Thursday, January 14, 2016

Faith is Questionable

You guys.

Did you expect a whole new look and a new feel and a new blog after all that time off? I'm sorry if you're disappointed. I'm slightly disappointed, too. But. I'm more concerned with thoughts and talking and writing than about those things, and besides, I don't know much about creating a blog. I just write.

I walked into this room slowly, not even wanting to open up the laptop. Or my life. I've got things to do, things that require my time and energy, things that don't include Writing A Blog. Especially a blog that remains largely unseen and unheard of, because I say "Go Big or Go Home", and nothing about this life of mine would be described as Big. As in significant.

But in any event, here we are, beginning a New Year and Resolutions and all the Things that are supposed to bring us joy and peace and instead fill us with a certain sense of...dread? Trepidation? Maybe even fear?

Precisely the reason I don't make resolutions. On New Years Day, anyways.

I don't feel like I've crossed a finish line. I feel like I'm limping along (or sleep/dream running through mud, which is even worse) and there is no finish line in sight. Little things, trivial things, minor things keep popping up. I think every single time I can handle this, only to realize that the reality of the situation is that I remain calm on the outside. Perhaps sometimes I appear collected. Maybe I seem disconnected, closed off. But it's only because I understand what I can't seem to make myself admit out loud: I do not have anything. Related: I have no idea what I'm doing.

Isn't hindsight a beautiful thing? It helps you understand what you did right and what you did wrong and how you'd do it all over again, only different. It helps you remain actually calm and collected, firmly rooted in what you already know. But most of the time I feel like I need hindsight for the future, which, obviously, is impossible unless you are Marty McFly.

I'm doing a new bible study at church that challenges you to question your faith. Of course, some take this sort of challenge on with a bravado that I could only hope to have, because I agree with the concept but am fearful of where it might lead me. What if I find out I have no faith? Where does that leave me? Where does that leave God?

Of course, this leaves God as God because that will never change, and it leaves me a small lump of dark fear. And alone. Which is one of my greatest fears.

So it comes as no surprise that I grabbed the book and brought it home and answered all the questions and pondered and thought and read all the readings (I am type A, after all, and no question can be left blank. That would be preposterous.) and have come away with two thoughts: I still have no idea and I am scared. 

There are lots of things that I'm scared of. Honestly, there is too much in the world that is scary. We know of it all too well, with the frenzy of information we sometimes describe as "media". But for me, it's especially scary to be a parent. Especially when your children don't come with Care Labels. Especially especially when said children make choices. And those choices make your eyes pop out of your head. And extra especially when you have no idea what to do about it.

The root of the issue (can only one root issue be defined here?) is that I am scared of what is left when you strip it all away. I am 100% terrified of knowing that I cannot do life by myself (who can?) and also that no one is actually listening. Maybe this is why I identify with Grey Street so well. Go ahead, read the lyrics and see if you know what I'm saying.

There are things I know I want (like a new phone, things like that) and there I things I am desperate for, like wisdom and peace and this elusive happiness. I see articles and such all about How To Be More Happy, but I don't know that gaining It can be done in seven simple steps. Maybe this is why we hang on to happy, why we gravitate toward what we know is only temporary. Because we are scared that when we really search for it, when we really choose to believe the promises and the stories of true happiness, we will just be grasping smoke.

This is probably why I like the idea of being skinny so much. Call it what you want. Thin, slim, willowy, me, it represents happy. Because if I could get there, then I would not be here. Here doesn't always feel happy. There certainly would.

But is there an actual there? Or are we so scared that Happy just doesn't exist that we're willing to settle for what it seems to be?

I am scared. Instead of grabbing my faith and taking on the world, I feel like the world is taking me on and in the process swallowing me up. It makes me question if I ever really had a firm grasp on my faith to begin with. The reality that is mine isn't changing much, and sometimes, on bad, frustrating days, it seems to be worse. And I find myself thinking, despite all that I know, shouldn't faith make it be better?

I am fearful of grabbing onto the hand that promises to never let me go, because I'm mostly scared it won't actually be there. And I think what does that even mean, anyways? What does it look like? What do I do? Where do we go from here, with this hand holding business? 

But, despite my own best efforts, maybe I do have a faith that won't die, because when the aforementioned children are sassy and disrespectful and make choices that make my eyes pop out of my head and even when I tell them to get your head out of your butt and concentrate on something other than yourself. Like school (you don't have to agree with my method or my terminology, but all I can tell you is that in moments of frustration, the household is lucky I don't resort to only cussing), I find myself holed up in my closet, writing out my fears and disappointments and heartache in a prayer to the only One who I know can offer me comfort, taping my hastily written prayers on the wall. I beg for wisdom and discernment, plead for the answer to my constant question tell me how to handle this. I may be scared of not being heard, but I'm there, which means I may have a tiny shred of faith even on the rough days.

If there is one thing I hate, it's feeling out of control. Related things I hate: feeling stupid, a messy house, feeling disorganized, wasting time, not getting my list done, having things hang over my head that need to get done, not being able to turn my family into Heather-approved robots. I want proof that what I'm doing now is going to be of benefit in the future. I want to know that all the decisions I make today are right. Not just good. RIGHT. I don't like making mistakes, and I don't like learning from said mistakes. It's hard for me to watch other people, especially especially my own people, make mistakes. It, along with all the other things, scares the living daylights out of me. But, as we all know, I am not in control of much of anything (even my own tongue, see above: re: get your head out of your butt, which resulted in one of my children saying "Oh, I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment to you, I'll just sit here and be a disappointment"...but I digress). When I realize this (Lack of Control=Hate), I do the only thing I know to do, which is fall back on that tiny shred of faith, and pray for My People and My Own Self and Faith. Other Options seem few and far between, and besides, I've already been down that path, and honestly, Other Options don't taste as good as they look. Talk about grabbing smoke.

Which leaves me with one option: Faith. Even when I'm not feeling it, even when it sounds absurd and conservative, even when it seems like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth.

I'm taking it easy and easing back into this whole writing a blog thing. But let's keep the conversation going, and I'll see you in a couple of days. Thanks for hanging in there with me. :)