July 23, 2012
Matters of Faith: Wandering
Posted by Steph
It's been quite a while since I've shared another post in the Matters of Faith series. Perhaps that is due to the fact that not much has changed since my last post. Maybe it's because I'm still struggling, still undecided. But the matter of faith is never far from my thoughts, and I think about faith (and my questions regarding such) on a daily basis. Like, multiple times a day.
Over the past year, I've shared a bit of my religious background, how I came to struggle with the "Why Factor," and why I hit a lot of walls when it comes to Christians. I still find myself angry, frustrated and wrestling with these issues. I feel because of where I am, I am not really identifying myself as one of faith.
Yet, I agonize over where I am currently.
The best way to describe where I am is wandering. But not in a happy-frolicking-in-the-meadow-let's-smell-the-flowers-under-the-gorgeous-blue-sky-as-we-meander kind of way. Rather, I feel like I am in a dark and unfamiliar forest, the path beneath my feet is uncertain and gives away often. Every tree I see looks the same, the trail seems to run me in unproductive circles and every corner feels foreboding. I don't like this kind of wandering, because it is unsettling. I'd rather just know: know what I believe, know how I'm supposed to live my life, know what is right.
But I don't.
You see, I still pray. Daily. I'm not sure why; perhaps it is just familiar. It feels right to pray. And it feels good, the way a massage feels good on a sore muscle, but for the soul. But if I think too much about prayer, about God, about truth, my mind gets overwhelmed. Because I am faced with all the questions, all the frustrations, all of the jagged edges that I cannot make fit together. When I think too much, faith seems nonsensical or incredulous. When I let my mind crawl over the truths I used to know, God is suddenly either impotent or cruel. Neither attribute I am comfortable assigning to him, but I don't know how to see it any other way.
Somewhere along the line, that which gave my life sense no longer makes sense. And that makes me feel panicky.
I don't feel animosity towards faith or God. It's not like I cringe when my friends want to share what they are learning in their faith and how they are growing. I really like hearing those things, because still understand those things. Those things still resound with me. Most days, I miss my life of faith. I feel like I have failed the teenagers I shared Christianity with for the seven years I was a Young Life volunteer, the people who used to look up to me as a woman of faith. When I was following Christianity, my life made sense and I was most happy. I miss the comfort of knowing the direction my life was going, the certainty of what was to come. I despise the feeling of yearning for my faith, yet feeling completely let down by it. It is unnerving to be unsure of those things. It's uncomfortable to wander.
Yet I believe: Not all who wander are lost.
Truly. And not in the bad excuse kind of way. As much as the bible has become foreign to me, I can't unknow all of the words and stories that had become familiar to me over the years. How many people had wandered: in the desert, away from their people, away from their calling, away from their faith? And how many came back around, albeit circuitously, to the truth they had always known all along? Some of the most compelling people in the history of Christianity had these seasons of wandering. And I hold onto the strange hope that God did not leave them.
So while I long for Christ yet can't bring myself to believe or understand Him, I am not worried. Nor do I think that God is worried. Because I believe that if God is who He says He is (and IS), He knows exactly where I am going.
And He'll meet me there.
I hold on to that hope.
Because nothing would bring me more joy than for faith to make sense again. Is that a possibility? Absolutely. But there are a lot of things that I need to reconcile, questions I need answered and hurts that need to be healed before that journey begins, if it were to begin at all. I know if I find my way back, it won't be the same. I will know God differently, and I will look at Christianity, at the world, differently. And perhaps those things can't co-exist.
We shall see.
I'd love to hear your thoughts: on faith, on God, on my journey, on your journey. However that looks for you. So leave a comment. Let's talk.
Filed Under: Matters of Faith