When a Christian blogger starts to doubt

The night slowly fades into day as the gray on the horizon turns pink. I lie in my bed, alone, watching the dawn appear. Life is like this, I think. We are in the fog, in the dark, and we can't even remember what the sun looked like; we have given up believing it will ever return. Like everything else that comes and goes, leaves and returns, the cycles of the mind, of emotions, are so vivid that you forget they are part of a cycle.

Time: 11 p.m. f/1.8 ISO 1600 ss1/6"

The nightscape of life is like an impressionist landscape. You're groping in the dark, but every now and then the most incomparable beauty lingers in the night sky.

It is hard to know what to write as I go through this darkness yet again. Therapy is pulling off layers almost frantically now, and underneath I find someone - me - who has never defined herself without thinking in the context of others. When I was hurt as a child, I did the thing that came instinctively to me: I became a protector, a helper, a healer, a listener, a friend to the broken. This is how I became a nurse instead of a doctor: I need to help, to heal, to listen, to befriend, to advocate, to know people. It fills up the empty space where I suspect my "self" is supposed to be - and fills it up with something admirable, good.

Time: 730 a.m. f/4.5 ISO 200 ss1/2400
These days I feel like I am constantly "faking it". I am afraid that, when the light comes again after this season of doubt and depression, I won't recognize myself. I am afraid of what all I might be pretending about. I am afraid to discover what is left after this debridement of the inner self. Will it be bloody and battered? Healed and scarred? Will I ever be able to claim accomplishments, compliments, love as evidence of my true self?

The doubt grips so hard that it has squeezed the big G right off the name of god and I am foundering in disbelief, disillusionment, even anger. I went through this when my heart was at it's worst in college. At that point, I needed to claim my faith for my own - not just because it was my family's faith, or because it was the way I was taught. But because it was what I believed.

This season, though? Instead of watering my soul like it has whenever doubt has crept in before, the Bible reads as a law book, misogynistic, sardonic, even malicious. Prayer feels fake. Who am I praying to? Right now, I'm not praying to the God I believed in for 30 years. A line sings in my mind: "I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing/ Just prayed to a God that I don't believe in". I just don't want to be alone in the universe, and so the words still sometimes flow.

I don't know what the future holds for me, for my family, for my faith, for this blog. It seems inappropriate to spew my disbelief onto pages that were set apart for the glory of God while I still believed. I hope this is a season of doubt, and not a life transition. I hunger for your thoughts, your comments, to hear of your struggles. That by one dim flame, my own dark candle may be lit again.

O lord I think I'm falling
To my disbelief
I'm cursing like a sailor and lying like a thief
It's hard to heed the calling from the better side of me
When I'm blaming everybody else and no one's coming clean

O lord can you see my thick skin wearing thin
And the demons of a lesser me are beckoning me in
Those who gathered 'round me - I'm watching them all leave
Cause I am my own ragged company

You can take a trip to china or take a boat to Spain
take a blue canoe around the world and never come back again
But traveling don't change a thing, it only makes it worse
Unless the trip you take is in to change your cruel course
'Cause every town's got a mirror and every mirror still shows me
That I am my own ragged company

O lord it's lonely, lord it's mighty cold
And I don't want to live this way
Afraid of growing old

It's hard to heed the warning when you cannot see the crime
The only way to remember is to forget in a rhyme
And I'm scared to tread the red road that leads to Galilee
Cause I am my own ragged company

Five Minute Friday