Monday, March 17, 2014

I Left My Faith at the Altar

    I left my faith at the altar. Not much was left, really, just broken shards, bloodied from the fight. They flew away as I drifted off.
    I've been striving a lot these days.
    I'm tired.
    Soul-tired, stretched thin. My knuckles have turned white as I cling to whatever beliefs make me feel safe.
    I don't understand; I want things to be simple and certain. I'm always inclined to believe the simplest, most obvious explanation is the truth (although quantum mechanics proves me marvelously wrong on this. Shout out to chemistry right here!).
    But musings and questions have been building for a long time now, driving me crazy with anxiety. I don't believe in a 6,000 year old earth. I don't get why gay marriage is supposedly wrong and I don't get why committed sex is wrong, either, because for the record, what defines a marriage? It varies from church to denomination to state to government. I don't get why few can enter the narrow way when there appears to be so much more complexity to life than choosing between right and wrong, and God should know this better than me.
    You know what? I'd go to hell if, by my action, every other person could get into heaven. And God sure loves people much more than me. So what the heck is up with hell?
    I should probably say that, excepting the origins of the earth, I haven't ever questioned this stuff before. I just made sense to me, and now it does not.
    This is terrifying. I don't want to be an apostate. I want to be a Christian, but it's a bit disconcerting when it's only your desire, and not your belief, that keeps you a Christian.
    Yeah. I said that.
    Last Tuesday came the sacrifice. No killing was involved; the fighting in my mind and heart had already slaughtered that faith.
    Last Tuesday I asked myself what I do believe.
    And I was like...hmmmmm.
    I don't think this life is all there is. I'm not sure what's so special about this life in light of eternity, but I do believe there's something beyond death. A part of me is like, do I believe this just because I want it? But, no, I don't. To everything that exists, there's a story and a creator, and I think that's true for this world, too.
    So, yeah, I believe there's a God, and that God is love. And good. And truth. And faith and hope, mercy and justice, because, you know, I think all such virtues are not as separable as we theorize. Plus, there's something about Jesus that draws me in. If anyone should be God, I'd say it's Him. Son of Man, a human, yet Son of God. Someone who was who we were meant to be.
    That I do believe these things, that I believe these things deep in my heart, gave me a pleasant surprise.  
    My faith had a starting point.
    The rest I left at the alter, bloody mess though it was.
    This doubt feels like drowning. Doubting, and struggling with the aforementioned questions, causes me to fear I'm not a true Christian. Because when I was in high school, I'd definitely call myself a either heretic right now, someone who was either very confused (which obviously is true) or one of those people to whom God's going to say, "I never knew you."
    Obviously, I don't want that to happen - but more from a fear of hell than love of God.
    Is this blasphemy to say? Is this sin, to question so? Is this proof that despite all my violent struggles to follow God, I am not His? Well, ha, I know it's not by my effort, it's by Jesus, but then, don't I have to choose to surrender to Jesus (which is my free choice, and it is one I have chosen, over and over, unless I'm super-self-deceived)?
    I want to cry right now, because I know some relatives and friends will read this, and I don't want them to judge me. I'm not doubting because I want to or because I didn't listen to teachings while I was growing up, because I did. I didn't only hear, I listened. And I believed. So why is this happening? Did I do something wrong?
    I worry that I'm doubting because I've valued my mind over God's sovereignty. "My ways are not your ways," etc. But what is wrong with seeking answers? And where does faith come in?
    So I let it go. My faith, that is. I shed it to the wind, abandoned it to the altar, told God He could have it. I'm not even sure what that means, only that my faith no longer in my hands. If it's real, then it's God's, and He can direct me wherever He wishes.
    I feel like I'm dangling in mid-air and waiting.
    I'm glad.
    Pardon my language, but I was so damn scared to lose this faith, the efforts and appearances of having it all figured out.
    I've shed my faith, the faith I so constructed to keep striving towards God and towards answers, the faith of fighting and certainty, and right now I'm dangling in mid-air and waiting.
    I'm waiting, maybe for the first time in a long while, for the God up there to whisper a direction to me, to show me some other way because I can't continue the way things have been. I honestly don't know what's going to come.
    But there's an ember growing in my heart that says God is not scary and, yes, questions are hard as diamond, tough as steel, but neither the asking or the answers can destroy faith. And deep down, there's a hardcore seed of belief that's not leaving, because it's not mine to throw away anymore.
    It's time to wait.   
    And so I wonder, does faith begin with waiting?

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