Sunday, March 08, 2009

Honesty

This is a difficult post to write, and I will most likely regret it. I guess I just have some stuff to get off my chest. Tonight our worship was focussed on Peter's confession of Christ. Jesus asked him the question, 'who do you say I am?'. I say that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of the world, my Saviour. I am and will be eternally grateful for what He has done for me, the grace He has shown me. Additionally I believe two fundamental things about God.
  1. God is completely loving
  2. God is completely just

However, there are some practical things about that which I just don't get - which I really struggle with. I noticed a lot of them tonight. There are three main ones I want to discuss here:

God gives us strength.

One of the main focusses of tonight was God's strength. There was a time of testimony where people were able to express ways that they felt God's strength in their lives. I love testimony, its so nice to hear what is going on in the lives of the people I worship with. Tonight though, someone mentioned that there are times where they feel really frustrated about situations, but when they remember God, even in those situations an incrediable peace comes over them and they are able to get through anything with God's strength.

The problem is there was a time in my life when I decided to do something a bit different and I found it incredibly difficult. It was emotionally crippling for me. I struggled through every moment of every day during that time. I prayed a lot and read my Bible morning and night, and prayed so hard with tears flooding down my cheeks that God would give me the strength to get through it. To get through the next day, or at least the next hour.

I hate putting it so bluntly, but I have to be honest and say I never felt that strength. It became more and more difficult for me and I had to give up. I don't think I have ever really got over that. I just don't get it. Why do Christians find it so easy to say 'God gave me the strength'? Am I the only one who has had an experience where that doesn't seem to be the case?

I love God and I don't want it to seem like I am questionning Him. Over the years I have talked with people about this a few times, and there are a number of possible reasons for this happening that have been discussed, but I don't want to make excuses for it. I don't want to be someone who says they believe something and then makes the circumstances fit. I want to be able to talk about my faith from my experience, not from what I believe in spite of my experience.

God gives us what we need

I wont go into this one too much. I guess people who know me well will know what I mean by this - and those that don't can probably guess. Its just hard sometimes when you say you believe that God gives us what we need, but there is something you really struggle to be without. You try to rememeber that all that you really need is God, but then you end up feeling guilty for wanting something that you don't really need. (Especially when there are so many people in the world without even safe drinking water). Then other people tell you that actually its ok to want it, and then you just get confused. I guess what I am trying to say through all this babble is why do I say I believe that God gives me what I need when I feel the way I feel without it?

God's light breaks through the darkness

I do believe this. I truly do. I guess sometimes the eternal truth of that statement is hard to see when you are trying to live in the present. Sometimes the dark times go on for such a long time, its hard to see any light breaking through, or even when it will. Singing songs about it is so emotionally difficult when in the here and now you feel so different to that.

I guess I have really openend myself up here and let out some of my most poingant feelings and now I feel a bit vulnerable and dont know whether to post this or not. I don't want this to be a woe is me type blog. I guess I just don't know what to do with this stuff anymore, and I think most of the people who read this are good enough friends to not judge me for it or think less of me. I am sorry for this -I just refuse to be fake, and sometimes I feel like a hypocrite singing these songs when I feel like this.

5 comments:

Rachel said...

Am SO glad you refuse to be a fake. I'm with you there. Off to bed now but will post more later in the week. Love you too!
xx

Anonymous said...

Hello love. I think it's good that you've been so honest about this. As you know I also find it really difficult hearing cliches banded around, albeit sincerely for people who do experience it, but for people who don't, it's hard.
I'm no authority on anything but just for the sake of offering another perspective, re: the time you 'gave up', maybe that experience was God trying to say, you don't have to be perfect/good/able to do EVERYTHING to be valued/loved. I'm so bad at Bible stuff but the only thing I can think of at the mo is when Jesus said to the disciples that they could shake the dust off their feet at places where they weren't listened to. He could have said, have strength & stay there & eventually you'll break them down. But instead he saved them a bit of hassle & told them they weren't going to work miracles everytime. I know this is different to the 'feeling' (sorry - I know you hate that word) of having or not having strength, but that's probably another debate xx

Kirst said...

Thanks anonymous. You have got me so figured out! I think you are right about the difference between actually getting strength and the feeling of strength. I guess the issue for me is that I don't feel it and I don't know how to deal with that.

By the way, that analogy of the shaking off the dust was incredibly helpful. Thanks so much. I will keep that one in mind.

Love you! xxx

Rachel said...

Hey Kirst. I have been reflecting on your blog the last couple of days, so here's hoping some of that will be useful!

I certainly don't feel God's strength with me all the time. As a fundementally flawed human being I continually doubt God's intervention in my life and struggle immensely with the tasks he has set me to do. Can I tentatively suggest that your 'testimony' individual may not have experienced the same level of suffering and trial as you have? Certainly in the most difficult times Job was livid with God for not being there and giving him what he needed. Experience is what counts in our journey with God because otherwise what we 'testify' to is inauthentic, rubbish, false.

As for needs, well, I do not believe that all our needs are met in God in the same way because I believe that God as part of his purpose allow us to meet one anothers needs. Particularly in relationship. He created us for relationship with one another as well as with him and it is the result of the fall that many of our needs now go unmet. This is tragic, incredibly painful and basically sucks. I'm not saying it is God's fault, only that God grieves over our needs not being met as much as we do.

How can we possibly suggest that God meets everyones needs? What about the baby who is left to cry, the abused child, or as you mention the thirsty. There are needs that are met in him - our need for relationship with God is the obvious one, and ultimately we know that although our needs may not all be met here they will be in heaven. Still, we don't get everything now.

Part of our job in dealing with those things is to grieve and mourn for what we do not have, cannot have here on earth, needed but didn't get, still need and don't have - because we may not get those needs met. And to pretend we didn't need it, or don't need it, is denying the wonderful plan that God had for us that was messed up by sin and humanity. It is ok to feel crap about it because it IS crap.

I would go so far as to say it is part of our call as christians on earth to mourn for what has been lost in the fall. We are called to grieve for what has been destroyed - this is why Jesus wept over Jerusalem, this is the job of the prophet, this is the only way that we will work through these things to the new thing that God is doing in us.

The dark night of the soul is a tough place to be. It is a journey though, and part of that journey does require the night. Screw the singing of those songs - sing from the heart, from where you are at. That is true worship.

Can I also say well done for being so real and authentic. It is refreshing to hear a voice that speaks the truth

Love you tons,

Rachel

Pam Mc said...

Kirsty, what you write is always valid and worth reading. I too am glad that you refuse to be fake, even when it obviously hurts you to be so honest.
Continuing to remember you in my prayers even though we don't see you much, or hear about you even, these days!
Take care and keep blogging - I find you so inspiring!