This is setting out to be the most personal blog post I’ve made to date. I have to think, though, that I’m not the only one who feels this way or has this particular struggle. So I thought I’d throw it out there and see if anyone can weigh in with their experiences. And if you don’t want to talk about it publicly, feel free to email me at lindaleetritton [at] gmail [dot] com.
I’ll ask that you “put your filters on” for what I’m about to share… to draw whatever meaning you can out of it.
My soul is so exhausted… to the core.
I just want to be.
God seems to have other plans.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had several significant “light bulb” moments that I’d never quite put together before. Truths about me that have struck me all the way to my core.
Are other people so much more together, or well-adjusted? Am I really that—I don’t know… deficient, maybe—emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, socially, etc? It feels like I struggle so much more than others do with the universal, eternal truths of this life, while others seem to have it so much more figured out than I do.
Or is it that everyone else is just faking it a lot better than I can?
I can’t seem to fake anything, anymore. I’m mostly thankful for that, because it’s exhausting to fake being okay all the time. It’s exhausting to try and shove myself into a box I clearly don’t fit in.
I’m realizing that no one can ever be as hard on me as I am, and that I am so practiced in the act of punishing myself that it’s proving to be a very difficult habit to break.
I’ll go way out on a limb and share one of the truths I learned about myself, just this morning.
Last night I was up late finishing some jewelry, and as I fell to sleep, a thought popped into my mind. I’ve been feeling somewhat disconnected from God and from my spiritual path in general, and I wasn’t sure why. I also wasn’t sure how to remedy that… but the thought popped to mind that I should try and get up in time to go to a place where I love the music… Bent Tree Bible Fellowship.
Sure enough, my alarm went off and I managed to get up and out the door in time for the service.
Only, I stumbled into a service that was unlike any other I’ve ever attended. It was kind of an on-stage drama of what it might be like for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
It’s a little overwhelming to think about, mainly because I’m not entirely certain what my idea of heaven is, or who I think will or won’t be there, and what my thoughts are about “judgment day”, etc. My ideas of what heaven or judgment is really all about don’t fall into typical Christian beliefs, I guess. (A lot of what I believe doesn’t fall into “typical” Christian beliefs, but I’ll get to that in a minute.)
None of that really mattered. There was a special message for me this morning, and all it required was my presence in a building where the music tends to open my heart wide, and where I tend to allow that to happen.
I think you can open your heart at any time, in any place. But sometimes, you need a nudge. And this morning, I got much more than a nudge… I was pretty much shoved off a cliff.
I realized that the reason I’ve felt so distant from God lately is because I have rejected the love He has for me… because I don’t feel worthy of it.
Even worse… I realized I’ve been ashamed of my faith. Ashamed of becoming a Christian, trying to excuse myself from the bad name Christians have given themselves, instead of just striving to live by example.
Anytime I speak to anyone about my beliefs and my faith, I'm pretty apologetic. I say, “Well, I guess that since becoming a believer earlier this year, that makes me a Christian, but—”
But, I believe gays and lesbians should be able to marry and adopt children.
But, I believe creationism has no place being taught in public schools. It’s a religious story that needs to be told within the structure of religion.
But, I believe each person has his or her own path to walk, and for me to assume or even wish that everyone ends up in the same place is not only pompous, but it defeats the purpose of spirituality, which, to me, is potentially the most personal, intimate relationship anyone can have with the divine—whatever you believe the divine to be.
But, I believe you’re not damned if you never accept Christ as your Savior. Actually, I don't know that I even believe in hell.
But, I believe developing kindness, nurturing love within yourself, giving your love to others, and recognizing how we are all connected is vitally important—far more important than how often you go to church, how involved you are in church, or how much money you give to your church.
But, I believe that humans, including (but certainly not limited to) Christians can crush others with their judgments. I think we judge out of fear, and out of what we’ve been taught, or out of limited knowledge, experience, and unexamined beliefs.
I think many of us place judgment first, and ask questions later—or worse—never ask questions at all.
In many places, judging is not only accepted, but it’s expected—even encouraged. I’ve witnessed this inside the walls of many churches, and it saddens me that judging is still so supported and even encouraged.
And I think I’ve fallen into this judgment trap, too.
Except, I’ve been judging myself and assuming that when I say the word “Christian”, I will immediately be judged by others.
Instead of surrendering, I’ve remained lost. What? I’ve actually chosen to be a victim in my own spiritual journey?
Instead of allowing God’s love to being me closer to Him, I’ve been rejecting that love—a way of trying to maintain control. Control of my own faith, control of my journey, control of my love.
What I’m getting at is… I don’t know how to allow someone to love me... I don't know how to receive that love without trying to do something to explain or excuse it away, because some part of me believes I don't deserve it.
Even if that someone (who is trying so hard to love me) is who I believe to be the most divine spiritual force in the universe.
Of course, awareness is the first step, and now, I am certainly aware…
it's dying to be free
i can't live the rest of my life
it's up to me to choose..
what kind of life i lead.
cause i don't wanna go on living
being so afraid of showing
someone else my imperfections
even though my feet are trembling
and every word i say comes stumbling
i will bare it all... watch me unfold
i will allow someone to love me
i will allow someone to love me...
- from “Unfold” by Marie Digby
There is something positive in all of this awakening. I recognize that this is really just another step in breaking free of all the confines, shackles, and chains I’ve kept myself bound in over the years. I know I’m in the process of breaking free. I know I’m in the process of unfolding.
That doesn’t mean some of those steps along the way aren’t painful…
But unlike before, I am now willing to share some of those moments. I’m not entirely certain what compelled me to share this one with you.
All I know is that we are all connected, and certainly I am not alone my thoughts here, or, if I am—then I simply offer you this piece of me, as another part of my journey, unfolding…
I’m in repair,
I’m not together but I’m getting there…
- from “In Repair” by John Mayer