How I Feel About Christianity: Part I

I realized something the other day.

Let me say first, that my blood pressure is rising, so I think I’ve touched a nerve with myself.  Don’t be surprised if this turns into a rant.  Please remember as you read though that I’m not a Hater.  I have the capacity to love almost any individual I come in contact with and find something I value in them.  There are certain aggregates however, whose views and/or practices I do not appreciate.  What makes it even more volatile is when I have personally experienced pain and grief due to those beliefs/practices.  That is why my blood pressure is rising.  My experience with Christianity thus far in my life has not been all positive and I feel some of my wounds are still a little raw.  On the whole, I have seen myself make great progress toward healing.  I love where I’m going “spiritually,” and I know I’ll get there someday…

I don’t know where to start except at the beginning, so here I go… Raised in a Christian home and all that blah, blah, blah.  You’ve heard the dealio… we were at church whenever the doors were open.  That was normal for us and every one we knew.  It was okay.  I accepted it as part of life without questioning.  In fact, I never questioned it at all.  By the time I graduated high school I was very well versed in the Bible and all things related.  I talked the talk and I walked the walk.  No one had anything on me.  Squeaky clean.

I should also say that I believed pretty much everything I was told.  It wasn’t that I was just going through the motions, I bought into the whole package.  I prayed “without ceasing” (not really, but probably as close as anyone has ever gotten), memorized verses, faithfully attended church, and all the related activities.  Essentially did the whole dance and I loved the “music.”

After high school I decided after much deliberation to take a year off from school to do missions with Youth With A Mission.  It was a really hard decision because what it came down to was deciding which was more important to me, God, or all the things I loved about my life (sports, piano, school, etc.).  I oscillated for many months, but things eventually came to a head and when push came to shove, I chose God.

So, off I went to Lakeside, Montana (and then Thailand) to find God.  To “know” God.

God, or what I thought God should be if I found such, was what I got.  Now, I’m going to lapse into my seriously Christian-y talk.  It’s weird sounding to me now, but I can only describe it in such terms because that was how I described it at the time and to convey the depth of what I felt I need to use the same lingo I used then… anyway…

I fell in love with Jesus.  I cried when I felt close to God and I felt close to God a lot.  I raised my hands during worship.  I could not read enough of the Bible to satisfy me.  Couldn’t talk about God enough to feel I’d said enough.  Couldn’t be silent enough to feel I’d heard enough from God.  Couldn’t listen to enough music to adequately sing my love to God.  I just couldn’t love God enough.  My whole heart was in it.  My everything.  I wanted God more than anything.

By the time my term in Montana and Thailand were up I had reoriented my whole life.  Earlier I mentioned not wanting to do YWAM because I didn’t want to give up sports, piano, and school… well, those things didn’t even enter my radar anymore.  All I wanted was to stay in YWAM(forever) and feel close to God.

So that’s what I tried to do.  I poured my heart and soul into an application for another term and sent it off feeling certain that God was pleased to finally have my full attention and be my number one priority.  It felt so good to know what I wanted to do with my life, to have a purpose and a Person with which to do it.  Jesus!  My best friend!  My ever-present companion!  The love of my life!

But…

I didn’t get accepted.

Crushed.  I was absolutely crushed.  I cried so hard.  I hadn’t cried that hard since I was a little kid and I haven’t cried that hard since.  My whole life went up in smoke in a single instance.  No more YWAM.  No more friends.  No more love.  No more God.  At least that’s what it felt like at the time.  I tried to remind myself that God was not confined to a place, but I’d never felt so close to God as I did in YWAM.  Now I was stuck, suffocating, back in the life I had originally not wanted to leave.  I lost again (I had just left them when I came home) all the friends I’d made, because now I knew I couldn’t go back to them.  I lost my life plan.  I lost hope that I’d ever be able to find another life that I could be happy in, and most of all, I lost the feeling of being close to God.  I’ll just say right now, I haven’t felt it since either.  For all those reasons, my grief was well founded.

So, what did I do?  I did what any person does when their world is turned upside-down.  I just survived.  My Bleeding Heart suffered through each day until it eventually became my Numb Heart, which eventually became my Bitter Heart, which eventually became my Hopeless Heart (I’ve talked about the depression before here, >>click to read<<), which eventually… after several seemingly long years… became my Content Heart.

*To read “Part II” click >>HERE<< & for “Part III” click >>HERE<<

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~ by Eva on December 15, 2008.

4 Responses to “How I Feel About Christianity: Part I”

  1. I concur, scars acquired from other Christ followers–whether intentional or unwittingly inflicted–in our shared pursuit of Jesus are less than easy to get over. Mine still hurt a bit. In retrospect, I think they’ve done a lot to dampen fervor I previously exhibited when pouring my heart and energy into serving local congregations.

  2. There are two lines in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If” which go:

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
    And treat those two imposters just the same…

    Your rejection by the YWAM which you felt at the times a disaster, turned out to be a triumph because it caused you to think hard about what Christianity really is, and discover its true spirit.

    By serving others, as you later did, you put into practice Christ’s saying “Whatever you do to the least of them, you do unto me”.

    God isn’t “out there” as too many Christians believe, but within. If more Christians understood this, they would see how Christianity fits in with the other religions of the world.

  3. Thank you so much for your comment. It was really nice. I really enjoy reading your blog. I am really new to this, so you can imagine my utter surprise when I saw your comment on my blog. I did not know that people knew when they where added to someones blogroll. I enjoyed this article. You put into words what I have always been trying to express myself, for years. You are a very talented lady and I truly love the way you express yourself!
    Elizabeth

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