Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I am going to expose myself....sorta.

I have been at a loss for where to start with this post...for a few years. I kinda don't want to talk about it at all but at the same time I want to share because it has become who I am.

You might hate me after this or think I am nuts. Well those of you who really know me think I am nuts anyway so what does it matter! If you still choose to be ok with me I am honored.

I don't want to drive any of you away, I love you all but I think it is time I came out with it.....I am emotional saying this because I feel like I am opening a little window into a very fragile place.
I guess it is a little soul bearing and it makes me feel really vulnerable. Like I want to shut down e-mail and comments and twitter and instagram and fb and no more texting either because I am afraid what people might say. I am so far from perfect and that is why. I am on a journey and keep failing and slipping and don't want everyone saying, "Look at you, you screw up, you are all talk, look at what you are doing!!" I know it, all the stinkin time, I guess it should keep me more humble the deeper the holes I dig.





Anyway, I am going to share.
I have been on a spiritual searching kind of trip for a couple years now. Asking myself questions, searching the scriptures. Figuring out what I really believe. I have done this before, well I thought I had but it is different this time.
The first time around was 10 years ago. I was 20 and was ok  thought I was ok to explore and check out everything around me. I wanted to get a feel for the world and a feel for God and wanted to figure out what I really wanted. I read the Bible and prayed and did the opposite too, complete opposite.  I wish I hadn't, I still have hurts and experiences that haunt.
In the end I decided to live for God and that was that, I felt empty and fake without Him there.

Now it is different. I still believe in God but my soul has longed for a deeper connection. To know God. I started to read the Bible as if I had never seen it before. I pushed away all the quotes and teaching that I have learned over my life time. I wanted to really see what it said to me. I studied what went on around the time that the Bible was written and then the time that it was put together. I wanted to know what influences might have spurred on certain words in translation. Who where the people that translated it and the history behind them. I studied holidays, and customs and traditions. I have a really hard time with Christmas, Easter and everything in between. Christmas and all the stories that you hear of how it started, bawh!! Dig a little deeper! Will this change how I celebrate it. Yes, it has. I thought I could not celebrate it at all a couple years ago but we are working on what is ok or not for us still. that is a trip in itself!


So I still have a ton of questions but the more I read and pray the more the Lord reveals to me. I have to be quiet and listen for His voice. I hear it, something I only dreamt of. I am pretty good at missing it too.

The funny and strange thing about this journey is that it has made me less inclined to go to church or be a part of any group. I want to just be. I get discouraged going to church...I have for the last 15 years. I think that we don't hold each other accountable and hold God back. My questions have been swept under the carpet.
I want to go for the fellowship and to encourage and be encouraged. I enjoy the time to worship God but also feel dragged down by those there. Not saying I am perfect, ha, I am sure I am the same way to those there. None of us are prefect so I can't expect anything more. I just feel like we all get a little fake when we go to church. Not raw.

Then I started to question why I hung out with certain people, were they influencing me in any way? I also questioned Bible teachings.

I became disappointed in institutions and people. I should never have looked up to them in the first place and maybe I didn't really but I still had expectations.

Am I confusing you yet?

I feel like I am talking in code to spare feelings and I probably make no sense.

Anyway, I wonder about passover and keeping the sabbath. I wonder about the breaking of bread and how loosely it is interpreted by many. I wonder why more women don't cover their hair to pray...is it not also for the angels sake?...the hair is not a covering, reread the passage....it is a veil mentioned as a covering in the original translations. I wonder why some men don't cut their hair. I spent a year studying this passage and digging history on hair and coverings and then I wondered why paintings of Jesus always depict him as white with long hair. According to history he would have had a bowl cut as that was the custom then and of course he was a jew. Then I wonder if I need to get less vain and wear a covering all the time, we are to be praying without ceasing aren't we? Some people say that that was an issue from that time period....well then if we can say that expired then we can choose to disregard anything else in the Bible right?
But that is neither here or there and my struggle with the issue is not anyone elses so I will move on.  It does not affect our salvation and that is what matters the most. We also are no longer under the law so why do I get so trivial?!
 I wonder why we put so much emphasis on the cross when He was most likely crucified on a steak. Crosses in history were satanic. I question symbols that people hold onto. Every cross pendant or charm I have ever owned or been given has been lost or gone missing. I don't normally ever lose things. Just these seem to disappear. Does it become an idol or what is it for me, a place of pride? I thought it was a small proclamation of faith at one time but I don't know now.
 I wonder about the way pastors are lifted up in churches above other gifts.  I wonder about true heart worship and the leading of the spirit. I wonder if we could have less tradition and worship from a deeper place within. I wonder why we don't get real with the Word.

