Posted in Poetry & Mere Musings

Sometimes It Doesn’t Work

The therapist says, “Stay with me.”

What he means is “don’t dissociate.”

Don’t let the midnight swallow you whole

and make you forget how beautiful the sunrise is.

“Don’t let his words papercut your skin

and transform it to burnt ashes

to be tossed in some lonely, cold fire later.”

He means, don’t dance with the devil, or even fight him

Slit his throat.”

 

And most days, I do.

Most days, I’m more demon slayer than distressed damsel,

more conqueror than conquest.

But tonight, in the quiet, 

I let the silence get to me. 

I let it eat my shard sliver of confidence

in a silent surrender.

 

Swinging between two worlds,

of times long past and should-be forgotten,

and of the times here and now,

with the therapist and my trauma I can’t trample.

 

And God says, “My grace is sufficient 

and my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

God’s grace is sufficient

and the therapist tells me, “don’t dissociate, stay here.”

Are they mutually exclusive? Complementary? 

Like a wing’d creature still moves 

through the azure sky with hurting wings, 

I can still be made strong in my weakness.

Maybe the therapist was right.

Perhaps God knows what He’s doing. 

All I have to do is trust the process.

 

But that’s hard right now.

So tonight, I’ll cry and wash away 

the trauma with tears and trepidation,

wake up in the morning, and scream into a pillow.

Because sometimes, it just doesn’t work.

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.

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

The Bible Does Not Promise Converts

I just read a personal account of someone who was telling of the importance of church in their life. When speaking of their daughters’ stint from church, they said this: “During the time they were out of church, we worried about them, but the Bible had promised that they would return to their faith.” (Emphasis added). That rhetoric rubs me the wrong way for two reasons: 1) That’s not Biblically sound and 2) it’s reminiscent of cult language.

The Bible does not promise that a child will not fall away from its parent’s faith if taught a thing properly and consistently. That ever-quoted verse in Proverbs is not a die-hard, one-size-fits-all kind of saying.

Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

If this verse were an absolute truth, there would be no need for free will or personal choices. Christianity would be naught but a robotic, mechanical faith with no love as a foundational structure. If this Proverb were to be taken literally, then why is there recorded in Scripture the charge to “work out your own faith with fear and trembling”? If this were true, then atheists and agnostics, as related to the Christian faith, would not—could not—exist, as the application of that verse would make it impossible.

Furthermore, beyond the desire for a spiritual legacy to be left for their children, the writer is implying that the maintainer, so to speak, of a child’s faith, and salvation, is solely on the parent; and should that child walk away from the faith of its parents, then the parents have failed, as a result of the child’s spiritual exodus. In addition to bad theology, that is just blantant grounds for emptional manipulation and abuse. Besides, though we do have a part to play in our relationship with Him, it is God who upholds and maintains our salvation.

Having a relationship with God is a personal endeavor. She who seeks God must come boldly to the throne of grace, and she must come alone.