Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Darkness

When I first moved here, I felt like an Israelite wandering in the desert. I was fully convinced, just like they were, that God had moved me here just to watch me wither and die.

I wanted to go back to Egypt!

But as my time here grew longer and longer, I realized that maybe I wasn't in the desert. I mean, at least the Israelites had manna and could see God!

I didn't feel that I had either one.

I couldn't put it into words exactly how I felt until one day I was talking to the Other Nut, and he said the words for me.

I'm not in the desert after all. It's like I'm in a huge, dark room; one so dark that I can't even see my own feet. A darkness so dark, it almost seems thick, like you can cut it with a knife.

It's scary being in such darkness. I don't like that I can't see my own feet.

And I can't see God.

These two combinations make moving in the right direction kind of hard. So I've spent the last year trying to figure out where to walk. I've bumped into every wall around me as I've tried to find the light switch.

I haven't found it yet.

You know, I think it's natural to not like the dark. There is something about the darkness, that even though it doesn't affect my oxygen supply, I feel like I can't breathe. The darkness makes me want to find the light and find it quick! I don't think I naturally immediately sit down and wait for the light to come back on.

You know the dialogue. Someone sneaks in and turns out the light, and you immediately say, "Hey! Who turned off the light? Turn it back on!" And if they don't, you shuffle with hands stretched out until you find the switch and turn it back on.

"Don't do that again," you say.

But even worse is when the electricity goes out, leaving you in complete darkness that also is eerily quiet. Gone are the normal, everyday noises that fill in our day and night; the hum of the refrigerator, the constant sound of the bedroom fan, and the sound of the A/C or heater kicking on. We almost don't notice them until they are silence by no electricity. And I don't know about you, but the Other Nut and I don't just sit there wondering what happened. It is such a strange sense, that it even wakes us up in the middle of the night when it happens.

We find ourselves immediately fanning out, again with arms outstretched, searching for flashlights.

Because we like some amount light, even if it is a little bit, to help us find our way. Sitting in the complete darkness, not knowing exactly what happened is unsettling. It isn't until we have an idea of the cause of complete darkness and silence can we just sit and wait. Wait for someone to fix it and turn the lights back on.

And strangely, the resuming hums of the typically unnoticed appliances are soothing.

This darkness, the one the comes with the loss of electricity, is the one I feel. Completely dark and eerily quiet. I can't seem to just flip a switch to fix the problem. Gone are the comfortable hums of my previous life.

Dark. And eerily quiet.

And I'm waiting to hear the humming of God's voice break through in the midst of my darkness.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Crisis of Faith

They say most people have a crisis of faith at some point in their lives. I just never knew mine would come as a result from a move. I always thought it would be from something bigger. Don't get me wrong; I don't wish something bigger to happen just to justify this crisis of faith. I just didn't think that moving would be that moment for me. I know so many people that are going through far worse things than a move, and their faith still seems solid, maybe even stronger. Not to say that they haven't fought for their faith during these times. Not to say that they haven't had moments of questioning and a few choice words with God. I'm pretty sure they have.

But their faith still stands. And again, it seems even stronger.

At least they still want to go to church.

You know, having this crisis of faith come as a result of moving has left me frustrated, disappointed, guilty, and quite frankly, embarrassed at myself.

I mean really? Moving?

It's coming up on a year now. February 9th to be exact. I'm sure some would say, "Aren't you over this by now? Can't you get your stuff together by now?"

No, actually I'm not. And no, I actually haven't gotten my stuff (during this crisis of faith, I really want to use another word) together by now. In fact, my stuff seems even more thrown all around than it did before.

Because, I also thought I would be over it by now. I also thought I would have my stuff together by now.

I didn't think I would have all of these great friends and moving right along just fine, not missing so many things about home; but, I at least thought I would be moving. I at least thought that I would have an idea as to what I was supposed to be doing with my life by now.

I had no idea that I would still feel like I had very little purpose in life. I had no idea that I would carry so much guilt around with me; guilt over not being friendly enough to people here; guilt over not doing enough everyday to keep up with people back home; guilt over not having enough energy to answer and respond to every email. (My inbox has messages left unopened or unanswered, and my phone currently has 17 blinking messages that I just don't care to listen to. That's better than the 51 that I just recently listened to so hey, that's progress.)

I think of people back home and feel guilty, as if somehow I burned bridges just because I moved. I feel guilty that my faith seems so small and easily shaken by one stupid move.

Yesterday, we visited a church to hear a preacher that I have wanted to hear. I've quoted him in my teachings many times, and I got a chance to hear him yesterday. And I got a chance to hear some great worship music. I sang (quietly), and I cried.

But probably not for the reason you might think. I didn't cry, because I was so excited to be singing. I didn't cry, because I was listening to some really great worship.

I cried, because I realized that I was singing words that I'm wrestling with even believing right now. I cried, because I'm not living like I believe those words. And maybe I don't believe them right now.

Songs about blessing the Lord with my soul-my soul feels too wretched.
Songs about God constantly pursuing us, because He loves us with a constant, passionate love-I don't feel pursued.
Songs about His kindness and goodness-I don't feel them.

And the guilt was replaced with shame at these thoughts. I cried under the weight of shame, wondering if He was done with me.

Is that it Lord? Are You done with me? Do I hang up my passion in the back of my closet watching it collect dust? I would rather it be gone to have to see it when I go in there. Won't you just take it away, this passion of mine?

Shame tells me that I'm horrible, because I should just be thankful for salvation, that anything else that I desire is just being selfish. Maybe it is.

Do you remember those days? The days where you were just so thankful for being saved, because that was enough; this salvation through Jesus.

My nutcase wraps tighter and tighter around me in the form of guilt and shame. I can't breathe under the weight of them.

And I wonder if I will ever breathe again.

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