Alrighty, another rather contemplative post. But as I’ve been winding down from all the stress of the school year, I’ve had the time and peace of mind to look back at myself and decipher the strange not-myselfness that I felt for the bulk of the year.
The other night, when talking with my very close friend Emmy, I realized something I hadn’t even named to myself. Perhaps I hadn’t wanted to identify it, because identifying it meant I certainly was capable of what I most feared, and that is a terrifying thing. But I was tired of putting up pretenses with myself, with other people, with God, and it was close to midnight, and well, the things closest to our sensibilities often leak out around that hour.
The two of us somehow had wound up explaining to each other all the up and downs and in-betweens of our faith over the year and it was then that it occurred to me that my faith has been almost nonexistent this year.
Not nonexistent in the sense that I abandoned it, but in the sense that I wasn’t acting on it. Mentally, emotionally, literally.
When I was little I had this terrible fear of God. Not fear in the right sense, not a healthy fear. A fear that literally took over every inch of my body. I couldn’t talk about the Second Coming. Jesus scared me. I think somewhere in my small heart I understood I was nothing compared to the Creator of the universe and I deserved none of the love He claimed to be. I kept that fear to myself for seven years of my life.
Seven years it was allowed to build and fester and corrode.
So when that finally broke down (and my goodness that’s a story, but not one for now), I still had some fear lingering in my heart. Fear that somehow I’d forget God, that I’d swing to the other end of the pendulum and drop my faith completely.
My dad used to tell me that people who didn’t care couldn’t harbor a fear like that. To be afraid, in a sense, is to care.
But as I looked back at this year, I realized that my faith had been stagnant and I hadn’t cared. It bothered me, but not enough to send me running back into God’s word and into prayer.
Maybe this is too honest, too personal to share on a blog post, but Truth is something I hunger and thirst after and I believe honesty is best for everyone’s soul. So I’ll continue.
My love for truth had and has not diminished in the least. I seek for it in everything. In making observations, in looking for beauty in the world, in looking at a piece of art, in analyzing a piece of literature. I live to find Truth.
But Truth is a person and not just an abstract concept we use to explain the way things really are.
I haven’t been seeking the person that is Truth. I was seeking an concept. I was seeking the Gospel in everything but the Gospel.
I looked for the Gospel message in books, novels, short stories, films, paintings, poems, plays, and vignettes. I read/watched/analyzed these things like they could give me the answers, like they could fill that raging hole in my heart that cries out for Goodness, Beauty, and Truth.
But I didn’t think to look in the Gospel itself, and that is what, no, Who, my heart aches for.
Sure I read my Bible, almost everyday actually. But I wasn’t reading it like it was Life. Those words, the words of that book my friends, are Life. And unless we see them as such we cannot grow in our faith.
People talk about loosing faith like a shouting in God’s face that we don’t need Him. And I agree with that, but I think often loosing sight of one’s salvation is a subtler thing found in the small choices to focus more on our own thoughts (no matter how ‘Biblical’ they may be) than on God himself.
So no, I did not turn my back on my faith this year. But I didn’t hunger after it. I still believe in God very much – in Jesus’s salvation very very much. But I cannot just sit back and say, “yes that’s correct”, when I look at the Gospel itself.
Like Grace Thornton says in her book I Don’t Wait Anymore, God cannot be the wallpaper of my life. He must be my life.
I’m tired of being stagnant. I want Jesus to be my life. I want to see the world from the lens of the Gospel because the Gospel dwells in my heart and my mind. I don’t want to live with a “soft-soap” faith, as CS Lewis says.
Don’t be stagnant in your faith my friends, but let Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, take over every part you.