Disclaimer: This post is going to be all over the place.
Living in tension is a weird place to be. I’ve been thinking about and evaluating my friendships a lot over the past month, but especially this week. A few days ago, I had a falling out with an old college friend over Facebook Messenger. I’ll spare you the details but he decided to terminate our friendship which, if I’m being honest, was a good thing, as we had grown apart and were only engaging in surface-level small talk. Still, when it happened, it stung a little.
Morning Wake-Up Call
I woke up the next morning thinking about it, the cauldron of friendship, once bubbling, that, now, has nothing but mold at the bottom, too hardened over the years to scrape off. Stuck. Stagnant. Silent.
It made me think about my relationship with Yeshua and how, for a while now, I haven’t been as good of a friend as I could be to Him. Case in point, I’ve been isolating myself by ignoring God and trying to bear everything on my own strength. I’ve treated God like a genie and in that, without even realizing it, I slipped into the mindset that says “If I do the good Christian things I know to do then God will reward me with good things. If I don’t do those things—regardless of my motives—then He won’t bless me.” The inverse of that is this: If bad things happen, if I plummet in my health or job, then I must not have faith or God isn’t blessing me and He is displeased with me in some way. Navigating through this tension is hard. I’m questioning myself: Are my motives for doing or not doing something coming from a place of genuine love and adoration for Yeshua or fear of punishment or guilt from the keen awareness of past/current sin patterns? How much of this is because of my sinful nature rearing its ugly head, Satan messing with me, Yahweh testing me, or an automatic trauma reaction that I need to learn how to replace with a healthy medium?
The Pain of Living in Tension
Living in tension is not for the faint of heart nor for those with a weak will.
With the cultural rise of doing everything we can to be comfortable and avoid pain at all costs, in addition to acting as if we are gods and control everything, including the culture that consistently lies to and ensnares us, it’s almost too easy to believe the masses and think that Yahweh is not good or kind or cares. This life is a daily act of balancing on a tightrope with starving lions growling beneath you, waiting for footslips or tired limbs to just collaspe in the tension of following Christ (not just being a believer) and giving in to agnosticism or worse, cultural Christianity. God is still behind and before me, holding me up in His arms and guiding me forward so I don’t fall to my death but it is not easy. Some days, I want to give up. Most days, the pangs of loneliness are too much. The “freedom” my college best friend has in her Christian-deconverted, newfound-Wiccan rituals seems enticing, not because of the specific pagan beliefs but because she’s found a pseudo-home to rest from her religious trauma that doesn’t require sacrifice or obedience to anyone but herself. Rereading that last sentence makes me super aware of my selfishness and sinful nature.
As I said in my post, If I Were to Leave Christianity, This Would Be Why, my main reason for leaving the safe haven of my God would be because of my own selfishness and desire to be God. My heart is saddened by this realization. I pray God have mercy on my soul. At the same time, I want to be honest with you, dear readers. God is worthy of praise and adoration and absolute surrender. Not because He has a giant ego that must be satisfied 24/7, but because He loves you and me. Who else would willingly die for you? I mean, your parents love you and they would die for you but they’re not God. They can’t take away the sting and shame of sin. They’re not omnipresent. They can’t hold you when you’re up with anxiety at 3a.m. Only Yahweh can. And even in knowing that, and believing it with complete confidence, my heart still wants to wander sometimes. The tension continues. May God have mercy on us all and shower us with His lovingkindness as we navigate through it.