How I Feel About Christianity: Part II

After I learned that I couldn’t go back to YWAM then only other plan I happened to have in place was going to college.  I had already been accepted and had scholarships to my hometown university, so I enrolled.  The plan was to major in music, push through in three years instead of four, then go back to YWAM.

The first year of colllege was miserable.  That and most of the second was when I was the most depressed.  It was bad.  I feel bad for my roommates now as I look back.  I was a recluse.  Kind.  But a recluse.  I tried to bury myself in my schoolwork, but as anyone who’s been depressed knows, it’s very hard to concentrate.  Anyway, I was very depressed.

I tried to hold on to the faith I’d found during YWAM, but as the months dragged on, it waned and waned.  Feelings of emptiness prevailed.  By the time I was well into my first semester, it was weak enough that the religion classes easily shattered what was left and the remnates blew away in the breeze.   I was left with nothing in the way of faith.  But I faked it.  I keep doing all the Christian-y things.  There really wasn’t any question that I’d do that, I’d done that stuff all my life.  It wasn’t going to change that fast.  Old habits die hard.

Before I go on, I’ll say that things went on this way, me being depressed, until the middle of my sophomore year.  At that point, I finally cried in front of my parents, asked if I could move home, which of course I could, and I changed my major.  From there things, inch by inch, got better for me.  Not in regard to faith or how I felt about Christianity, but how I felt about life.

I started learning how to help people (my new major was Social Work) and realized that I really, really liked that.  I also realized that I loved learning.  All types of things.  Things that I’d never, ever use, like Physics and Chemistry.  No matter the class, or even the professor, I would (and still do) become engrossed in what they’re saying.  It satisfies some deep craving.  I love it.  That’s why I love reading and am always in the middle of so many books at one time.  I find another one that is interesting and I don’t wait to start it until I’m finished with the last one/several.

Those discoveries finally gave me the allowance I needed to be able to adjust the dreams I had for my life.  I found new dreams and they actually didn’t even include YWAM.  They included continuing education (a Ph.D came into the picture) and clinical social work/counseling, eventually possibly including international human rights advocacy, professorship, social research, and so many more dreams.  My thoughts finally got reoriented.   I found my passion…  people, people, people.

Additionally, studying social work was personally therapeutic and helped me understand why I’d had such a hard time transitioning out of YWAM.  This new understanding I had nothing to do with spirituality or “losing God,” like I thought it had.  It was completely understandable from a psychosocial perspective and I realized that I’d been misled to think that 1) feeling close to God was equivalent to being close to God, and 2) both were dependent on me.

This is where the rant begins…

There are some veins of Christianity to whom it is really important to feel close to God.  They don’t say it in so many words, but in what they preach and how they live, it’s all over the place.  If you don’t read your Bible every day, pray a lot, and go to church like your life depended on it, then you are “falling away” from God.

Really??

Falling away from GOD!?!?!?

You mean that Being whom you describe as Omni-blah, blah, blah???  You must be outside your mind!  (We are going to do up-downs until Blue is no longer tired and thirsty.)  If Said Being is Omni-Anything, then Said Being would be per se… Inescapable.

No matter how much you are sinning or not… Said Being will still be there.

No matter how much you “feel” said Being (or not)… Said Being will still be there.

No matter how much you pray, or read your Bible, or go to Church, or “witness” (or not)… Said Being will still be there.

THEREFORE…

Remove head from Christian sphincter and actually do something for someone ELSE. Your continual self-grubbing really only serves the purpose of making you more self-absorbed (Christian sphincter idea again).  Turn your eyes away from yourself.  Stop being so highly concerned with your own goodness and think about someone else.  Help someone else simply for their sake, not because you get brownie points with other Christians, like Pastor Humble, Husband Head-of-House, and Wife I-Don’t-Speak-In-Church.

Yes.  I am irked.

I am irked because this hits so close to home.  I used to be exactly like that.  I used to always be trying to be good enough (never succeeding) and I used to interpret all of life through a lense of Christianity.  EVERYTHING had to do with my “spiritual growth.”   No hard time in my life could just be chalked up to that… a hard time.  God was always trying to teach (<grossly emphasize that word when you read it) me something, like “humility.”  That was always pounded into my head.

Having a cosmic purpose in times of trouble helps some people feel better about it.  But I am not one of those people.  To me, the understanding that God always had a purpose for my pain felt like nothing more than cosmic punishment, and for a person who was already internally self-abusive this was bad.  Very bad.

The whole concept emphasized that I was never good enough.  I worked so hard, doing and feeling everything “right” where Christianity was concerned, but it was pointless because I was always supposed to be working harder.  I was always supposed to be more humble, have more faith, FEEL more, read my Bible more, pray MORE.  More, more, more.

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

//

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~ by Eva on December 15, 2008.

7 Responses to “How I Feel About Christianity: Part II”

  1. I like how you’re working at this whole notion of needing to feel close to God all the time. There are certainly instances where such theology will lead a person down an inaccurate path. Fact is, feelings are something that come and go in life. (The reality of inconstants gives way to one of God’s trademarks o being constant, right?) I shouldn’t get down on myself if I’m not feeling it, whatever “it” is.

    I must’ve missed it somewhere, but what did you change your major from?

  2. I recently house sat for a woman who’s daughter had majored in Social Work and her text books were still strewn about the house. I’d never even thought of Social Work as a possible major, but after obsessively thumbing through her books, whishing I could check them out on a permanent loan, I’ve been throwing around the idea it might not be a bad fit. I took a few years off from school to work before starting college.

    I appreciate reading over your thoughts and experiences with Christianity, Eva. I use to hail from a section of Christianity much like where it sounds like you where; I got hurt, too. Some different issues, but the pain was still very real; I cracked my head pretty hard on the stained-glass ceiling, and it took several years and a lot of frustration before I was able to fine where I fit.

    Anyways, loving your blog. 🙂

    • Hey, Kelsey, if you want to know anything about Social Work, please feel free to ask. I’m currently getting my Master’s in Social Work and I’d love to share my experience with you. I’m a die-hard social worker if a person can be that.

  3. Thank you, Eva. 🙂

    I would love to know more about Social Work, but I honestly know so little about it I’m not sure where to even begin pelting you with questions. 🙂

    ~Kelsey

  4. That’d be wonderful. 🙂

    ~Kelsey

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