This is by far the most personal post I've ever made on this blog. I'm usually rather hesitant about bearing my soul to any joe schmoe who might come along, but this is necessary. Some things are driven by something stronger than reason.
If you choose to read this post, I ask that you withhold judgment of my intentions or emotional state. I am going to write about God. I am not out to preach. I am also not in some overly emotional insincere repentant state. Quite honestly, I don't care what you get from this. It is entirely selfish. I need to admit my struggles to anyone willing to listen.
A little over a year ago a wonderful friend embraced me as I walked through her door. She told me I was my beautiful and laughed a little, knowing that all was a passing state, at my tears of despair. A little over a year ago I discovered the impossibility of receiving unconditional love from my god. I had just returned from a road trip that I had taken under the pretense of a search for self and God, when really I had been running from both. I had fallen desperately in love and chose to turn my questions and fears to a man who could answer them certainly and immediately, rather than to wait for answers that did not come in my time.
It is an unfortunate event when one yields to the reception of unconditional love with man before understanding it from God. It is much easier to believe that man will fail you and have man fail you than it is to believe that God will love you unconditionally and never quite know for sure. I was never lucky enough, or smart enough, to trust God before man.
This is not some big metaphor. I did not just find salvation, or rededicate my life, or have any real turning point in my relationship with God. In fact, I was lucky enough to know of God all my life. My story is rather typical and boring. I accepted Jesus as my Lord in the 9th grade during an emotional sermon that pushed every guilt button in the room. I happily lived my life with God as my focus, but eventually felt hurt and betrayed because I felt I had been tricked into it. I began to associate God with that church experience and rejected Him on many levels, though never outright. I set out on this road trip to find God through intellect and philosophy, rather than emotion. I eventually did, but not as I had expected.
I instead found someone who provided me with the answers. When I was scared, he comforted me. When I fought myself, he fought for me. When I doubted, he reassured me. This man took the place of God in my life, though I never realized it at the time. In fact, looking back, most have taken the place of God in my life. I expect them to love me unconditionally. I expect them to rescue me from my awful tragic existence. I expect them to convince me to trust them. They do, to some superficial extent that consumes my conscious mind, and I expect them to never fail because I have now been proven worthy of unconditional love. Men fail. But there are many men, and I've always been able to move on to the next one with relative ease.
This one got me, though. This one was timed rather nicely with my actual sincere quest for God. So much so that my faith in this man was never shaken, even when he made it very clear that it should be.
My friend who smiled at my tears helped me through many a night during that sorrowful time for me. Each time we spoke she reccomended a book she had read called Redeeming Love. It was a retelling of the book of Hosea and she thought I would identify with it. I was interested, but never found it in a bookstore so forgot about it. I found God through intellect and philosophy, to the extent that is possible, and committed myself to Him in all the ways I understood.
In the year since then, I've encountered more heartbreak than ever I could have imagined. I finally let go of that god, but as I have realized just tonight, only moved onto more. When one man fails you, there are always other men. There's always someone else to tell you that you're worthy of love. They always fail when it comes to the part about it all being unconditional, but then, that just keeps you from ever really having to admit you are worthy of that love. Even though I've walked with God by my side and in my heart this past year, I still haven't accepted that part. Had you told me that yesterday, I would have laughed at you.
A month ago I was shelving books at B&N in the Christian romance section. Who knew? I came across the book my friend had asked me to read, but it was out of my budget. I put it on my mental list of books to buy and left it alone. As I left work the next day, after having been paid, I felt drawn to the Christianity section again. I hungered for something from God. I knew it would come in the form of a book, not the Bible, and I searched through the devotionals. I picked up a couple and took them home, only to never open them. That evening, I received an email from my beautiful wonderful friend asking me about God and reitering how important it was for me to read that book. I'd experienced enough impossible coincidences involving God and this friend to get the point. I went to the library the next day and found the book.
That was two weeks ago. The book has been sitting in my room unopened all this time. I read constantly, which means I often read in public. This was a romance book. Not just a romance book, but a Christian romance. I mean, c'mon. Last night, though, I'd finished my other books and decided to open it. I read all through the night until I had to leave for work. I finished the few pages I had left a few minutes ago.
Over the past year, and especially the last few months, I've been too heartbroken to think of anything other than healing the immediate pain. Recently, things have calmed down quite a bit. When you stop expecting a man to fill the role of God, it's easier to accept his fallibility and just be friends. Things are better now. I can finally think about God. And then I read this book.
The lessons are many, but they are not the focus of this post. Although, I suppose I'm not exactly sure what is. The most important of these lessons is that I can't expect a man to rescue me, fight for me (even if that means fighting me), be trustworthy, and love me unconditionally until I know God does those things. I can't sit here waiting for someone to ride up on a white horse and save me from my own destructive self until I'm willing to believe that God has already done that. I never really believed those men loved me. I never really believed I was worthy. I put on quite the show, but one has to in this world just to get by with a scrap of your heart left in the end. If I "believed" I could trust them fully, and they failed, it was really my fault. It was all in my control. And isn't that the point? The problem with trusting God is that you actually have to give up control when you finally let yourself believe.
Like hell if i'm gonna do that. I want to. Oh how I want to. That will take quite a bit more work.
So see, this isn't some big preachy testimony about how I got saved from myself. I'm struggling. I want to believe God could love me UNCONDITIONALLY. I have to believe it I ever want to believe that a man is a capable of something even close to that. But it's something of a catch 22, because really, if a lowly human won't do it, why would an amazing and all powerful God? But I'll get there. I have faith now. And I will never again let myself make the mistake of forcing man to be God. I owe sincere apologies to all of those wonderful men. I grew to resent them because they didn't fulfill my expectations of my god. I'm not exactly at a point where I'm going to admit fault yet, :) but I recognize that I owe it to them. And now I owe it to myself to at least give God a chance. If I write all this here, I can't pretend I never realized any of this and blow it off. Now I have to chip away at it. Slowly. Maybe it can wait until tomorrow.
Thank you, Linzers, for letting God work through you. I love you :)