I’ve been sitting with God. I know He’s compelling me to write, but it’s been very hard to put words down without questioning myself to the point of paralysis.
I’ve struggled through anxiety and depression for years. In the last several weeks, I experienced anxiety at a level I haven’t often. I was physically ill, untethered, just lost. Scared. Feeling alone and afflicted.
In the middle of a panic attack, at the height of my anxiety struggle I sat in my bed with my husband sleeping beside me, and I steadied my breathing and I cried out to Him. “God, please help me. God please help me.” I imagined myself breathing in the Holy Spirit and exhaling my struggles, my anxiety, my fear. I cycled through a number of requests and questions….Please make this stop. Why is this happening? What do I do?
In that moment, and in sitting with Him since then, I know the answer is, “Share. Write.”
I’ve been writing for years. I’ve been sharing my life online for ages. Over a decade. So why is it so hard to write this? Why is it harder to write about faith than, say, reading? Or my family? Weight loss? Depression? Sexual assault? Politics?
I know I’ve been afraid of “doing it wrong.” Of doing Christianity wrong. Saying or writing the wrong things. Of readers stopping listening. In truth, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to overcome what I saw as shortcomings when it comes to the context of faith. This brashness. This willingness to hang my opinions out there to share and commune with and inspire others. This “unladylike” tendency to argue, to speak up and out.
I’m not afraid of these things in other contexts, mind you. As the title of this blog suggests, I’m a rowdy one. A poker of the bear. A stirrer of pots at times. Always a teacher…asking tough questions, appreciating the gray area…relishing ambiguity. Learning. I love to learn.
A lot of factors have shut me up when it comes to God and my faith. I’m trying not to shut myself up any longer.
9 thoughts on “I Sat With This”
I so appreciate your willingness to share. It’s a crappy time to profess Christianity and hoo, boy can I relate to your depression & anxiety, but all of it is worth sharing, altogether—it makes it so much more real when writing comes from an undivided heart.
Thank you for your encouragement. It is definitely a wonky time to profess Christianity. I just can’t abide hatred and gatekeeping, so I’ll do the best I can in speaking up here and elsewhere!
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Andi — I am so grateful for you, every day. In this current climate, Christians like you publicly wrestling with your faith is so meaningful and appreciated. At work, we talk about occupying ‘brave space’, and I think you’re doing precisely that. There is no right way to write about one’s spiritual journey or Christianity. I’m delighted to be able to walk with you.
No YOU’RE CRYING, AUDRA! Thank you, my friend. Thank you so much for your encouragement. Love you.
One of the things that kept me quiet is that I was deeply dissatisfied with the church–and then I had to decide how I felt about God. I wouldn’t call it a crisis of faith exactly, but I discovered that I was angry at God, so I had a lot to unpack there until I could come to a conclusion of what a healthy relationship with God looked like for me.
With my weight loss or some of my illnesses, I felt sure of how I felt about them (no matter how successful I was in managing them) whereas with that relationship with God, I didn’t even know how I felt and that made it harder to talk about.
So what I’m saying is that I understand where you’re coming from and also maybe that’s why it’s so hard to talk about for you too. Also, my relationship with God is SO deeply personal that it’s not always a space I want to invite people into.
I’m glad you have this blog and that you’re talking about these things. Thank you.
I totally get that anger with God. I’ve been there, and I feel like now there’s a perceived distance between me and God but it’s more self-imposed…or a hangover from my experience with the church. I can honestly say that my relationship with God has not been that personal, but it’s getting there. I’m learning a new way to experience God if that makes sense. I’m sure there’s more to come on this.
Yeah, totally. I was just thinking this morning that I had to separate my relationship with God from my attitude toward/relationship with (the) church. It took a lot of work! And it’s still something I have to actively be conscious of.
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I am becoming more comfortable with my faith each and every day I walk it. And like you, I feel compelled to share lately and it’s been surprising. I’ve shared things at work, which is usually taboo but nearly everyone I’ve spoken to has admitted that their walk with Christ is in need of a touch-up. VERY surprising to have these folks admit that. God has a way of pushing us toward something and often, all we have to do is say yes. We don’t have to do it well. We don’t have to impress anyone. All we have to do is say yes and that seems easy enough when you take the other stuff away.
Yes! All we have to do is say yes. Couldn’t be more true.