When a Christian Blogger Doubts: Pressing Pause

The earth wears frosted tips on her assymetrical haircut, corn fields left standing and all the hay shorn. It's as if the winter has caught up to us before we're ready: frozen us in an awkward adolescence of soul growth, desires muted and minds still like the windless landscape. This is what coming to peace with not knowing feels like. Radically accepting life for what it is rather than what it should be? It sounded presposterous to me at first - for didn't I know that God had created us for something bigger, better? Time passes, and life hasn't changed much, no matter what divine inspiration I've claimed.


I've worn shame like an ill-fitting harness for most of my life. Somehow it smudges off on you - abuser wiping dirty hands right down the side of your life. And for all the bruises, visible and invisible, hope sighed out and never returned. I embraced labels because they seemed to give me an identity I lacked without them. Husband and children were my middle finger to the world. They were symbolic of change, symbolic of sameness, symbolic of my choice to re-enter a world that had chewed me up and spit me out again and again. Why do we keep revisiting the very places where our identity was stripped away in hopes that this time will be different?


Compassion is my modus operandi. I entered my profession to give voice to those who had none. But my self-talk never faltered. Yet somehow I had grown an abuser in my head who perpetuated all the pain. It was if I had climbed back into a cage through it's open door and locked myself in. I hear the truth in a Pinterest quote: "Stop wasting your time looking for the key to happiness. The door isopen and unlocked - just walk through it." It was hard to change the voices while I believed I deserved no compassion - until I realized that many of the people I'm compassionate toward don't "deserve" it either. I am compassionate to others simply because they are human and their humanity calls to the tender places in my soul; I am harsh on myself because I had been taught to loathe my body and my mind, and I was stupidly agreeing with another's assessment of my worth or lack thereof.


Changing the voices in your head isn't easy. In fact, it feels very false when you first start to try. I have a list of "self-validations" on my phone, something I can call up whenever the voices in my head starting chattering in a certain direction. Even the word - "self-validation" - grated on my long-time Christian sensibilities when I heard it. Validate myself? You're kidding, right? Because I am bad, I am worth less than nothing, the best I could wish for in life is to disappear so that what might appear instead would be good and right and truthful.

I stop and turn back to the words I've just typed because I can hear them come alive in my mind. Yes, that's what the voices used to say. But you know who taught those voices to talk that way? It wasn't divine inspiration but the Sunday school teachers, the pastor banging on the pulpit while his veins popped out of his neck, the glasses they trained me to wear before I opened my Bible. A thousand times I was told I was worth absolutely nothing without the covering of Christ, yet I don't see the reflection of Christ in the words and ideas my mind filled with in the wake of those condemnations. Because if the creator/savior paradigm is true, then he wanted me to be alive. If he is good and kind and merciful and just, he would not have created me into a life that was ultimately a failure and a fraud. Which means the voices in my head couldn't possibly be repeating the savior of my soul; if he thought I was worth nothing, he wouldn't have wasted carbon and oxygen and hydrogen to make me.

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The doubts have grown into me and I've grown into a question mark. I don't feel compelled to understand why anymore. I feel compelled only to live this day and the next until all of my days are used up. I don't want to die in a cage and I don't want my children to watch me live in one. I am only setting them up for a life of slavery if I do that. And my own life? You know, the one I used to think wasn't worth a dime? I do want to live it - truly live it, freely and beautifully and tragically and totally. It is worth something to me to be me.

I'm halfway down the path away from god, and I'm crouching quiet, trying to get my bearings. But I'm not broken-hearted anymore because I don't know the answers. I understand my place in the grand scheme of things, and I am not big enough to understand something as overarching and metaphorical as an idea of god passed down through 2,000 years and countless interpreters.

I am okay with not knowing. I am okay with not always moving forward. It is enough, finally, just to be.