I Know This Much is True

I recently started following a blogger who is clarifying some issues in my heart regarding faith and its place in my life.  She writes with deep thoughtfulness on things that are difficult, even  incendiary, and she does it gently and compassionately.

Many people of faith, myself included if asked a few short months ago, might argue that issues of belief are not pliable.  They are what they are; we are not free to reinterpret our “holy writ” to suit our human needs.

But the Bible itself indicates that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

Language is necessarily inexact.  Definitions and translations only take us so far.  Some things are about a truth that cannot be gotten at through factual information.  As Marta says, “I think things can be true that aren’t factual. Perhaps the most true and meaningful things are story and metaphor.”

I suppose I should give some background here.  See, I became a Christian a few years ago after an extremely difficult time.  I had been hospitalized a few times over the years for mental illness, and had drifted in and out of wellness to varying degrees.  I realized I was jeopardizing my relationships repeatedly by leaving before my partner could beat me to it, or simply by making sure he would want to leave so I could affirm my belief that I was unlovable.

I see my complete surrender to belief in Christ and the Bible as a filling of a need I had had most of my life.   Here was a man who would most assuredly never leave me and never hurt me. I suddenly saw all the problems that came before as issues that were done with.  I would never need to address what had brought me so low, nor would I ever need to fix it.  After all, I had what I was looking for, right?

But occasionally, I would behave or react in ways that indicated underlying problems had never left.  My sense of worth was still nonexistent, except to the extent that I thought God loved me.  I threw myself into parenting my children with a husband mostly absent due to work and an extended army deployment.  I became a controlling, overbearing woman in the context of my kids, because I had such a great need to feel I had influence over something, and because I thought they were the only good thing I had ever done.  I meticulously watched what they ate, I planned menus, I fussed at in laws about indulging them or simply not knowing how to make healthy choices.  I would weep over sweetened fruit  juice.  I became furious if my little one was given chicken nuggets.

I’m not saying health consciousness is bad, simply that my overreaction to things indicated I was still not well.  I felt I had to  give my children these high standards to live up to, and that if I made a mistake, all would be lost.

Over the course of the last year, the reasons for these choices and feelings have become clearer.  I have made some devastating, self-destructive moves that I might never really forgive myself for.

However, I have also learned a lot.  I have learned that I was all too ready to become one of them. Those Christians that made me want nothing to do with Christ when I was younger, who were only interested in being certain of something that no one ever can know.  My need for black and white answers, and my inability to navigate grayness, caused me to become someone I’d always despised.

I do not wish to bare my beliefs to the general public.  It may be that I don’t even have the words to do so.  But I know this:

Repetition works.  Repetition works.

In prayer, in using the same ancient words our ancestors used, in meditative focus, we tell ourselves that everything is going to be okay.  That we are loved.  That we have value.

If I take nothing else away from delving into theology, at least I know that our seeking, our craving acceptance, is a human universal.  We all look for meaning where we are unsure of any.  We all yearn for ritual, for connection.

And most of all, for love.

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2 Responses to “I Know This Much is True”

  1. Thank you for opening up and for your thoughtful post. It gave me a lot to ponder. Also, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comments.

  2. hey you, this is brave and beautiful. as with life in general, there is nothing easy about faith, but it can be simple. love and hospitality, gratitude and joy and openheartedness. forgiveness, that’s big. being gentle with ourselves and others. i look forward to continuing this conversation!

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