The Struggle

I struggle…
 
I struggle with a great many things these days. I struggle with how Christians are acting over COVID 19. I struggle with how they act over wearing a mask. I struggle with how American Christianity has become about politics and setting up a loose theocracy than spreading the Gospel.
 
I struggle with how foreign many Christians seem to me.
 
I struggle with God at times. On what it all means. What does the Bible really mean? The murder, lying, cheating, theft….the sins go on and on. What do they mean?
 
I struggle because the struggle brings growth.
 
All Christians should be struggling.
 
We should be learning what the Bible says. Finding out what it means. We should listen to others, but we really should be doing more listening to God.
 
For a long time, I received too much of my Christian knowledge from pastors. I would listen to them and take it all in as absolute truth. I struggled when God showed me they were flawed and often so was the message.
 
I struggle while watching others going through the same battles I did. That I still have.
 
I do not struggle with saying that I struggle. Too many times, Christians feel alone in their struggles as it is not something brought up in the church.
 
We are told how God can do all things, but that message never comes with how it will happen or the pain and struggle it will require.
 
So I give to you what church did not give to me…the feeling of not being alone with my questions and doubts. I pray that you find people near you that can help you see you are not alone.
 
I pray more though that with the fears and doubts, that you push into God. Not to fix it or explain everything, but so that you will see that He does not leave you when you struggle
 
That is why I struggle.

Finding God

It has been 6 years since I last wrote here, but the urge to do so has never left me.
A lot has happened in those years.
Back then, I was attending school to become a minister. I loved God and my church and it was a critical support system for me as other aspects of life sucked. I was prideful back then. I listened to what I was told and took a hard stand as that is how it was supposed to be. I wanted to be a good Christian and a beacon of hope or something like that.
I feel like most people who join a church go through a similar process. We are not happy with our lives and are longing for something. We go to the church to hopefully meet God and find a place we belong to. We are given the guidelines on how we should act and what we should listen to. We are told of threats all around us and that we need to pray for everything so the God will not be cast aside.
Of course, that is my perception and I know it is not reality for everyone.
When I started studying, I went to classes taught by the elders of the church I was going to. I would read and study with others outside of that group, but that was my main source of knowledge. As I tried to engage the church more, I noticed discrepancies in what was taught and how leadership operated.
I watched people made pastors and I seriously questioned why. I will admit in part some of it was pride and jealousy. I wanted to be a pastor and was not getting recognized. But I would watch these pastors move around to different job functions before leaving as it was not really their calling.
Or maybe it was. I would imagine someone who was called to be a pastor would not just leave and go sell insurance or start a computer repair business. There were more instances than this, but I questioned why they would be elevated to that position in the first place.
When I learned the senior pastor would blackmail the elder body to get what he wanted I knew I needed to leave. This was not how the body of Christ should be acting and I did not want a part of it.
I tried to find other churches, but every time I started getting more involved I would notice issues. I have been to churches where the leadership banned people when their lives changed and the time spent in the church had to decrease. I attended a church that went beyond not wanting to offend people and changed the message that sin was not real after Jesus. I attended a church where a pastor was getting divorced because he kept sleeping with members of the church, yet the church did not want him to leave.
There were so many instances of churches failing to live up to the body of Christ that I stopped going to them. Seeing this I was angry. I felt disappointed by God. I felt like He let me down and I was spiraling out of control as the truth I held to was now gone.
While I fled, He was always there. I did not want to talk to Him. I did whatever I felt like doing, even if I knew it was wrong to put distance between He and I. It did not work.
When they say you are made new when saved, they really mean it. I could not shake God and I am thankful for that.
I am not sure where I am spiritually, but I feel like I need to share that journey.
I have noticed that I am not as strict as I used to be. I still believe in right and wrong, but I try not to impose that on others. I have learned to listen more to others in their feelings and struggles. God uses that to help me understand more. See past the emotions and not pass judgment as there is always a story about why people do what they do.
I think my new approach to writing will reflect this. I want to look more carefully at what we think and why we think that. See what is tradition and what is truth. There is so much to life that we think we know but in reality, we know very little about it.
This is me learning.