Faith, Doubt, and the In-Between

I launched this website and blog in the spring of 2019 with the goal of sharing writing too lengthy and in depth for social media posts (if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know I am a lengthy caption queen). I particularly wanted to share theological and exegetical work that I felt passionate about writing and believed would benefit readers.

However, by the end of 2019, I entered the space somewhere between dying and living, surviving and thriving.

I treat faith as more than a belief – it is the intersection of a belief, a relationship, and an experience. In other words, faith is living and must be lived.

When there is a space, a holding, of grief and hope then faith will enter along with the rest of you. Which is to say, your relationship with and experience of God will not be the same on the other side.  

As a writer, I know and practice that there is a time of becoming before the writing begins. A story that is unfinished and unprocessed typically cannot be presented to an audience in a way that serves them. The danger of writing too soon is the writing becomes the place of numbing the painful work of processing and healing. When the writer is unaware of her own numbing and avoidance, the writing presents itself to the readers as a cry for help or, at the very least, the author’s personal confessional.

The forums where I write are not places for my public confessions or the locales for processing my experiences. I write when I am ready as I come into understanding my own story and observations, hoping that it serves you as you work out your own story and place in the world as well. I seek the balance of self-expression and service.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that I haven’t been writing about Jesus because I haven’t been ready. The journey isn’t over, and I’m allowing it to conclude rather to write from a place that isn’t true. I’ve paused the type of work I thought I would be doing, the writer I thought I would be, and all the pages I thought I would be writing by now. I am both wrestling and resting.

I know that most people in the world are struggling right now in an in-between of your own. I know that we are emotionally exhausted, mentally overloaded, physically frightened. Everyone has lost something, and you are rebuilding a different sort of life, for now. I know that this is another season that faith, hope, and joy are hard to come by. You are wearied, probably, and I want to share the things that have held me. Maybe it will help you.

You are allowed to be angry with God.

So-called “negative” feelings toward God, do not mean any grand or devastating thing about your faith or your relationship with God. It simply means that you are angry or disappointed or sad. It just means that God didn’t show up in the ways that you hoped they would. It does not mean your faith is gone or was never there. It simply means your faith is changing because your relationship with God is evolving.

Anger is just anger. Feel it, accept it, sit with it. God can handle it. God will not reject you for what you are feeling and experiencing

Your relationship with God is not static.

Every relationship in your life changes as the participants grow and develop. My relationship with my husband is different than it was when he was my boyfriend. My relationship with my husband of either years is different than it was at five years. I do not parent my four-year-old in the same way I did when she was a one-year-old both because she has grown into more maturity and because I have grown into a more compassionate and secure parent.

Your relationship with God can pass through a season of doubt and anger without it being a threat to the actual existence of your faith or that relationship.

Faith is not a static belief holding up a house of cards subject to crumble should doubt infiltrate. Faith is an intersection of belief, experience, and relationship.

Again, faith is a living part of you and must be allowed to integrate with the rest of you.

Rest.

In the words of Jesus, Be still.

I wonder if, like me, your faith is wearied from all the work of Christianity. The showing up, the activities, the reading of the Bible, the going to the studies, the Zoom church services. I wonder if you are doing a lot and not feeling a lot. I wonder if you are doing a lot and not sure why Jesus doesn’t seem to be present.

Be still. For a bit.

Ask Jesus if he will show up if you stop, if you breathe, if you wait. Ask Jesus if he will show up if you risk being still for a little while. Then cease. And see what happens.

Whatever that ceasing looks like for you.

For me it meant leaving ministry and the church. It meant putting my Bible on the shelf. It meant more time sitting quietly outside, working with my plants and garden, baking, reading good, non-religious books, playing with my girls. It meant cutting out whatever didn’t give me life. It meant not creating anything that didn’t feel true for me.

When I stopped everything else, I paid attention to Jesus.

Turns out, for me, Jesus was in the rhythm of my ceasing.


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