for life-long struggles. {part one}

Doing life in tight quarters with people who have extreme contrasting beliefs as I do has proven to not only be difficult, but also heartbreaking. Mostly, though, it’s revealed more of my depravity, and that’s a tough thing to swallow.

It’s made me stop and think:
“Do I preach all of these beautiful theories about the Christian life that I never live up to, and as a [woman] of prayer, am I selfish and rude?” {Henri Nouwen, in his personal journal}.

Gosh, that very question is hurtful, which is perhaps why it’s probably true.

So when I encounter or interact with people who want nothing to do with this God I serve and have given my whole heart to {even when it was broken and messy and complacent}, my flesh’s first reaction is to shake them, and plead with them to reconsider, for the God of the Universe awaits, and He has always been ready to “woo” them. My theories will cover their error and disbelief. Something I say or do will certainly cause a shift in their heart, right?

Ha. Wrong.

This happened recently with a guy I know who is a loud & proud, self-proclaimed “don’t even think you can preach to me!” kind-of-Athiest. Oh, how I longed to shake him, plead with him, explain to him my story and how hard it is for all of us, not just him. I wanted to justify why his disbelief isn’t justifiable, it’s just something he uses to pacify the pain and look like a macho, philosophic guru.

Uh, yeah, truth be told, somewhere deep within my ugliness I just wanted to prove him wrong, the guy who thinks he’s so smart and can one-up you in any conversation and wrongfully judged me from the moment he met me.

“Geeze, who does he think he is??”

But then reality struck and I remembered when I too was once far off. I wanted nothing to do with this “so-called-god-figure”, and He clearly wanted nothing to do with me, because He would’ve intervened by now, right? How could a “loving god” allow so much pain and suffering? “If He’s so loving, why haven’t I seen the fruit of that in my life?”, I’d beg.

Yadda Yadda. You know the questions that really become a rant.

But they’re real, these doubts and fears and rejections we thrust back out at the Universe.
They’re so real, it’s scary, and they’re valid, i think. Yet in them the worst of us is revealed and there’s little if not nothing we can do to keep ourselves from drowning in the muck and mire of it all.

I guess that’s how my own conversion really happened. I only have the muck and mire to thank. In other words, the shadow proved the Son-shine. The darkness proved the Light. The brokenness suggested restoration to be so very real there was nothing I could do about it but let it in.

Let Him in.

I sometimes still feel bogged down by the mess of it all.
That’s a lie. I feel it every damn day.

Part of me wants to list all of what I’m currently going through so you, reader, will sympathize, write me some sweet, encouraging comment {or better yet, SNAIL MAIL!}, and rub my back until I can finally stand up again. Part of me wishes this guy I know would sit down and read the list too, and ponder on how I’ve defied the odds by choosing to continue my pursuit of God, the God that created him and me both.

Part of me just wants to lament.
{And believe me, I’ve done my fair share of that.}

But this other part of me acknowledges how transient all of this is, how even the pain and suffering move on, usually long before I choose to, on to their next victim who will probably handle them better than I have, in a more healthy way, with counsel and journaling and plenty of prayer and exercise and an apple a day.

But that’s beside the point.

Sometimes we just need to stop. Stop sitting in the darkness.
Yes, even as I write this, my mom came over without a sound, and turned on the reading light beside my chair.

At first, I hardly noticed, but it’s astounding how much more clearly I can now see.

{to be continued…}

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