It’s funny. I set out to create a blog where one of it’s facets existed where I examined my faith openly. Somewhere along the way, I closed off that aspect of my life here. It’s easier to keep the difficult parts of our life out of the view of the ‘public’ eye, right? I mean, I create a certain persona that I want to convey to people that don’t really know me well and even to those that do know me pretty well. I wrestle between this tension of my blog being a ‘happy place’ to share accomplishments, crafts, recipes, etc and a place to be real. But how real do you get on a blog? How far can you go? I know that is personally up to the writer of the blog, but that just places the weight on my own head. Do I want to be real with people? So here we go.
The last couple of years have been difficult on my faith. Life has grown increasingly more complex and with it, so have the uncertainties that I face. I know I have expressed my doubt here before and that my word for the year is belief, but it’s been hard for me to continue to publicly talk about my faith. I wrestle with so many concepts that are partly from my American upbringing, and partly from my misunderstanding of who God is. I have a hard time reconciling the wrathful, judging God that I read about in the Old Testament to the ‘love your enemies’, ‘turn the other cheek’ Jesus. How can God embody both wrath and love? Why does Jesus needs to save us from the God that created us (I know the easy answer is sin)? Why did God even bother creating us when he is in perfect community with himself as the trinity? Why pray when God is omnipotent? Can prayer change God’s heart even though he already knows the future? And don’t even get me started on predestination and the elect! It seems the more I examine my faith and doubt, the more questions arise.
I feel those questions and more so intensely, but also can’t seems to pull away from Christ. There is something so intoxicating about who he was/is – hanging out with children, prostitutes, social outcasts and the unclean, calling sin what it was but still living among it with so much grace. I identify with those broken people so deeply and want his healing presence in my life. I believe that he would accept me even with my doubts and I believe he is so much bigger than I can give him credit for. God is uncomprehendible, right? How could our small brains understand Him?
Really, I know that there aren’t any answers to these questions – at least none that will satisfy the discontent that lurks in my heart. Some days, the questions are not as pressing, some days I feel like God is near and the questions don’t matter any longer – I am small in his greatness. But the days where he feels far? The questions feel suffocating. How do you keep faith alive during those times? Discipline?
I think time will mellow the intensity of some of my doubts. Circumstance too. I will never be able to pull away from faith, no matter how hard I try. I also think that this doubt will stay with me for the rest of my days on this earth. Somewhere, there is a balance that I am trying to achieve between my faith and my doubt but balance is an elusive ever-changing goal.
I do know that I love God even though I don’t completely understand him and I will continue to pursue a greater understanding and living out of this messy faith through laying down my self and loving people. I am so eternally grateful that I am called to love and share instead of to know all and understand all.
I’d love to hear some thoughts on faith from you guys. What have you been encountering in your spiritual life lately?