Sunday, April 28, 2013

Death of religion...birth of faith

I feel that in my process of coming to know Christ, I need to put my own religion to death.

When I define religion for myself, it's that particular view of God you develop very early on, from your parents, from your own view of yourself and the world, and from the culture in which you find yourself.  For better or for worse.

I guess before I saw God as a disapproving type.  Kind of like my dad.  With high, unrealistic standards.  One who is keeping close track of how much you pray to him or do the right things (or wrong things).  Sure I know God loves me too, but I didn't realize that HIS love is quite different from the love I understand as a human.

As I moved into college, my mind was introduced to a God who IS pure Love.  I read books like Abba's Child, where I see myself called His "beloved".  My old image of God was beginning to break apart, and that was a good thing.

However, I think God knew that I still had other preconceived notions about our relationship that needed to be dealt with before I could grow even closer to God. That I may have had the "head knowledge," but it hadn't migrated down to my heart. Maybe I'll expound on that in another post but let's just say that the past 5-6 years has been constituted of several "little deaths" in which I find myself broken, emptied and much in need of God's presence. Not hymns and prayers and bible studies (although one can certainly find God in those disciplines) but simply the awareness of God's very real being. Instead of finding space to let God fill the void, I'd been filling it with everything but: including religion. Please note again that I'm not saying we should not go to worship or read the bible or even pray, but I think that sometimes even our religion can get in the way of our growth in faith. And we have to acknowledge this when this we can stop and be still, and "know that The Lord is God"

I can't do this alone...part of this for me is realizing that I need other people to point me in the right direction and remind me of these simple truths. I truly believe that faith doesn't happen in a vacuum. But I first have to pull the trigger. God does not force His way into us. I daily have to let Him put my self to death so that I can be renewed in him.

More on on the specifics of this in my next post.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wanderings of the Soul - new(old) blog focus

While I have not been writing in my blog lately but I've found that the purpose of my blog has morphed over the years.  It used to be a run-of-the-mill write-about-everything sort of blog, then in 2010 I repurposed it for my Pic-a-day project.  It has since gone back to the underutilized multi-purpose blog with which I began.

One of the main topics I keep coming back to is my faith.  My messy, not-so-fleshed-out at times, sporadic, sometimes inspired but deeply important to me, faith or relationship with God.  Some of these writings have been very important to my processing of life events and how my faith plays into the grand scheme of my existence.  So I think I'm going to focus now on my faith journey and write about what I'm processing at the moment.

I understand not everyone prescribes to my kind of faith or even any faith, so if that is you, please know that I may be talking in a language that does not make sense to you.  I'm creating this space to help affirm my own spiritual wanderings and to actively discover and ask and listen and stretch and grow.  I welcome any honest questions as I believe they are all part of the process and journey, but please know that I'm likely not going to change my overall standpoint on where I think I should be with this...just as I would not try to throw my way of thinking on to you!  Please read with a grain of salt, and I hope there is some intersection of understanding where we can connect and relate.

I have been going through a bit of a spiritual desert land.  I mean, it's been filled with many great faith-filled people and events, but in my everyday life, it has reached this sort of staleness.  Part of it may be self-inflicted, but part of it is a serious bit of questioning what I had previously assumed and really, it's just that the mechanics of it have fallen apart for me.  It's hard to pray.  I'm scared to ask for God's will since I don't know that I'd be willing to go there and "give up" my facade of control.  And yeah, I'm not really sure what to think about "God's Will" either (who really does?). :)  I've never really doubted the existence of God, but I have doubted God's presence.  I want to know in my head AND heart God exists and is fully present.  Right here.

So here it goes.  To keep a sort of standard, I'm going to try to write here 1-2 times a week, more if I'm feeling particularly motivated.  Why write in a public blog as opposed to a private journal?  Well frankly it's because of the accountability part.  Even if no one reads this, the fact that it's in the public eye, will help me to keep pushing forward.  If other people are struggling in similar ways, it would be really comforting to get some feedback and encouragement...and maybe it will help you too!

The only path forward is straight through the tough bits... they are what make us stronger in the end.