Ministry Major Malaise

I wish that I could write a post that fully shows how much depression sucks. I wish that there was a way I could let you take a peek into my world and what it’s like living in this world. A world where you don’t trust anyone, lest of all yourself. A world where it’s like you’re reaching and grasping for something, a shred, a spark, but perhaps it just doesn’t exist. A world where it feels like a game of Jenga, and that you never know if the next block being removed will cause you to wobble, collapse, or stay sturdy.

But yet, I’m taking a break from writing about depression to try and write about something else. Because it all interlinks together. It all fits together, somehow, someway. It all overlaps and it’s all a part of the same puzzle.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t talked a lot about my week at IHOP. How it completely shattered my faith. How in so many ways, it screwed up how I view God. How it completely broke me. How it played mind games with me. How I went on such an emotional roller coaster. And frankly? I feel stupid! HOW could one week, “onething”, affect me so deeply? It was just a week, for God’s sake! There’s no reason it should have shattered my faith so badly, that it should have so badly demented how I see God. There’s no reason, and I beat myself up constantly for it. I know who God is. I know logically, I know all the facts, but convincing my heart to believe what my head knows is a struggle.

I find myself on the brink of self injury. Why, you say? Your scars are fading. You’ve been free for so long. Why would you throw all that away for just a few moments of solace, of false serenity, of bittersweet relief? IT HELPS. It lets me out of my inner hell, my inner demons, for just a little while, and that is help enough. It’s not worth it in the long run, but sometimes we do things that aren’t worth it in the long run just because we don’t know better. But no, how dare I ruin God’s temple. How dare I screw up the gift God gave me. How dare I turn to myself! I’m a pathetic excuse for a Christian because allegedly His blood was enough so I don’t need to shed my own. (You will see how this relates, I hope, and this paragraph isn’t just random).

I’m struggling to keep my head afloat. I’m struggling to keep normal sleep patterns, eating patterns, living patterns. I find myself escaping to books, video games, TV shows, and movies just to try and get a break from my brain, from my crazy self. And what I hate the most? Several years ago, I’d turn to God. Several years ago, I’d pray. Several years ago, I’d find refuge in my faith. And now I don’t. Now my faith, the very thing I’m studying in college, the very thing I desire more than anything to do with my life, is what is scaring me and plummeting me deeper into the pits of despair. I find myself angry at God: angry at Him for allowing that week, angry at Him for allowing all the hellish moments of my life. Then I get angry at myself for getting angry at God because who am I to be so angry at Him? I find myself angry from events at old churches that shook, shattered, and tore my faith to shreds. I find myself furious of what people do in the alleged name of God, the horrible hurtful things they do – some intend to hurt, some because people are just sometimes dunderheads.

And yet, I hurt myself. Because I see how I am not worthy. I see how I am a bad Christian, and maybe all those terrible lies I believe in reality are true. Maybe there’s a reason I went through those various church and ministry-place-related struggles, because they’re the truth. Logically, I know that’s a bunch of bullcrap, but who said my brain is always logical?

And worst of all, I’m terrified. What if I make some mistake in the ministry? What if I totally screw someone up, shake their faith, tear their soul to shreds? How would I ever live with myself? What if I mess someone up as badly as I was messed up? Am I being rational? Am I irrational? Would I have these fears if it were not for how badly I’ve been hurt “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” What would church pastors say to me? What would fellow Christians say to me? What would atheists say to me?

It’s difficult. I’ve been hurt in so many ways, by so many people. And an age-old saying is “hurting people hurt people.” What if… what if I hurt someone? What if my hurt ruins someone else? Is it just a vicious cycle that will never be ended?

Someday she’ll understand the meaning of it all

It’s kind of funny – at times people expect me to have so many answers because I’m a Ministry major. I feel that I’m expected to know all this stuff about Jesus, that I’m supposed to have the answers. But the thing is, I have my own doubts and struggles, and I feel that some of them would cause me to be labeled as a heretic. I hate how people automatically assume if you believe something controversial, you are automatically being heretical.

I don’t think it’s wrong to have beliefs that go against the grain. But I am terrified to make those beliefs known – because they are the cause of so much debate within the Christian community. I think it sucks that I keep silent on what I struggle with in Christianity, for fear of being called out and treated like dirt.

One of the things I personally struggle with is an issue of dogma versus doctrine, and that’s where it’s hard to speak it. I absolutely believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and fully believe they all exist. I believe that Jesus died on the cross, was crucified, buried, and rose again.

But there are things I struggle with. And the fact that I don’t feel I will be treated with respect if I made them known sucks. Knowing that people won’t think I’m a true Christian if I voice some of my struggles, sucks. 🙁

Instead let there be a flood of justice

You turned your back on the homeless
And the ones that don’t fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games
There’s blood on your hands

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show

http://unicornbooty.com/blog/2012/01/16/christian-classmates-threaten-girl-with-eternal-rape-in-hell-for-removing-prayer-from-school/

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First of all, allow me to state my opinion on prayer in schools. This view has gotten me shunned and flamed by other Christians, but I actually do not support prayer in public schools. I am fine with events such as See You At The Pole. I have nothing against the Federation of Christian Athletes. But you know what? A prayer mural has no place in a public school. In the public school system, it should be a safe place for all. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist… it should be a safe haven for all.

