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Questioning God


Sounds prideful? Outlandish? Rude? At times it really is.

When I am most angry at my circumstances is when it becomes a question of pride.  When I put my own feelings on a pedestal and my questions become more of a demand.  When I am so frustrated I’m throwing a fit, this is when questioning God becomes a problem.

It also becomes a problem when my insecurity speaks guilt into my soul.  Pride is a problem, but insecurity is like a different form of pride, or is it the same? Pride says I am more important than God, insecurity says I am too un-important for God.  Pride says I am more than God, insecurity says God is not enough for me.

When I am in a state of pride I say that my questions are more important than God Himself.  When I am in an insecure state I say God’s grace is not sufficient for my questioning.

But sometimes I get to be right in the sweet center of these two extremes. 

I am neither demanding answers nor denying the existence of my questions, but instead seeing a need for resolution.  Right now I am in this sweet center, so I want to take advantage by writing down my end goal before I swing away.

For months now questions have been creeping into my mind.  Questions that have been scare and intimidate me. They all focus around one entity: God.  Who is He, how can I know? How does this determine how I make choices? These questions started out just as empty words with a question mark at the end, but slowly became like a common belief.  As an example: how can I really know Jesus is God?  Yes the bible says so, but why should I trust the bible? Wait, does the bible really say so, or is this just information I’ve heard that I’m just accepting as truth?

I would try to shake them off, blinking really hard as if I could open my eyes and the scary monster would magically disappear.  But they stayed, throughout the day, the evening, the week, and the months leading me to today.

So now I embrace the questions (or I try to, maybe Jesus won’t send me to hell for asking them after all…)  But this brings me to another problem: I am not an expert in anything to do with religion or faith.  I have no educational background in these matters, I am a teacher with relatively few connections to the church, and no connections to experts in the church.  I am a tired, young wife and educator.  I’m still trying to survive this school year with relatively few hours in a day.  I’m still trying to figure out who I am, and what I want to focus my time on (the classroom, family, community, questioning?)

I say all of this in my attempt to count the cost.

Not that I can count perfectly prior to this journey.  But first and foremost, it will take time.  I have prayed for revelations (don’t hate, I’m tired and a revelation would take a lot less time), but God does not seem to be leaning towards that route.  I have read the bible and been confused in the process feeling alone in my confusion.  Once I tried YouTube only to be disappointed.

Now I am going with a new approach.  I have started to reach out to people who may have resources or the connections that I lack.

This brings me to the next cost, humility.  Like I said, I swing between insecurity and pride, so being in a state where I can ask my question simply for an answer is difficult.  By asking questions I open myself up to criticism (put on that helmet! Protect  yourself from the flaming arrows of the satan!).  Not only for asking the questions but also for how I ask them.  Already I have been corrected in my approach, and though at first frustrated, I realized that it was a great correction and has reshaped my approach.  But how many more times will my question itself be criticized, and am I up for this challenge?  Can my ego handle it?

I can’t count the costs  of the journey fully when I am only at the start, but I can at least attempt to, and I pray that this will be exactly what I call it, a journey.  As I step away from the bubble that I have been in my whole life, the bubble of a Christian God with republican policies, of a manGod who I hold at arm’s length, I trust that God is and will be bigger than this bubble, that His grace will be sufficient, and that He will lead me to answers.

I will be asking the following questions one at a time, in the following order:

  1. Is there a God?
  2. Which God is the God? Is there only one?
  3. Why is the bible viewed as accurate? As a Holy and True source?
    1. In specific Paul’s writing.
    2. How should one approach reading the bible?
  4. Why is Jesus special? What makes Him God? Why is He the only way?
  5. How does this affect how people make choices?  How can one be considered a follower or Christ or a Christian?
  6. Where are there freedoms/liberties in Christ, where are there absolutes?
    1. In specific, what does the bible really say about homosexuality and marriage?

If at any point I arrive to a negative answer, for example, I tackle question number one and arrive at the conclusion that there is no God, then I will stop my search for answers, as the remaining questions stem from the previous questions.

I need to also state that I am obviously biased in my search.  Not necessarily for Christianity, but of the Jewish God.   There is just something about his fierce devotion to his people that makes me love Him.  In this process I hope to grow to know Him better, and if Jesus really is, his Son as well.  May God be gracious, my husband supportive, and my heart mind and soul persistent.


 

I wrote this several weeks ago and have already begun the process of seeking answers. I am posting this now because after many many frustrating months I have finally reached a point of peace in my questions, no longer feeling angry or guilty for having them.

My husband supported this effort best while reading about the next steps I have taken:

“I don’t want to rob you of this journey, but know that I have asked these same questions before, and that I have found answers, I know you will too.  I’m here to talk when you want to.”