My dear husband has been on a journey too. He became a Christian after we met and has had a lot of soul searching too. For him with a fresher perspective he has struggled even more. To him Christianity is black or white, there is no room for grey. I have searched out the grey my whole life!
But that grey area is also the most dangerous...it can also be lukewarm.

So things have changed in our home. We no longer have TV, well no signal or cable. We have the actual TV but it is only for movies and they have to pass the test.
Are they glorifying to God? Is His name being lifted up or cast down?  Will I be encouraged or be dragged down? Does it show something that I would be embarrassed about if Jesus was in the room with me....He is in the room so I should think about this.
I never realized how much the little things drag a person down until we cut ourselves off. I was so terrified of loosing TV and before we moved in January I watched as much as possible so the withdrawal wouldn't be so bad.
Ha, dumb! I haven't missed it at all. And I feel lighter and more at peace and we were pretty careful about what we watched already. It was like we took a big chunk of the world out of our home. Weird. I am by no means saying that everyone needs to ditch their TV, this was an issue for us...it was one of our grey areas so it went. So did certain music and books. We still have a long ways to go though, we are always finding that we need to let something go to strengthen our walk and sometimes it is really hard. We still hold on to things that we know we need to let go of. And there are probably things that others might question that we haven't even thought of!

So then we come to friendships. Everyone is on a different journey and going through different things. Some people are spiritual and some are not, what do we do?
Are our other Christian friends dragging us down and discouraging our walk with the Lord? Our call to separation? It is easy to look on the outward appearance and forget that God looks on the heart...we don't know what might be going on below the surface. Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in other peoples problems or issues and what they are or aren't doing. Or are we encouraging and lifting up those around us?
To be friends with the world is enmity with Christ. Where do you draw the line? Do you draw the line?What is your testimony...do you have a testimony? Do you love your neighbor as yourself and judge not lest ye be judged? It is sometimes easier to be friends with the world because it is clear where they stand. To be friends with God's people is a bigger challenge because we are stumbling blocks to each other more often than encouragers of the faith.
Harder to say than do and it has been something that I have been learning for the last few years. Just to love and not judge......just love love love and shut up already! And you know what, after a bit it starts to stick and despite what you would want to normally think you just start to see things in a new light and see things just as they are and be ok with it. It is not my place to judge people, their actions might be something I don't agree with but I can still love the person and not the action. Christ loves us even when we are the most unlovable and wicked and dirty. He takes us in His arms and forgives us and cleanses us. I need to be the same. His light needs to shine through me.
And you know what....I kinda suck at this. I forget that I am to love and not judge and say stupid stuff I wish I could shove back in my mouth. But then I remember and pray. I am learning. Slowly.

Am I doing things for my approval, my friends, my family or co-workers....God?

What about fashion? Modesty? What is modest and what isn't? What is socially acceptable and what is God acceptable?



I struggle with this....I really do. I believe I can be modest and still seductive so then it becomes a matter of how I act as well. Where people struggle is on different levels and I still want to please my husband and not be frumpy....we have been there before and he NEEDS me to be kicking it up a notch for him...and truthfully I find it fun to do so! But how do I do this without going overboard? Is this something we need to work on big time as a couple?

At the same time I wonder if all these things that I wonder about could just be a big distraction. We live in the day of grace and what matters is the salvation of souls. 
We can be distracted with a million things that take our focus off the Lord. Where should our gaze be? How do we refocus?

