when I first moved to London. It’s really easy to read, you can hear Judah’s voice through his writing, and asks such an important question that should be brought up more in our current crazy world.
Podcasts: Because I travel a ton I don’t always get to go to church, but I do make a point to listen to a sermon Podcast, at least once a week whether I go to church or not. Judah Smith, the pastor of Churchome and author of the book I mentioned above, is one of my all-time favorites. He’s so funny but really just so full of truth! (THIS ONE is one of my recent favorites, but honestly, they’re all good!) I spend tons of time in Hyde Park and love listening to them on my morning runs! They’re also great to listen to during your morning commute, whether you’re driving, walking, or taking the train or bus.
A few other favorites: ZOE (my other LA church where I had my small group!) and Hillsong
New Morning Mercies: I recently ordered this devotional book after a recommendation from Lauren Scruggs Kennedy, and so far really love it. To be honest, after succumbing to routine, I had plateaued a bit in my faith, just going through the motions, and needed a devotional that dove a bit deeper. This one is daily, offering longer devotional readings, accompanied by verses, and suggested readings from the bible to dive further into your relationship with God. It’s super easy to read and a great way to start or end your day! It’s where I pull a lot of my “Verses of the Day” if you’ve seen those on Instagram stories along with Jesus Calling which I rotate between.
The Holy Spirit: An Introduction: My friend Cara, (an actual angel on earth) got me this book right before I moved to London from LA. Growing up I knew about “God”, as I got older learned more about “Jesus”, but the “Holy Spirit” has always been a little bit more confusing to me. I definitely recommend this book as you progress in your journey of Faith. It’s completely opened my eyes and deepened my relationship with the Lord. I’m still reading, but getting to know the Holy Spirit and the actual “living spirit” of God has forever changed my life.
Bible: At the end of the day, there’s no better way to learn about God and dive into your faith than reading the bible. By all means, pick one up flip it open, and start reading until you find some answers. But to navigate a whole lot of lessons I recommend getting some sort of study bible. I still use my Quest Study Bible that I’ve had since High School, and it’s broken up into reading plans so you have some sort of idea on where to begin and how to read it. I’ve read the introduction series and am almost done with the “Every book in the Bible” series, and plan on starting the “Every word in the bible” once I’m done. As great as outside books have been in igniting my interest or sparking conversation/curiosities, I’d say the time I spend actually reading the bible has made the biggest impact on my relationship with God.
If I started from scratch, I’d love to get a She Reads Truth Bible – they’re beautifully designed and have great reading plans and categories too. The Message is another bible adapted for modern times and King James is used and referred to in a lot in churches that I’ve been to.
JOURNAL: When in doubt just start a journal. Write down your prayers, write down your thoughts, write down verses that stand out, your struggles, what you’re thankful for! Etc. It’s been therapeutic for me even when I haven’t realized it and forces me to unplug and be really present when I’m setting time aside to spend with the God. If I’m ever in a funk or in one of those ebbs of life where I pray and just feel like I’m talking to the walls, I’ll sit down, try to write what I’m thankful for, and just be honest with God and tell him what I need. Whether it’s strength, love, clarity, sleep, relief from anxiety etc. He knows it all, just ask and be you. You don’t have to put on this “Oh heavenly father, dear Lord Jesus, savior God almighty” front. He knows you, you can cut the fluff 🙂
FRIENDS: Honestly just find friends who know God and seek God! Their hearts are good, they will be the glimpses of God that you need here on earth, and will be the people who you can call at 3 am with an 8 hour time change just to pray with because you’re feeling sad or have some drama you need to rise above! At the end of the day, we aren’t supposed to do this alone! Joining a small group last year at ZOE church in LA and having a group of friends to talk about God with has been one of the greatest influences on my life! It can be really intimidating especially in today’s world, but seeking out community at church or even having conversations out of curiosity with your family, or friends, or roommates, can ignite just a little kernel of faith and God will do the rest!
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL your heart”
JEREMIAH 29: 13
This has probably been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, and I’m still working on it, but I can’t even begin to describe the work God has done in my life when I fully surrender EVERYTHING and just start seeking him, acknowledging the fact that I need him and honestly don’t want to live a life without him.
I’ve always been pretty trusting in the whole “everything happens for a reason” mentality but have definitely held onto a few areas where I’m pushing for my will over God’s, praying that he endorses the plans I have for myself, instead of trusting his will wholeheartedly.
I’m human, I still have challenging days just like anyone else, but I’ve seen that when I truly seek him with all that I am, he is alive and there- full of unexplainable love, unfathomable peace, the purest form joy, happiness that can bring you to tears, and a walk of life that is SO good!
I still really enjoy fashion and am so grateful for my travel experiences and hope to share my itineraries and guides with you, so you too can experience them, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that my true happiness, joy, and fulfillment comes from God! I know this has been a mouthful, but thank you so much for making it through and being open to this new addition on Erie Nick. My goal has always been to grow and evolve and after months of contemplation, I knew this part of me was too important to be ignored! Because I’m always saying “let me know what you want to see on the blog” I also want you to let me know if you ever have any specific prayer requests! I know it’s weird because it’s this black hole on the internet, but please don’t hesitate to reach out either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Instagram @ericaaulds if you have anything big or small that you need prayer for. I have seen miracles firsthand through prayer and the bible says it best…. “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” (Matthew 18: 20)