Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place…..

I have been listening to one of my favorite worship bands, All Sons and Daughters, since last night.  The big deal is that I have not listened to much worship music favorite or otherwise for months now.  I have been not listening to favorite pastors or going to church either.

My distrust of Jesus and the church have kept my heart from enjoying much of anything.  Every promise, every praise every encouragement that I have heard has only served to deepen my confusion and distrust.  It is a strange thing to find that the very things and answers that were the bedrock of my faith have become the chasm that separates me from a God I was once in love with.

But the band sings and something resonates within me.  Something comes up gasping for air, begging for faith, begging for belief….begging to not be buried again.  But it is so easy to ignore and hold my breath…….because the answers are harder.

I have been going back and forth with this for so long it seems.  I am thick headed that way.  I don’t need the answers, I want the answers, the answers won’t matter anyway, but I NEED them.  I can’t trust the answers but I can’t trust the lack of answers and I can’t trust a God who’s answers will never satisfy me anyway.

Someone quoted someone else and said “if you’re going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place make sure the rock is Jesus”…….so here I am being squished like a grape hoping some good wine will come out of this.  So far though, the only thing coming out is sour grape juice……

But I listen to All Sons and Daughters and that little piece of me that is still connected to God resonates within me and for a moment the squishing stops as I lean into the rock……for a moment.

Don’t ask me why it is them that does it for me.  They are saying nothing different from any other band out there.  Maybe I just believe their sincerity more.  Maybe I believe that they have wrestled for their faith as much as I have and maybe I believe that they have won their battle and so they know mine.  And if they have battled and won and they believe and know what they are singing, maybe I can believe and know some day too.

I have always said that those of us who were raised in the world will one day have faith and belief that is absolutely unshakeable because we know where we come from.  We know the extent of the evil out there is limitless, we know the absolute of living with brokenness and pain that comes from living without Jesus.

I know where I come from and I never want to go back.  I don’t want to go back to the young woman who had no hope except what she could get using her body.  I don’t want to go back to the young woman who was prone to rage.  I don’t want to go back to a world where people are a commodity to be used to fill my needs.  I don’t like her or that world.

But I have to say that those formative years in Christ, or I should say the church kind of warped me.  I was fed this incredibly good God who only wanted to give me every desire of my heart.  I was fed a God who would grant me authority over everything and everyone.  If only I would have enough faith.  The Christians laid out this beautiful buffet of sweets of the Lord in front of me that I could have according to my belief.  But you can only gorge yourself on delicacies for so long before you realize that all the sweets have made you feel like crap and have not delivered on their promise of a better stronger life.

But by then the damage has been done and a taste for the easy God has taken hold and no matter how much you know that it isn’t the right God, you keep running back to it.  Because the other buffet is kind of hard to swallow.  That’s the buffet table covered with food you have to actually work for.  It doesn’t look all prettied up, it is not beautifully plated and served at just the right temperature.  Some of it is not cooked enough, some of it is cooked too much.  Most of it isn’t tasty.  But it is the food that will make you fit for the battle.  It is the food that will fuel you through the rough and bad time.

I don’t want either of those buffets anymore.  Well that is not true.  I want the sweet, easy all giving, all encouraging, nothing bad ever happens God.  Because the alternative sometimes hurts and it is scary.

I was watching Dr. Who last night and he asked  his companion Amy to trust him, he pleaded her to trust him.  Amy asked how could she trust him because he lied to her.  His reply was so awesome…he said “if I didn’t lie to you, I wouldn’t need you to trust me”.  Classic.

I get it.  If God acted the way I thought He should act, if He did the things I think He should do, if He would just act according to the theology and doctrine I believe……………if he were the sweets buffet where no harm could come to me then I wouldn’t need to trust him.

And so I have cut him off.  I can’t fathom the God whom I cannot trust and I cannot fathom a God who would answer my every ugly whim.

But still, when I listen to All Sons and Daughters I want to throw caution to the wind and trust a God that might allow, that in fact does allow hurt and harm.  The hurt and the harm is going to come anyway.  I live in a fallen world.  I live in a world of people who consume others to some degree or another.  I am already in it.  I wanted to be delivered from the hurt but somehow I think we Christians got it wrong again.  Maybe we are delivered through it not from it.

There is my rock and my hard place.  I push against the rock and the hard places dig deeper into my back.  Cutting me and bruising the sides of my face as I turn away from the rock.

Lean into the rock……………….yup, maybe I just will.

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What I’m Not Supposed To Say

I’m not suppose to say that I am scared.  I’m not supposed to say that I feel forgotten.  I’m not supposed to say that I am bereft and alone.  I am not supposed to say it because I am not supposed to feel it.

I am negative

I am a pessimist

I am spiritually oppressed

I am a Christian and as a Christian I am not supposed to say or feel anything other than hope and a bright future.  I am only supposed to focus on the positive.  I am only supposed to say I know I’m not really alone.

But there it all is.  Right up there, all of those words.

I fear losing my marriage.  I fear living here alone.  I fear the reality of having not left much of a lasting impression on my friends.  I fear……all of it.  I fear being to tired to fight for any of it anymore.  I fear giving up, because I know I am capable of that.

Get ready for it, but I should be accentuating the positive.  I should be proclaiming the name of Jesus over my circumstance.  The same Jesus who allows suffering……yes that one wants to change MY situation……because I am so great, greater than the mom who is dying from cancer in a beautiful way……

I am not allowed to speak any of these things.

I am not a pessimist……I am afraid

I am not negative…..I am afraid

I am not spiritually oppressed……I am afraid

And every single time you ignore me, every single time you shut me down, every single time you belittle what I feel all you end up doing is reinforcing my fears.  Every time you shut me up and shut me out the fear of our relationship slowly dying becomes more of a possibility.

Every single time I reach out and they don’t reach back, every single time I go to them and they don’t come to me it only reinforces the fear that I never really mattered except in the moment anyway.

Every single day that passes, every single moment of absolutely nothing moving reinforces the fear that God has forgotten me here.

But I am a Christian and I should not say such things, and I should not be in fear.

But before you judge me maybe you should stop for just a moment and look a little deeper.   This heart fights to believe even in the midst of evidence that says otherwise.  This heart stays right where she is  to see all of this stuff through instead of running away.  This heart slips her hand into the hand of Jesus and hangs on to her faith for dear life.  This heart may be very afraid but she won’t let go of her God or her faith.

I am strong….even in my fear

I am brave….even in the face of my nightmares

I am faithful…..even when I am so tired I feel I can’t lift my head , I lift it up and choose to try to find the face of God in the middle of it.

I am a Christian, I am afraid and I am brave, I am hopeless and I am faithful, I am strong and weak, I am all of these things and I will be just fine.