Surrendering to be like Never Not Broken

Tags

, , ,

“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when your out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.” ~ Rick Warren

In Hindu mythology there is a goddess, Akhilandeshvari – which translates to “Never not broken” – that shows me a function of God that I love and definitely need right now.  Even though I consider myself a Christian, I think there is a huge amount we can learn from other religions.  Religions that have more than one God, to me, show me different facets of God.  Our God is all of these things wrapped in one!  So when I found this goddess, I knew that my God could do the same for me.

Here’s a little more about Goddess Never Not Broken, taken from http://www.wicca-spirituality.com/akhilandeshvari.html and other websites listed there:

“You know that feeling when things are so far out of control that you give up fighting it?  At that moment, all that is in your power is to open your heart to God in desperation and pray, “Please, see me through this!”  Everything is broken, and we’re standing here with all these pieces in our hands, wondering how we’ll ever make something whole and beautiful out of this mess. Wondering, even, if we can survive it — or if we want to survive it.  When your pain is too intense to bear, your heart runs to Akhilandeshvari, crying: “Nothing makes sense! Nothing seems real! Everything is entirely worthless.”

And you know how, once you’ve given it up to faith, pieces start to fall into place miraculously and effortlessly?  And how things work out even better than you had imagined?

THAT is the supreme power of surrender.

Like cracking an atom: immense energies are released from a breaking structure.This is the gift of destruction. If we are wise, we can see the potential being unlieashed, and harness it to serve a vision of a better future.  She shows us the power and opportunity of being broken into pieces by heartache, disaster, great fortune, and other life changes and traumas. She takes this to the furthest extreme, purposefully keeping Herself broken wide open, allowing Herself to flow with every current, creating and fragmenting and recreating Herself endlessly.”

 

Image

 

I don’t even remember what search led me to this goddess, but it must have been something about being broken.  I’m not broken in any way that can be fixed by any power on this earth, and that’s how I know I need to surrender it to God.  Which is going to be really hard, because I haven’t done that in a very long time and never for something so uncontrollable.

 

My heart still cries the same way every day, and I can’t always stuff it down and ignore it.  “Your family doesn’t accept you, your mother doesn’t love you the same way anymore, you aren’t part of them anymore, there’s nothing you can do, you are alone.”  Every time I make some progress, every time things are going better and I think I’m proving to them that I can be a good person and still be in love with a woman, something happens and I am crushed.

 

Like I see the news about the Chick-fil-a debacle, and I see a picture of my uncle and his young daughter eating there.  I see a boy scout troop has banned another lesbian mother from taking part, or I see my mother’s organization on Jezebel for being exclusionary to non-Christians or gays.  Any one of these things deals such a blow to my heart that I don’t think I can get back up again.  I just cry and cry and wonder why it is that who I love matters more than anything else.  What about the 10 Commandments?  What about my using my God given talents to help others as a career?  What about my return to God?  What about all the divorces and abortions and hate in peoples’ hearts?  Why does the few verses about homosexuality mean more than all the rest?  Why does the part about women speaking in church or other cultural things no longer apply, but the gay issue is still something they need to defend with all of their might?

 

What if that energy was used in a positive way instead of a negative way?  What if instead of spending so much time hating something that they perceive as a sin, they concentrated on being as loving and as shining an example of Christ’s forgiveness and love that hard hearts had no choice but to turn to God?  Can you imagine if we just called a truce, and we agreed to disagree – some people interpret the Bible this way and some don’t, but we all agree to stop talking about it and work together towards a common positive goal?  There would be nothing the body of Christ couldn’t do!

 

I’ve talked to friends and loved ones before about how much I hurt, how much I miss my family and how alone I feel, but it seems so futile.  There’s nothing that anyone can do, so I feel like I’m speaking and the words are just evaporating into the air.  This topic breaks me.  I can’t function, I can’t be who I was.  I can’t rely on my support systems from the past, because they aren’t there or they don’t understand.  The feeling of being a prodigal daughter who returns and is shut out… it isn’t something I can bear.

 

So I read about goddess Never-Not-Broken, and how she embraces the tearing down.  Not only that, but she embraces STAYING torn down.  So often our society wants to fix things as fast as possible.  Get over it, move on, dwelling on it never helps anyone…. but what about tearing our hair and gnashing our teeth and wearing sackcloth?  What about spending the time we need to in our heartache so that we can fully experience the emotions in a meaningful way before the healing begins?  If I didn’t let myself be broken, I wouldn’t have time to ask God for help.

