If Satan asked to sift Peter as wheat I feel as though he may have asked to run me across a cheese grater. Seriously. You know how you have a nice whole block of cheese and then you run it across a cheese grater? What happens to that whole, solid and firm block of cheese? It is turned into a pile of seperate bits, completely unwhole. Just little bits and pieces scattered about. I feel that like spiritually.
I cannot even fathom how I got to this place of being completely unable to do Christianity anymore. I want to do it. I just don't know how to do it anymore.
I feel like there is this huge battle being waged in my mind over whether the Bible is even all really real or not. This from the girl whose read the dern book several times and teaches classes. Well, not anymore. I feel myself having to fend off thoughts that the whole thing is just a bunch of bull poop. It is horrible. Unbelievably horrible.
I am so grateful that I have had so many experiences with that God that I can fend that off. I know He is real. I have experienced things and answer to prayer that was so specific that there was just no way it was anything other than God. Prayer answerings aside, I have experienced Him in ways that I know for a fact that he is undeniably real. Thankfully.
Why don't I know how to be a Christian anymore?
First, there is an out for every promise in the Bible except salvation and even a lot of Christians will say that your salvation is contingent on staying in relationship with the Lord and you can lose your salvation by not worshiping. So. What do you do with that? I'll get more into the outs in a sec.
Secondly and most importantly, I have always been taught that I should rely on the Lord for everything. He is my source and strength. He is my healer. He is my provider. He is my help. He is my shield. I should walk in His ways and He will make my paths straight. He is my light. He and the Holy Spirit are my Counselor and Teacher. If I seek Him with all of my heart, I will find him. Let's just have a little lookey at the good old standby of Jeremiah 29:11 &12.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (New King James Version)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Here's the rest...
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
We all just love Jeremiah 29:11 but I have always thought it was important to include the rest about doing it with your whole heart part too. BUT, I ask myself this question now "What if that Scripture was not for all of us?" "What if, that was only meant for the Israelites who were in captivity at that time that those words were being directly spoken to. Because that was not a blanket statement made by God. He was directing those words to a specific group of people, the Israelites who were in captivity and God wanted to bring them back. What if it was just meant for them?"
Here's the real deal. I have spent years and years believing that if I put God first, worshiped him wholly with a heart of just wanting Him & not what He could do for me but just wanting Him, and being a sweet little Christian girl, trying to follow His will for my life that God would direct me. He would take me down the path I need to be on. He would help me. He would give me wisdom when I need it. He would give me knowledge when I do not know what to do or how to understand something. I don't think doing all that allows me to have a life that is a bed of roses because my life has never been roses. I've never had it easy since I left home at 16. NEVER. So, my confusion is not that I do what the Word says I should do and my life is not a bed of roses. My complete and utter confusion is that I do not find any of that to be true in my life. The above promises.
What I have come to realize is that I have to do everything for myself. I have to rely solely on myself for every little thing. AND, everything the bible teaches me says the opposite. That God should be what I rely on. That I should look to Him and what I see is that the only thing I can look to is me. So, if I am trusting in myself how am I trusting in God? If I have to rely on myself for everything what am I relying on God for? If I am my only source of security based off my own decisions and actions then how is God my security? I mean seriously, this has really rocked my Christian world. I have come to realize that the only way you get anything is to get it yourself. The only way you have security is to secure it yourself. The only way is by ourselves and I see absolutely no favor or help extended towards Christians. What I see is people get what they have based on their own personal decision making and actions, not by having a pure heart of worship and putting God first and then God guides them to give them that peace, hope and a future like Jeremiah says. Jesus talks about wanting to give us an abundant life. Why do so many Christians lives suck then? Which leads us into the out for all the promises which highly confuses me. I'll do this if you do that. Oh, well they aren't really devoted we say....those promises are only for those who passionately pursue God daily. Well, I know plenty of people including myself who do that and our lives suck too.
Then we have this out, my favorite out, God does not promise our rewards in this lifetime. OH, okay, so all the stuff in the Bible that talks about anything good is meant for when we get to Heaven. Okay, well not true. There are plenty of references about God and Jesus caring about our welfare right here on this earth. God seemed to love to bless and give abundance to the people in the Bible.
This out confuses me too, I will have mercy on whom I choose to have mercy. This tells us a lot. There is no blanket procedural standard for which God deals with us. We are all treated differently. My last post on David vs. Moses I really started to deal with my confusion over how completely differently God deals with each of us. Two people can commit the same sin and be dealt with completely differently. One can commit a sin we may think is pretty minor and forgivable and have to die for it. Another can commit adultery, murder, etc and get to be king and thrive in abundance. So if we are all dealt with differently how can you look at a scripture and reasonably assume that if you follow it that it will apply to you? Because lets' face it too, most of scripture is being directed to a certain people or person. What was being said may have actually been just for them.
