As I sit here, I literally have no idea what I want to write about, only that I have the urge.
So much has changed in my heart in the past month, that it’s really too profound for words. Well, my words anyway. I guess I’ll tell you about where I was so maybe where I am now will make a little more sense.
A month ago, my main emotions were frustration, anger, and rage. I had built walls around my heart in an attempt to protect myself from being hurt again. It’s so ironic that in trying to protect myself, I prevented myself from healing, and blocked the love that was there all along.
When you build walls, you fuck everything up. It’s like I was trying to keep the bad stuff out, but during the building process, the bad stuff was walled up inside me, and couldn’t get out.
It was like putting a band-aid on a wound that is festering and infected and oozing shit everywhere. It was one of those things that needed to be aired out and maybe have some maggots put in it to eat away the dead flesh, and there I was with my piece of latex, a little gauze pad, and no triple antibiotic ointment, trying to take care of it myself.
By keeping it covered, I was allowing it to rule my life.
The weird thing is [well, weird to me, anyway] I was angry and hurt and aching and oozing shit everywhere, and I was honest with God about my anger, but I never hated him. I didn’t understand why I was going through so much garbage, but I always really wanted to believe in the God I met when I first became a Christian.
When i first gave my life to Jesus, I was so filled with love and energy. I was young and stupid, so I spewed it everywhere, including on people who might have responded better to a smaller dose of my enthusiasm. Heh. Live and learn, right?
Somewhere along the way, I started putting humans on pedestals, though, and I guess maybe I fell into a little idol worship? The idolatry, if that’s what it was, was never intentional, though. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do, and no one ever told me different.
I looked up to the pastor of the church I was going to, and since he obviously knew more scripture and had a college degree under his belt, I followed him without question.
I see now that it was the ‘without question’ part that may have screwed me all up. Of course, later on in the relationship, I did start to question, and it wasn’t long before I fell out of favor with the guy.
That was the hardest part for me. I’ve never been much for following blindly and ‘because I said so’ will only work so long and then I’ll start giving you shit, or decide you’re full of shit, and move on.
It was different with him, because I loved him very much. I have an excellent father, but the pastor was like a spiritual father, and so I felt very close to him. My own dad never withdrew his love from me, and the Bible says that God will never leave or forsake you, so when the pastor of the church did just that, it fucked me all up, you know?
The wound apparently went a lot deeper than I thought. I guess because I had seen the pastor as a father figure and God is called the Father, I placed the pastor’s actions and motivations onto God. That pastor wanted to control his congregation with an iron fist. He tried [unsuccessfully, by the way] to beat us into submission.
I don’t know how others reacted, but since he was my first pastor, I didn’t know that what he did wasn’t typical, and my heart broke. That sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I was shattered, and it messed up my relationship with God in a big way.
I think I internalized the rejection from the pastor and expected the same from God. So I wanted His love and acceptance more than anything, but I believed that He had taken it away from me.
The only thing that kept me from turning away from God completely was the fact that I knew Him, sincerely and in such a way that it’s one of those things where you tell a person who has never experienced what you have, “You’ll know it when you feel it.”
I had known Him, and I knew that he was out there, but I couldn’t find him anymore. I tried for years to re-connect with that first love, and I couldn’t.
It wasn’t something that I intentionally did, but as the damage to my heart grew through the emotional abuse of the pastor, I didn’t realize what was happening, so I just noticed that things weren’t like they used to be. I couldn’t feel God’s presence as strongly as I had, and I didn’t know what the problem was.
I went to the pastor for help, and all he said was, “That just happens sometimes.” I searched my heart for sin, but there really wasn’t any rebellion that I knew about. I tried to figure it out, but what was happening to me was so insidious that I just couldn’t put my finger on what was going on.
Part of it was the legalism that the pastor was teaching. When you try to ‘obey the law’ you get really judgmental and it just sucks. If your list of ‘don’ts’ is longer than your list of ‘dos’, you need to rethink your priorities.
I can plead ignorance and be truthful, because I honestly didn’t know better, but damn I was annoying, and probably damaged some people with the garbage I was taught.
So the legalism [which is another name for judgmental asshole-ism] was a definite barrier between God and me, but once I got out of that, I still couldn’t find Him anywhere.
I’m dragging this out, but it’s partly so I can try to figure it out, too, so bear with me. We’re in therapy, here!
See, I’m thinking that wounds inflicted by others can create barriers between a person and God, too. It’s not that God put the barrier up, I did it, and I know that, but I don’t think my issue was so much a ‘sin’ issue in the sense that I was doing wrong and knew it.
I was confused and hurt and forlorn and lost, and it was because of something that had been done to me, not by me.
I prayed, literally for years, that God would show me what I needed to do, or that he would bring someone into my life that would show me where I had gone wrong and help me get back on the right track.
I wasn’t faithful about it, but as I searched other religions, I kept praying that if I was on the wrong track, that He would change my direction. I just never let go of the hope that I could find Him again in this big mess, and what do you know?
Today, things are more clear to me than they’ve ever been. I’m still an idiot, but I’ve learned some amazing things in the past month. I can talk to people about God and not feel like a liar or hypocrite, because the walls are gone and I can hear him again, and feel him again, and I know now that he never left me, but when I built my wall to keep the hurt out, it kept him out, too.
He was always there, though, waiting patiently, and chucking a little love in through the cracks in the mortar so that eventually, I would tear the walls down willingly and finally be completely unprotected, but completely safe in His arms.
I’m absolutely in awe, and totally humbled by God’s love for me, and I hope and pray that I never forget again Who it is that I follow.