The pleasure of dabbling in sin is short term and the consequences are often forever. Pain that can last a life time and into eternity if we don't get right with God. And what have I learned? That living for God actually feels better, I am happier! You might think I should be miserable, sin can be so fun right?! But I am more fulfilled and at peace than ever. I am surprised too....I can only imagine the deeper I get how much better it could be!

I am finding that my faith demands more. But at the same time I feel like I am still at the beginning of a huge journey, like the Lord has so much more in store and I am holding him back by all the little things I let get in the way. I want to be more like Him but I know it takes time too. I am learning little by little as I go on.

You might laugh when you read all this, you know how I am and might wonder why I even think all this stuff. Ya, I told you I have a long way to go!!

And I fight myself on it too! I am rebellious by nature and want to do what is the opposite to what anyone thinks I should do. I find it hard to give in and submit yet at the same time care enough about what people think to also get held back. I am a conundrum!

Now I am going to quite writing. You can see a glimps of what has been going on around here lately for a couple years.  There is so much more still too. When I look around and it seems that most other Christians are fine with anything I think there might be something wrong with me. Have they been through this already and have come full circle and found out that everything is ok? Do I have a lot to learn or what?

So far I am learning that my faith....



And I will leave it at that.

If you feel inclined to comment please remember this is just what I am going through. I know we all are on different journeys and wherever you are is fine with me.
Peace.

13 comments:

Brooke said...

This is not a comment. This is simply a hug. No more, no less. Praying with you...not simply for you, but with you. Because we all struggle, don't we. Love.

Hannah said...

I commend your bravery and honesty for sharing so openly here about your journey. Your personal experiences and your testimony can never be taken away from you. So just remember that, if anybody ever tries to knock you down or speak negatively into your life. I will pray for you, that God will continue to show you what he wants for your life, and that you will continue to hear his still, small voice. We're ALL on a journey, just at various stages. And we all struggle at times. But we must LOVE each other! I agree that it is so important. When love and unity among believers are present, everything else will follow.
HUGS!

Glenda said...

This all made me smile :) going through a lot of this myself lately - better late than never. ((Hugs))

~Holly~ said...

Well said, sister. :) A lot of that hit home with me. You're just brave enough to share it with the world!

The Chatty Housewife said...

Anna I am praying for you and this post was such a good reminder that there are others to pray for as well, including ourselves, that we would search the scriptures and strive to be the person God means us to be, regardless of others or our surroundings.

Ann said...

Sounds like you are on the right path. God does not expect us to be perfect, for only God IS perfect. He expects us to strive for perfection, knowing we will never reach it, but become better for the striving. Thanks for sharing. We all need a little kick in the butt now and then to stay on the right track.

HotRodHanna said...

I hear you. My life took a similar path. We'll have all the answers someday and it will make perfect sense. Every struggle, joy and pain is molding us into something spectacular for Him, totally unique, with a totally unique purpose. Not to be compared with any of His other people.

Amydeanne said...

Anna... I think I've erased my answer about 3X now.. let me just say your post really is touching, and I can relate a lot to it.
Thanks for putting it out there for us to read. Some day I'd love to share my testimony with you! Hugs!

Jen said...

I don't think I could agree with you more!! I love you!!!

nicole said...

demands my heart , my life , my all.

i hear you.

something i have been trying this week is getting on my knees twice a day, by myself and God and giving Him my burdens. i got thinking, "what if i get on my knees...start and end the day on my knees, what might happen?" it was God nudging me and so far I feel His grace in a new way.

Blessing to you and your lake house and babies.
xo

Kedge said...

That is the bravest thing I have read in years! Thank you for trusting...thank you for that. Shannon sent me here to read this, and I'm glad she did. You will always, always have a special place in my heart. You are part of my memories of Regina. Don't ever apologize for growing in the Lord. Don't ever.

Jaime said...

I wanted to comment a long time ago, but didn't...I just wanted to say the perfect thing. But instead, I'll just say thanks for sharing. It was a post full of rich insight, truths and honesty. Openness...blessing - thanks for your vulnerability :)

homemom1001 said...

We already talked about this in real life, but I was just re-reading this and it reminded me that we are supposed to have coffee.....
love you!
C