The root of this is the horribleness of what happened at my last church and us having to leave. The effects of my old Pastor's actions and the congregation continue to shake my Christian world. So, my old Pastor gets to nag and drive someone away from the Lord and my husband has to be hurt, have no community connection to the Lord and gets emotionally destroyed and the Pastor gets to continue on and thrive. Why is that? Why? What I see is no dealing with us at all, I see us doing what we want and the results we get are based off what we do and nothing else. I see people have good marriages or bad marriages based solely off the good or bad decision making they did when they chose a partner. I see people thrive or fail based solely off their own personal decision making. And what about that Christian community anyway? Not one phone call, not one anything from anyone asking what happened to us? I poured my whole self into prayer and study and listening to the Holy Spirit guide me as I wrote the ladies bible studies and the ladies who came to the ladies bible studies told me how much they loved them and that they impacted their lives. They all loved to tell me how much they loved me. Bull poopy! I disappear and not a word. So, wow, thanks for loving me people.
Then I look at how my husband and I are struggling with our business and how hard my husband works and I ask myself.....where is the favor of the Lord? Why doesn't he help us? It's not that I even want Him to do something supernatural and make us rich or anything. I would like a little help, a little protection. We are plagued with people who continually cheat us, don't pay us, take advantage of us, and want everything in the world for nothing. I have served and put God first for years and years, where is our abundant life? If we want anything we have to use our own wisdom and go do it for ourselves. We work, with the exception of the last 2 years where I work from home for my husband I never worked less than 50 hours a week and that was the minimum. So, never let it be thought that I just want to lay around and wait on God to tell me what to do and then I go do it and he blesses the poo out of it. I am not like that. I worked like a freakin animal my whole life. I'm not sitting around waiting to be blessed. But what I have come to realize is that my life is not what it is because of anything I do with God or my faith. My life is what it is based off of the people in my life, the decisions I make and the people I come into contact with and nothing else.
So, what I am supremely confused about is what role God has in my life here on this earth. I have spent all day every day focusing my trust and direction coming from the Lord. What I see is that I have to do everything myself. So, if my happiness, my good marriage, my finances, my parenting all are based off of me, my decisions, what am I relying on Him for? I have to do it myself and I have spent years and years believing that I should rely on Him and not myself. That my security should lie in God and not me and my wisdom. But what I see is that my life is great or stinky because of my wisdom.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 is my life scripture. I personalize it and say it all the time. I will trust in the Lord will all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I will acknowledge you and you will make my paths straight.
I am not supposed to trust in my own understanding. I am supposed to trust Him and believe He will guide my path. I should place myself in His custody and rely on Him to take me where I need to be. Well, I've done that and still am not on any path that is good and beneficial for me or my family. The only path I can see God has taken me on is a spiritual path. He has guided me to places that I could do His will in church or help others. What I also see is that perhaps this path is a spiritual one and not a worldly one. Perhaps, what happens to me worldly wise is based off my own doing and what happens to me spiritually is based off my faith and interaction with the Lord. I am not sure. What I do know is that my life is hard. My life has always been hard. I know I honestly can say that I worshiped out of love and sought the Lord just because I wanted more of Him. I wasn't looking for results. But, I do get frustrated at the fact that I see promises in the Bible and I think I fulfill my part and yet, I do not see the promise. All I see is the out for the promise. I see mean nasty people, even mean nasty church people thriving and beautiful people inside living crappy hard lives.
So, my realization, my reality is that I can no longer live my life placing my entire trust that whatever happens to me is in the Lord's hands and rely on Him for everything in my life. I don't know how to do that. And, if God is the supreme ruler of the Universe, if He is sovereign and we were created for relationship why wouldn't He be fully involved in our worldly lives. I am just supremely wildly confused as to what part God plays in my life. I don't know how to worship relying on me and trusting in me and also trusting and relying on Him. How do I do both? How do I know whatever happens to me is based off my actions and yet place my life in His hands? I don't get it. I don't know how to do both. Was I taught wrong? Did I understand the Bible wrong? Hmmm, I have no answers. I can't pray and I don't anymore hardly at all. I pick up my Bible still a couple days a week. I am torn and a wild hot mess. I just don't know how to not look to Him and me. I just know how to look to Him. UGH. Well, let's see how this goes. It should be interesting.