I hope in some way to encourage you as I am encouraged while Questioning God.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Over the past several weeks I have fallen into a spiritual slumber.  Not intentionally, I did not get bored and tell myself I don’t care any more, I have cared the entire time.  However due to the fact that I have repeatedly received news that is hard to bear my soul it would seem has grown weak.  Weak to the point where when I tried to pray, I just dropped my head helplessly, only saying to God that I didn’t know where or how to begin anymore.  Weak to the point where I started to lose sight of the truly good hope in the world, because I was beginning to get an up close look at the darkness once again.  Anguish and anger,  these things have been at the edge of my heart, knocking and wanting to enter.

But these things are bad.  Right? According to anyone in normal day conversation, or even prayer groups to bring these things up would surely be met by a “Jesus says not to worry” or and apathetic “there’s nothing we can really do, but pray.”  Or in my case a shrug with a helpless “I don’t know.”

Friday as I sat in my car and learned of the shooting in Connecticut I shut the emotions out again.  So selfishly I shut them out.  I was so tired, I couldn’t take it any more.  I couldn’t take anymore dark news.  I couldn’t hear about things going wrong one more time.  Even in a severe case like this I thought of me and closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and turned the volume down.

“God… something. I need to say something.”

And I couldn’t.  I could not, or maybe I would not, at this point I’m not sure.

Monday I began reading the crucifixion story in Matthew, and again I shut emotions out.  I read it like they were simply empty words on a blank page.  The only passage that finally highlighted itself to my heart was one I had for so long hated.

 “And as they were eating, he said,“Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Matthew 26:21

A heavy cringe came over me.  Yuck, it sounded so bibely.  So typically “christian” I just couldn’t stand it.  “Truly I say to you…”

I couldn’t stop myself from thinking why? Why did Jesus who was supposed to be such a great speaker use the phrase so much, overuse this phrase so much.  Didn’t he know that I couldn’t take it seriously anymore? Could anyone? What did that even mean “Truly I say to you.”  I am a very blessed wretched woman that I have a God that is so good when I spit in his face within my heart.

Truly I say to you, I am being honest, I am bearing my soul to you, genuinely, honestly, I am holding nothing back when I say tonight, I will be betrayed, can you imagine how this must feel?

Oh.  Wow.  Can I imagine how this must feel? Can I imagine to be love with no bounds binding myself in skin to die a painful and humiliating death to save the very people who left me after I gave to them everything.  No.

My spiritual eyes flew open, and out of a dreary sleep I finally woke up.

Truly I say to you, you are not alone, this pain in the anger and anguish that you have been feeling, you are not alone, honestly, genuinely, truly I bear my soul to you and say that I have felt the same.  Do not hide from these emotions, embrace them, open your eyes and accept the world as it is, and what it will never be: your home.

Please, read what I say write closely.

We live in a broken world,  a fallen world, a world of sickness, of pain, of wretchedness, of greed, of murder, of darkness.

Please, read what I write hear closely:

We live in a world that is so dark, innocent children are shot to death.

Do not ignore this, do not hide from this, do not dilute this with cheap worldly things that rot and become waste.  Look this dark world straight to its core and recognize it for what it truly is: twisted, broken, lost, fallen.

If it was not clear to me before it is abundantly clear to me now, this world is full of evil, and a war of evil is being waged against the good, and the worst thing I could do is ignore this or distract myself as a coping mechanism.

Feel the anger, feel the anguish.  Fall to your knees in despair and cry out to me! Cry out to me like I cried out to my Father.  Let the pain of this world overwhelm you and cry out to me so that I may love through you into this dark world.  

This is a world at war. Though the war has been won the battles rage on, and one of the worst things I could do is ignore this (the second would be to obsess over it).

I feel it in my heart God calling me to put on my armor, to prepare for battle, and to fight.  Fight to bring love into this world in whichever way God grieves my heart towards, whether that be to kids through YoungLife, to people without clean water through Living Water, to the homeless by giving of the plenty I have, I need to let my heart be grieved the way my Father’s heart is grieved and let him love through my brokenness into this broken world.

I need to reject this world as my final home so that I may live contentedly as I wait in expectancy for my eternal home so that the darkness does not overwhelm me again, so that I may fight darkness tirelessly with the light given to me.

This is not an entry that is fun to read, and it is not an entry that has been fun to write, but I write it with passion and earnestness, because I feel that this is a truth that every follower of Christ should be embracing. God promised that the world would not get better, but that up until the end it would continue to get worse, but the same God promised that he would be with us always, to the very end of the age, and therefore, till the end of the age we will live out into this world, going where before we would not have gone, to the hungry, the rejected, the imprisoned, the sick, the orphaned, and wherever God may call your heart and my heart to go.

We serve a mighty God, so we should live into this world mightily, as warriors for the King.

I could continue writing forever and ever about the reasons I am ready to stand, but I need to stop myself.  I pray that God would give life to my words.

 

 

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