Honest, ramblings

words about my ever-changing faith

Six years ago I was returning home from training camp for the world race.

World race training camp 2012

It’s funny because at that point my world had been turned upside down multiple times and at training camp it was turned upside down again.

I didn’t know a lot about God then even though I’d been a Christian for 14 years at that point and went to a Christian university.

But it seems that the more “Christian” things I’ve been apart of the more changes I’ve seen happen in myself in regards to my faith and identity.

I don’t think anything I’ve been a part of is bad: It hasn’t in any way, shape or form caused me to want to not believe God or run from the faith I have.

If anything what it’s done is cause me to settle even more into finding who I am outside of the church and christianity. It’s been more about finding who God says I am by the life experiences and interactions I have in daily life.

It’s more about finding out who I am not, through the life experiences and interactions I have in daily life.

When I came home from the world race I was a wreck. Well, I became a wreck about a couple months later. Then, I went to Spain and it was better.

And then I came to Bellingham and the wrecking ball came again.

It’s not even that I have doubted more, because I’ve definitely had times that I’ve doubted more than the last three years.

I think, that my faith and my life, since doing all these “Christian things” has been more about the realization that God, faith, all of those things are so much bigger than people give them credit for.

I don’t make decisions based on my faith, or the fact that I’m a Christian, or my conscious or whatever else you may call it.

I make decisions based on who I am.

And who I am changes. Not because I’m reinventing myself but because I am learning more about myself each day.

Yep folks, each day.

So it makes sense that my faith would turn and grow and change.

I want to take the shame out of reframing your mind. Letting your faith be shaken, walking away for a moment to figure something out.

I know not everyone agrees with me on that.

But, walking away from something doesn’t mean you are running away.

Sometimes, walking away is the only way to guarantee that you are going to stay.

Today, in church, I realized that I have some pillars in my life that hold up the makeshift house of my faith that aren’t necessarily super sturdy.

In non-Christian verbiage, I realized today, that there are pieces of myself, pieces of my identity that I think are major parts of myself that actually aren’t.

I realized today that my identity isn’t based on my faith. And the more I learn about myself, the more I realize that my faith doesn’t make me who I am.

I think my faith allows me to look at things through a different lens just as any set of beliefs would.

My faith does add to who I am, but it’s not the only thing.

And it’s ok if it changes and evolves.

You aren’t less of a human if your mind changes, if you find out more information, if something doesn’t settle with you.

You aren’t less of a human if you allow yourself to grow.

My faith has grown, been stretched, fallen away, come back again and evolved over the past 10 years immensely.

I think in this time in our world it’s more important than ever to listen to what’s happening around you. Listening to your faith, or spirit or whatever and know that we can’t change anything if we don’t allowing ourselves to change.

And know that it’s ok to change.

As humans we grow and change and collect more data every day.

But, even in that and with that I will always be me.

And you, my friend, will always be you.

Honest

Figuring out the silence

I don’t think I talk about my faith a lot. I think I try to live it, I try to let what I do speak for who I am. I try to be kind, try to treat people how I would want to be treated. I try, to the best of my ability to make good life choices that reflect who I am, not who others are.
And today, in church, everything felt electrifyingly silent.

This silence isn’t new to me.

A couple years ago I wrote a piece for a now inactive online journal about my faith becoming broken and sitting in silence.

“It was a weird silence. 

Like Jesus, playing the part of the creeper in a horror movie, when just after the power goes out, calls your house so you can hear him breathe and then when the police track the phone call you find that the call is coming from inside the house.

Jesus was apparently in the house still.”

Normally, I write in an effort to untangle something. I write to figure out how to get to homebase. 

Right now I am writing to remind myself that I do have Christ inside me.

I think that, for a while now, I’ve forgotten that.

I know the words to say, I have full confidence in my ability to access my faith and my spirit.

But, I’ve lost something.

Recently, I had a situation occur in my life that knocked a lot of faith and grace out of me. I’m realizing how much it effected me as an individual, as a Christian, as a human who tries to extend grace and love to those around me on a daily basis. I’m realizing now, how much it broke off a part of me and caused me, subconsciously, to want to step away from those parts of my life.

It has caused me to question the foundational things of my life. Those things that cause me to love and be kind are still in me, but activating them and using them has taken more effort.

I didn’t realize that it was causing me to question my faith and feel tangible silence, because I was stepped on in a way that I don’t believe I have ever been stepped on.

Back in 2014 while I was in Spain, I had an instance where Kellen, someone who was an adamant speaker of truth and life and hard realities in my life, told me during a stressful, somewhat overwhelming portion of my six months that “I was the leader and I needed to love them through their shit”.

I think that’s what I’ve done since then in different aspects of my life.

And about a month ago I text him to yell at him because I felt like I’d been kicked in the face because of it.

When I started writing today, this isn’t where I was meaning to meander. I just wanted to figure out what was blocking me, what was causing the world to feel shockingly silent.

And over the course of these 500 words or so, I’ve realized that I’m feeling more broken and hurt than I gave myself grace for.

I’ve realized that a new wall was formed and my actions and the way I love people, albeit probably not as much as I feel, has changed.

My whole heart isn’t in it.

But, in that regard, it pushes me on, to know that I am capable of big love.

My need to protect, to be wary, shows that it is still there.

You don’t protect something a castle if there isn’t anything inside.

And the silence I’ve felt isn’t bad.

It’s space-giving.

I guess, what I want to say, at the end of this is that even when it seems like something natural for me, loving people and being kind and giving grace is a choice for me.

Actively. Every day. 

Part of it is tied to my faith in Christ, part of it is just inside.

But it’s still a choice.

And that’s ok.

I believe I will get those pieces of me back. 

I believe that I will continue to choose love and grace and kindness even if I need a moment to make those decisions.

It’s who I am.

Please, give yourself space to feel. Space to figure things out. 

Space to be.

Deep breath to the toes friends.