I wrote the following several weeks ago. Things are better now, that does not change the importance of this post. It expresses a reality we don't see or hear about in our churches, and many times we refuse to express it inside ourselves. I've often said I never set out to convert my readers, just try to represent the Christian struggle accurately. Keep that in mind if you read this.
I can't sleep. Besides getting ready for some big anonymous event in my life, I feel like I'm running from God. I don't want to pray, or read my bible or anything. All I want to do is play video games, blog, watch TV, anything to stay busy so I'm not alone with him. At this time in my life, I am the embodiment of Blaine Pascal's quote,
"All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone."~Blaise Pascal What will I do? How have things become this nuts? I have went from a well-respected "pillar of the church",(oh, how I hate that phrase), to some kind of in-the-shadows slacker who tries to keep out of church as much as possible.
I keep thinking things will change, but they have not. I keep hoping some event will happen to change it all, some it's-a-wonderful-life bullshit, but it never does. Just me, and him, and this awkward silence like there is some elephant doing the Lambada in the middle of the room in a Christian Dior gown with far too much cleavage-even for an elephant. See, for those of you that are kind of "thick", that's me using humor to diffuse the subject and lighten the tone. It only works for a second, and then I have that brick-in-my-gut feeling again.
There is a guy at church who I like. He's a really sweet guy, even though I have taken him out to lunch twice and he's never returned the favor,(you can be so small AC). But he always comes up and hugs my neck and tells me he is glad to see me, he always seeks me out and asks how I am doing. He truly cares about me.
But he's just so intense, just so weird, I keep him at arms length. I never let him in, I always seem to be too busy to be his friend, and it makes me ashamed. That is how my relationship with God has become. There is not just one great big sin holding me back, there are many little ones, but they all go back to the root of all sins: selfishness.
I want my own way. I want to do what I want, but I know it's killing me. I want God to love me, but I don't want to love him back. I want all of the benefits without any of the responsibilities. I've always been this way, deep down. But I think everybody tends toward this. It's called carnality.
I know the drill, there are people in my church, and churches all over this world that would tell me what to do:
"Read the bible every day."
"Witness to one person every day."
"Memorize these scriptures."
"Listen to this tape."
"Watch this TV show."
"Pray this special prayer."
"Go to this meeting with this incredible preacher."
On and on it goes. But my answer never comes. What do you do when you have no desire to do any of those things? When you feel lazy, hurt, and without the energy to open your bible, and you don't have time for these super-abundant, simplistic platitudes that people are able to drop out of their mouth without even thinking about the effect of overloading everyone with more "have-to's"?
It seems that when people share their struggles with other Christians, it becomes the equivalent of a bunch of men who aren't mechanics all standing around a car on the side of the road, throwing out stupid ideas they heard from other stupid men who also couldn't fix a car. Maybe, we should consider that there is more complexity to a person's spirit, soul and body than the sort of barely English, simple instructions you find in an instruction manual for hooking up your DVD player. Dropping a million reasons why "you suck as a Christian" is rarely helpful to anyone...
The psalm that has meant more to me than anything else in the world comes to my mind,
"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me; a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."Hope lives on, like a fire barely smoldering.
"The whole thing reminds me of the kind of person who goes on and on and on about how great her children are and how they have straight A's and are perfect and all that stuff. Of course, she's talking to her friend whose children are making horrible grades and have all sorts of problems, but she just prattles on, either unaware or unconcerned about how this is making her friend feel.
Have you ever known someone like that? I have. And I'm sad to say it, but churches are often like that. All the shiny happy people are handing out awards and celebrating this or that. You can make the broken people feel even more broken if you're not careful. That would be bad enough, but it's even worse if you consider that the basic message of Christianity is that we're ALL broken and need help."
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine