I have been having this feeling lately. This odd and uncomfortable feeling of missing what I called a relationship with Jesus. It felt real and pure and oh so right. I had this thing that was keeping me from going back to the girl I was before Jesus. I miss those moments where I felt like I was so close to God and filled with the Holy Spirit. Those were the moments that I felt the most alive and the freest from the constraints of life.
Deep down however there was this building pressure trying to escape. I used my relationship with Jesus to mask that deep pain. Feeling that pain would have killed me and that was something I was not able to bear at that time. Using legalism was the best cover. It allowed me to be something different and not the anxious and fearful wreck I was on the inside.
I was trying so hard to keep this façade up, yet just underneath the surface I could see fragments starting to crack. Splits in the glass that was showing me that where I was being so vocal about Christ underneath I didn’t really mean everything I was saying. It was this constant tension between what was happening in my soul and who I was trying to be on the outside
I am not that legalistic person anymore, but it’s hard because I feel like I don’t have any faith. I am not tethered to anything these days. I haven’t been to church in six months and I am not reading my bible right now. It all feels too hard and not safe. I know that’s the best place for me right now. I also know that God and I are connected in our own way. There is a different feeling to it though because it’s nothing like it was when I first started falling Christ.
I think that’s where I struggle. I know I do not want to go back to the false faith I had before, that wasn’t getting me anywhere. This space I am in right now feels very strange. I don’t know how to connect with the God I know and love without feeling unsafe or overwhelmed by people in the church who really don’t understand. The lack of a consistent faith practice is troubling. My soul deeply needs consistent connection with God.
That is where I think I’m that missing that old faith. I don’t miss the legalism or the fundamental behavior that drove me to cling to rules. I miss being tethered to Jesus and having those kinesthetic, emotive feelings that were present every day. Now there is nothing, no daily connection. I know that I am not alone; I fully believe that I do not have to go to church or read my bible to experience intimacy with God. Yet there is this open feeling in the chest that used to be filled with those daily quiet times that is now filled with a couple hours of 1 hour dramas.
I am a firm believer that God sits with us wherever we are. Whether one is a preacher and our place with Him is behind a pulpit every Sunday or one is struggling deeply with how to reconnect with God and suddenly finds herself in the mud of faith. That being said I do believe He is here every step of the way, I just can’t see what the steps look like.
It took me a long time to learn that emotions and flights of feelings do not make up our relationships with Christ. I banked those old moments hoping they would get me through the tough times. When I wasn’t feeling them I was sure that God had decided He was done with me. That is how much my faith was driven by earning God’s acceptance through the work I was doing. Those emotive feelings passed and I had nothing to bank on. I was dry and weary.
I could never go back to the way I lived my faith out before. There was no outcome that was going to prove beneficial. I absorbed what I was taught and told about God and those were lies yes, but then I turned around and told the same things to other people. It affected all of my relationships and how people saw me. Things are different now, there’s softness and my views on things and what I believe have flipped 180 degrees and for that I am thankful. Actually thank the internet and all the progressive and loving bloggers out there.
I want to find my way back to a safe place where there is structure, a place where I can be in community with other people who serve and love Jesus in a like minded fashion. Not to say that differences aren’t beautiful, I long for that too. When I say like minded in a church setting I mean I could never go back to an evangelical church, which would not be safe. I’ve thought of a few different denominations that seem to have the history and service setting I am looking for.
As far as the bible goes; sometimes I hear a scripture of two and it sounds so beautiful I think I am ready to open it up. When I do I get that same rush of anxiety that caused me to put it on my bookshelf in the first place. I believe I’ll get there one day, one day when it doesn’t hurt so bad to read words that were once used in condemnation of my personal life and how I loved God.
One day I will feel that tethered feeling again and it won’t be because I’ve gone back to legalism or am seeking an emotional relationship only. I’ll feel tethered because I’ll know that I have healed and that all things Christian no longer feel like a threat.
As Always,
Bethany

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