And really? The public education’s goal and purpose is to educate the child. MY child. Their job is not to teach my children about faith in God and religion. Christian teachers? Fine! Wonderful! They want to talk about their religion outside of the classroom and interact with my child? Sweet! But in the class room? Not cool. It’s not that person’s job to be shepherding my kid’s faith.

You know who’s job that is? That’s MY job, my FAMILY’S job, my CHRUCH’S job. We should not place that job in the hands of a public school. I am fine with my children learning about different religions even as a part of World History as knowing the religion and how faith impacted that era of history is often critical to the events. But prayer in public schools? Keep it out.

That aside, let’s look at the manner. We live in a culture, in a world, where we are told to stand out for what we believe. I can’t count the number of times in high school I was urged to “stand for what is right.” To speak out for what I believed. This is what Jessica did. And what happened? She was cruelly bullied!

This is what gives Christians a bad name. Thing is? These teenagers are likely hearing this at home. It’s what their parents believe. And frankly, it rings of the Westboro Baptist Church. (Good grief, the church’s URL is godhatesfags.com? Way to promote love there, mate!). These are NOT what true Christians are.

I often believe that these people are naturally hateful, and are looking for something to blame it on. Something they can use to help themselves not seem so hateful. After all, if we candy-coat and sugar-frost it with religion, it doesn’t seem so bad, now does it? But because people do things like this, it paints all Christians with a tainted paintbrush.

If these people want to witness to this girl? There’s other ways to do it! Talk to her about why she wanted the mural taken down. Be respectful to her. Listen to her views, and tastefully state yours. But telling her Satan is going to rape her? That you’re doing a holocaust to atheists? Tell me, how does that promote your cause? It makes you look like a righteous idiot. Christianity boils down to a doctrine of love, and this is NOT what you are promoting. You disagree with her courageous, right choice? Fine, you have the right to that. Jessica, however, has the right to feel safe in her school. She hasn’t come back to the school? THE POOR GIRL IS FEARING FOR HER LIFE!

And really? If you’re telling her that “God is going to fuck your ass” why are you serving that kind of God? That’s not remotely the kind of God that I want to serve nor IS it the God I serve. If you want people to rot in hell, I suggest you examine yourself more closely and read your Bible better. I suggest you see how Jesus responded to the Pharisees. And I suggest you examine yourself deeply because you are NOT promoting the Gospel that is promoted in Scripture.

I applaud the court’s decision. I am thrilled that the police are taking the threats seriously. I am disgusted and sickened by the students doing this in the name of religion, because it’s not what Jesus is about. And above all, I pray that Jessica finds peace in the midst of this. I pray that she has a supportive family who is helping her through this. And I hope that these students see how badly they are tarnishing the name of Christianity and get a life.

Now she’s left cleaning up the mess he made

I still haven’t forgotten that autumn day, ten years ago. November 28, 2001. It’s kind of hard to believe. I was depressed. And by depressed I mean really freaking depressed. I was fourteen years old. And I had a plan to end my life.

I likely would have gone through with it, had a friend not intervened and notified the police. Had the police not shown up at my small Christian school. I’m told I’m lucky I wasn’t taken into custody or admitted to the hospital.

But even more important was that was the day I realized my dad didn’t care. I was fourteen years old, depressed, and realized where my dad’s priorities were. My school principal had called my church youth pastor, and my youth pastor informed my father. Less than a couple days later, my father no longer cared that I had had a plan to end my life. He was back to his old self.

This is part of why I struggle to view God as a father. Logic tells me that not all fathers are like that. I KNOW good fathers. I KNOW good, Christian fathers and I know good, atheist fathers. I know there are good Jewish fathers, there are good agnostic fathers, it goes on and on and on. But the fact of the matter is I can’t wrap my mind around the concept that the father God is like is nothing like the father I had. Someone who was never there when I needed him. Someone who always had beer in the fridge, but not always a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.

It gets harder and harder this time of year. Well-meaning people ask if I’m going home for the holidays, and I never know how to answer. I shrug it off, but it still hurts. The ache still lies inside. I have a place to go for the holidays, but gosh, it’s not the same.

and I don’t know where I’m going with this. 😛

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left, cleaning up the mess he made

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—” (Gal 3:13)

I know I, at least, don’t fully realize the impact of what Christ did. I mean yes, I was taught as a kid that Chris died for my sins. But the church I grew up in (an Arminian church) did not really lay this out. When we are taught the Apostle’s creed, the line “he descended into hell” is omitted, and so I don’t know that the full ramifications of Christ’s sacrifice are felt. I mean, the Crucifixion is clearly taught, as even stated in a very popular hymn in the Nazarene church: “He took my sins and my sorrows, and He made them His very own. He bore my burden to Calvary, where he suffered and died all alone.” And so, even though so much is taught, I don’t think we fully realize that he became a CURSE – and that by that, he took the curse AWAY from us. HE became the curse, and by rising up from the dead and coming over the dead, he takes that curse AWAY.

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess, 1:10)

I am irrationally afraid of angry people. If someone even raises their voice in frustration, not even anger, I start trembling. If I even think I’ve made someone remotely angry, I start apologizing profusely. So… the thought that Jesus delivers us from wrath is comforting, because it is something that shakes me to the core so very much.

Author comments:
I love being able to tie things to hymns, and relate the way I was brought up to the what I’m learning now. It’s fun!