I have off and on tried to start blogs that express my interests in Christianity and faith, but they never really seemed to work. They ended up being cold, a place I didn’t really care to go. Yet I was still compelled to write something about them.
What I realized was that they were never about something. They were just a place to post interesting, random thoughts. Part of the problem is that I am too eclectic for my own good. Enough weirdness in all directions so as to prevent them from being unified under a cohesive whole or central theme. In short, those blogs were about my thoughts, not about my life.
This one is different.
And also not so different.
A few years ago I thought I knew everything. I had all the answers, not just to life’s persistent questions, but on how to fix the entire universe. Partly this is the (common enough) excessive confidence of youth, but it was also due partly to the faith tradition in which I had found myself (conservative, patriarchalist Presbyterianism), which prided itself on being alienated from mainstream thought because it was mainstream, with a strong cross-bearing lament. If only, this cultural backwoods mourned, the world would just become like us, all of its problems would go away. Things were simple and didn’t take careful or even lengthy evaluation. Flip to a verse, point, repeat.
I had a lot of idealism. My ability to absorb information, coupled with an intense personality, resulted in an aggressive attitude. Looking back, I can completely understand why those particular traits were what rose to the surface. As one of the enlightened ones who knew how to fix the world, the fate of the world rested on my shoulders. I was Atlas, but the weight of the world was too great to bear. Anger, intensity, and aggression were natural outcomes.
This idealism was taken from me two years ago. I was able to find a church that fit the description of everything I wanted in life and was headed down what I thought was the right path. I joined. The idealism was soon crushed by the reality of what such theologies, consistently held, do to real people. In the real world. Outside my head.
The ultimate result of this experience was a great reshuffling of my priorities, identity and beliefs. I muddled through the tall-grass ramshackle of depression, questioning everything save Christ and His Church. Those two ultimate commitments were all that kept me in the faith, and even then the thread seemed awful thin at times. It was almost a year before I emerged out the other side. To my surprise, out of the wreckage of that previous life God led me on an exodus. A new home, new friends (and some wonderful old ones), and a new life.
The aggressiveness gave way to a more even-keeled nature. The absolute confidence in flimsy secondary matters faded, an openness to reconsidering matters once considered settled, and to tolerate those who disagree. The unwillingness to read and interact outside my own small purview receded, leaving in its place an open-handed confidence to discussion, rather than pontificate. Renewed blossoming of the fruit of the Spirit in my life.
Sometimes God gives us exactly what we want in order to show us that we didn’t really want it in the first place. Such is often his way. Pray to be a leader, and expect to spend your time wondering why no one seems to pay you any attention. It’s the way of His sort of leadership. Get anointed King – spend twenty years chased around the desert. Be promised to become a father of many nations and spend fifty years without any children.
I do not know exactly where I am going, but I will not refuse to listen to His voice, wherever it calls me. It has already called me out of my homeland. I do not yet know where my new home will be. I am a lifelong disciple, and this is my journey.