July 4, 2010

this is it.

[editor's note: i didn't proof read. sorry for any type0y-ness)

so, simply put..
i have been hanging on to Christianity by the skin of my teeth for the last several years.
when i was around 17, i began to research the belief that Hell wasn't eternal.
i found there was a doctrine that not only was backed with oodles of scriptures, but that was also more congruent with what scriptures claimed & what i felt the heart of God to be.. that of Unfailing Love & Mercy (a mercy that triumphed over judgement!)
this doctrine, "Christian Universalism", stated that we'd ALL ultimately be with Him.
that like the scripture in Romans 5 "if in Adam all died, in Christ all are made alive.."
(not just people who say the sinner's prayer)
it was nice to realize i wasn't the only one that thought the teaching of eternal hell as preposterous. the next few years i could better hang with Christianity.

then around 5 years ago more questions swirled in my head.
there was a time when i couldn't handle the insanity of it never making sense..
i prayed, i fasted, i sought counsel from the best of 'em.
but no light was ever shone on my questions.
and i was never graced with a peace in the not-knowing.
so i stopped believing it all together.
i didn't put a label on it, but if you had to pick one..
i guess it'd be an Agnostic belief i was upholding.
to think that what i knew as Truth was only just a pretty fairy tale to help us make it through our days made it the most devastating and depressing time of my life to date.
where was the hope for living? what happens when we die? what about this "call" (in the words of church prophets) on my life.. this great "Destiny" with singing for him? this "anointing" that i had.

i just didn't get how an All-Knowing & Loving God would create the option of Evil for his beloved children.. or how, with said qualities, he'd even be able to manufacture such an option!
i didn't know why we were offering him Thanks & Glory for "saving" us with Christ, if this story was indeed planned out from the beginning!
i felt like we were mere puppets in God' storybook.

after almost a year of this dark night of the soul,
i heard a message at someone's church about Thankfulness.
i began to practice it.
i would force myself to speak positively. usually out-loud.
but if i couldn't muster up the energy (which wasn't unusual), i'd think positive things.
"thank you God for helping me to understand" etc..
i believe the power of Life & Death is in our tongue.
you are what you think/speak.
so naturally, i started feeling better.. i felt i was experiencing God's voice -- His pursuit.
i started to feel that He was moving through everything.
not only through sacred things like nature and children, but through random t-shirt slogans and cheesy movies.

i attributed my return to the Faith in early 2006 to a "heart of Thanksgiving".. and being more child-like with just blindly believing!
but it was only a little while until deep down i was bothered again by everything else.
but because of my emotionally intense pentecostal roots & prophets voices, and because of my very close friendship i've shared with my parents.. the thought of not believing in this Faith was devastating. i didn't want it to not be true! i wanted it to make sense!!
i've had people suggest that i needed medicine more than once.
i've had a significant other tell me i was stubborn & rebellious or wishy-washy and get frustrated with me when i presented questions.
what i realize now is, those kind of reactions only mean that they didn't understand me or the genuineness of my inner struggle.

i kept holding to the Faith because it was more comfortable to believe.
and because i WANTED it to be real..
because i thought i experienced God's presence during those intimate worship sessions, heart to heart talks, or through Joyce Meyer's enjoyable speaking.
the bible tells us to share the salvation message of Christ with others.
but how could i explain it if i didn't really get it?
the last time i led any sort of worship with an undivided heart was probably 5 or so years ago.
i haven't known how to lead people into worship anymore..
and i surely didn't know how to "share the Gospel"...
i went on a missions trip to Mexico a couple years back.
the goal was to build houses for the poor.
i was down with that.
but unfortunately we mostly did street ministry..
we were at their mall & in their "hood" trying to convince them to accept Christ as Savior..
and though in groups of 6, i was lost as a goose.
it was another realization that i didn't know why i was believing what i was believing.
and boy that makes you feel really isolated.

through the next couple years i've been, more secretly than openly, up & down in my faith.
but never like that dreaded first time it hit me.
that is, until a few weeks ago.

(for the sake of my wrists... to be continued...)

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