Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

On the Rare Mornings I Feel Too Much

On the rare mornings I feel too much, my heart slams itself against my trachea and the world nestles hard on my esophagus. It is not unlike a hummingbird flinging itself against a still, sharp, rain-washed window.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, my breathing collapses upon itself, repeatedly, like someone squeezing my cheeks together in a vain attempt to release the smoke inside. Breathe, baby but I can’t. I never can. My brain is on the fastest merry-go-round and I fight to not faint. I fight to remember and remind myself that I am more than one of PTSD’s lovers.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I feel like I’m betraying J. somehow. I hear his voice instructing me to balance my thoughts, to breathe, to speak truth aloud, but this merry-go-round of death is too quick, too cunning. It knows my soft spots and how to exploit them, so that all I want is to curl up cat-like in my bed that’s always a little too warm—even with the fan on—and never move again. It takes an act of the supernatural to not be afraid on a morning where mantras and breathing techniques prove themselves inadequate. Maybe, if I statue myself, he won’t find me.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I wonder why my friends are my friends. I question if they only tolerate me. They tell me they love me, but warn me, as subtle as a caterpillar crawls up the flesh of a human arm, to “get over” my trauma because it’s been seven years and “don’t you wanna move past it?” It is seemingly trite advice for a body—a life—massacred by trauma and memories. Or maybe, I’m just projecting my insecurities into places they shouldn’t be.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I hear my mother quoting the Bible, the part that says, “Be anxious for nothing…” and I want, ever so much, to body slam both her and Jesus.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I throw myself into the jaws of theology to let my analytical mind escape the acidic rain of my tortured hippocampus, the part of my brain that loops trauma memories on repeat like a good 90s song. I can’t be PTSD’s lover when I’m reading A. W. Tozer and C. S. Lewis.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, the world keeps moving. No one cares. People walk and drive to work, to church, and to the bar. Children are picked up from school or ballet or karate. Wives try to remember who they were before they became mothers, and husbands cook a meal most chefs would envy. I wonder what Heaven tastes like.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I force myself to cook breakfast, if for no other reason than “my body can’t survive without food.” I watch the sunset in all its glorious wonder and eat whipped cream from the can. I fight to remember and remind myself that I am not one of PTSD’s lovers, and that trauma doesn’t own me.

Posted in Christian Life & Theology, Stuff No One Talks About

Prone to Wander

As the sacred hymn goes, “…Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love…”

Can you still “rescue me from danger” God? I’ll be honest: I don’t really know what to say to You. Part of me wants to leave, to go find an alternate route to freedom, to acceptance, to salvation, but according to Your Word, there is no other way. “No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus declares.

Why is that so limiting all of a sudden? Why is that good news not good enough anymore? What happened to my faith? My passion and desire? Were the burning embers of the fit pit just for that moon-stricken night in November? Was I lying to myself? Did I rush the process, not give myself enough time to doubt, question, search for answers, find truth?

It is surprising to me—and maybe it shouldn’t be—that since my return to Christ, I have had far more questions and struggles than answers or reprieve from my intellectual and emotional demons/vices. I keep yearning for the days and results of blind faith, but those days are long behind me. Even I could not—cannot—deny that You have given me a gift—a measure of intelligence. Please, Lord, don’t misunderstand me: I’m grateful, for it allows me to engage others, and You, in a certain way and on a certain level but it seems like the older I get, and the more stressful and complicated life gets, this gift is becoming—at least in my eyes—more of a curse than a blessing. I have already had a tumultuous time accepting, actively receiving, and giving out unto others your grace. And my level of intellect did not—and does not—help my current situation.

I want to leave You.

That’s a scary place to be.

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love…” And what is it that keeps me from taking that frightful step back out into the spiritual wasteland of abhorrent nothingness? “Even while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.”

So why then, knowing that, do I still long to leave Your presence? That’s the question, isn’t it?

I don’t have an answer for that. I want You but simultaneously, I’m terried of You.

That’s even scarier than just wanting to leave.

God, please help.

Help my unbelief.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Alone by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Posted in Christian Life & Theology, Stuff No One Talks About

Living in Tension

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.