Saturday, May 15, 2010

More of the same, sorta

So I'm probably beating a dead horse, but since I'm still struggling and trying to sort out my life right now, I need to write about what I'm feeling and struggling with.

And, basically it's this: I'm incredibly frustrated with my spiritual life right now. I'm too tired to be "actively growing" in my relationship with Christ, physically, emotionally, and spiritually right now. I don't want to be like this, I really want to be growing closer to Him and keeping my eyes on Him instead of on my own self and my problems, but in all honesty it's just hard to look up right now. When you're sick a lot (or at least this is true for me), it's hard to look past yourself and how awful you're feeling. It's not a whiny "poor, pitiful me" kind of deal, it's more like being beaten into the ground and not being able to look up. (I just spent a really nasty week with something called "ischemic colitis" which causes lower abdominal pain and passing blood -- not fun, and I mean, seriously, what is with all these stupid illnesses coming one after the other?) I want to move past all this and be able to get back into Bible study and be really praying for others and all those things that are important to me (as well as to God!), but I just feel so stuck, like, as I've said before, wandering in the wilderness and I can't quite figure out how to get back on the pathway. I just seem incapable of focusing on deep stuff right now.

So, okay, I should just "rest in God's love" then until this season passes and I can crawl up out of the pit again. But I can't even seem to do that. I know in my heart, in my head, in my soul that God loves me. But right now I can't FEEL it very often and that makes it darned hard to "rest in His love." And I halfway feel like I'm abusing the gift of God's grace because I need it so darn freakin' much. Which is silly, but I grew up in a pretty legalistic church, and even though I have begun to realize that it's not about rules with God, it's about His unconditional grace, I still feel like it's possible to take advantage of that grace (in a bad way) and use that as a sort of excuse, or that I'm cheating to just depend on that and not be more actively doing things. Like right now, with all this sickness in my life, I feel like I should be thinking this: "God is refining me right now. I may not like how He's doing it, but I can trust that He knows what He's doing, that He is doing whatever it is He's doing for my ultimate good and that I can just let go and trust in His love and in His ways." Voila, right? Resting in His love. But I'm not there right now. I spent the better part of March yelling at God about the strep, then finally got over that and realized I do need to just trust Him, but even though I'm not mad at Him anymore and I have a certain level of trust, I am definitely not to the "Oh, goodie, this means I'm being refined and am growing as a human and in my trust in God" stage. I'm pretty much in an exhausted, beaten into the ground, boy-would-I-like-to-give-up, God-I-can't-feel-You-and-I-desperately-need-to phase.

I also have a lot of things I need to forgive, and as I've mentioned before, I have no idea how that works with some of the people and things I need to forgive. I am just totally clueless how to make that work, how to do it. My pastor says I just need to forgive them because I know how much God has forgiven me. But the sad thing is, I don't have a strong sense of just how much He has forgiven in my life. I've been a pretty good person all my life, with a couple of exceptions that were way back in the past, and I'm not connected to just what Jesus has done for me that way. I hate that! I feel so ungrateful and shallow. But I think for people who haven't had gigantic, horrible episodes of sin in their lives, who have pretty much just committed what the world thinks of as "small" sins, it's hard to grasp that it doesn't matter the magnitude of the sin, ALL sin is equally abhorrent in God's eyes, and even just one "tiny" sin is all it takes to separate us from God and make us unworthy. Nobody is good enough to please God and have a relationship with Him. The only way we can do that is by accepting the work Jesus did for us on the cross. It's only because God sees us through the "curtain" of Jesus' atoning blood that we can come to God and have a relationship with Him. It's kinda like God puts on His "Jesus glasses" to look at us. Fortunately, the "Jesus glasses" are permanent. But what I'm trying to say here is that I am no better than anyone else, and so I should be able to realize that and forgive others as God has forgiven me.

Except that that's really, really hard.

Guess that makes me a pretty selfish person.

Anyway, those are the things I'm struggling with today. Among lots of other stuff.

I'm too tired to work on anything today. Deeply, face-down on the battlefield covered in blood kind of tired. I so hope God understands that.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Well, it has been awhile!

I've been through a lot in the last several months, mostly health-wise, so I haven't really kept this blog up as I had hoped.

As far as I know, none of my health issues are life-threatening, but they have certainly screwed up my quality of life to the point that I am at the absolute bottom emotionally and spiritually. I am overwhelmed, tired, frustrated and depressed. I feel as though I have lost myself. Not as in "eternally damned" lost (I believe my salvation is secure), but as in "wandering in the wilderness" type of lost. I feel so far away from God right now, and I also feel like my mind is just not in a good place. It's hard to work on your spiritual life, your relationship with Christ, when you can't think well, and when you do think it's not incredibly positive or rational. I sorta feel like I need to start over, just need to get back to basic truths. I haven't been to a Bible study in years (partly because of my chronic fatigue, partly because the praise team I'm on rehearses during Sunday morning Bible study, partly because our pastor stopped teaching Sunday Bible study, and he was awesome ... the guy who took over was not). I feel disconnected from all the things (spiritually) that are so important to me.

My pastor (who my family is good friends with) sent me an e-mail the other day asking if I had ever forgiven the boyfriend who emotionally abused me in my mid-20s. I have, of course, but it never "sticks" well. I'll think I've forgiven him and then something from that era will pop into my head and I'll have to wrestle with it again. It's not as bad as it used to be, and I've had counseling for it, but I don't think I'll ever get over the scars it left. I think I don't fully understand what forgiveness means. In my head, it includes absolution, as in "That's okay, don't worry about it." Or as in "I know you didn't mean it." This guy left me broken, bruised, shattered and scarred emotionally in such a deep, all-consuming way that I could never possibly say, "All is forgiven" in that smiley, happy way that I think of when I hear that phrase. I need to know how to forgive what he did to me while knowing I can never absolve him of destroying my life at that time. Something I need to work on.

So ... I know I need to do something, find some way of re-connecting with God. I'm just so tired, and tired of the struggle. I have begged God over and over to heal me, yelled at Him because He didn't, then repented of all that because I know He is God and He is sovereign, and His ways are not my ways. But I think that, in all that struggle, I got so beaten down that I can't even get back to all the truths I know about God. I mean in terms of "feeling" them, in grasping them all and applying them to my life. I am burnt out from the struggle. I definitely love God and trust Him as my savior, still. I just don't know how to get out of this wilderness.

I am so thankful for the verses that remind us that, even when we are faithless to Him, He remains faithful to us. (I don't know where to find that verse -- I tried, but didn't find it searching under the phrase "he remains faithful." But it is a real verse, my mother quoted it to me just a couple of days ago and I know I've seen it.) I need heaps of His grace right now!

Edited to add: Well, duh, I just went and read the post I made before this one -- I didn't mean to almost exactly repeat a lot of what I said there. Maybe I should read my last post before I post a new one!