 

Only God can help me accept that my family works against who I am and who I love.  Only God can change my heart, or theirs, or both.  Only God can heal this world so that love is love, and all humans created in His image can be accepted for who they are and where in the journey to Him they are. I honestly believe that there’s nothing else I can do but to lay broken on a pile on the floor and stay there for a while, before looking up to Him when I’m ready.

 

 

Dear God: I am broken, broken, broken, filled with the jagged edges of grief and hopelessness. I feel everything I knew being stripped away to nothing and I feel my sense of self is unsustainable along with everything else. You who know what is to break and break and break again, God of all facetted and shattered shards of the self, reach out your arms to me and allow me to fall completely to pieces. Let me throw everything up in the air to break apart at my feet, so that eventually we can pick up the pieces together and rebuild my life as it should be. Let me have the faith I need to get through this time of breaking and rebuilding.
Advertisements

What do we worship?

Tags

, , ,

Here’s the problem: Christians are tempted to worship the Bible instead of God.  It sounds silly, but it’s true.

It is tempting to spend time analyzing the Bible instead of faithfully experiencing and worshiping God.  I love intellectual challenges and theory, but the Bible as a project is much different from the Bible as a life-lesson.

It is easy to worship the Bible.  The Bible is black and white, it is right there, it is accessible, it doesn’t require any more than reading.

It is NOT ENOUGH to worship the Bible!  Worshiping the words on the page means missing the bigger picture.

It is not being Christ-like to worship the Bible alone.  Christ did not study like the Pharasees did.  He walked among the people.  He served, he loved, he experienced God!

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29:1-3

http://www.theologywebsite.com/spiritual-formation/knowing-god-and-knowing-we-know.html

From the comments:

“Adam and Eve knew God and never opened a Bible. Neither did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph nor Melchizedek! Studying the Bible is a good start, but it is not the point or the goal. It’s meant to point us to Him, but it is not a substitute for Him. Loving the Bible is NOT loving God. Knowing your Bible is NOT knowing God. God and the Bible are NOT interchangeable! Religious symbols and words are types and shadows of His glory and His Personhood. The goal is to KNOW God for yourself and for Him to know you. Reading scripture helps us know ABOUT Him but only walking with Him and intimacy with Him makes us come to know HIM.”

Amen!

Learning How to Pray

Tags

, , , ,

I realized when I started thinking about re-entering the realm of faith again that I could do a lot of things really well already.  Read the Bible, check.  Discuss theology, check.  Support and participate in a community of like-minded people, check.  Go to church, check.  Try to be a good person, check.

… Pray?  That became a sticking point.  I feel silly.  I honestly feel ridiculous even thinking about it.  Who do I think I am?  If there’s anyone there, I’m pretty sure they have better things to do than listen to me whinge on about stuff I need or people I like.

So then I thought, well, you’re going to have some serious problems being a Christian if you can’t pray.  And if you aren’t even sure that there is a God, why are you even trying?

But does faith require us to be SO absolute?  Do I have to be 100% sure of something I can’t see, 100% of the time?  Isn’t doubt a normal part of the human journey?  I think it is.  Faith isn’t something that’s easy to master, or that we are born with.  It’s something that has to be shown to us, and learned.  If I kept my butt out of religion until I had 100% faith in something, I’d never be a religious person.  But I want to *find* that faith, I want it to be revealed to me.  I think that’s enough for now.

Okay!  I’ve not successfully convinced myself that I’m not a heretic for having some doubts, now how do I go about praying?  Here are some thoughts I had when I started to consider it:

1. Praying is really just talking to God.

2. Even if God doesn’t exist at all, praying is still a good exercise in communicating your desires and feelings, so it’s not entirely a moot point in that case.

3. I am going to look v. silly if I fold my hands like children do, or kneel at the end of the bed.  I don’t even have carpet and the hard-wood flooring is not comfortable.

4. The cats are going to wonder what the heck I’m doing, and probably jump on me

5. Okay focus.  Why do we pray?  To give thanks, to ask for help, to hope for things, to vent, to ask WHY, to demand things, to offer bargains, to hear something in response.

6. Do I have to start “Dear God”?  Because if I do, I will just go “it’s me, Margaret” and then chuckle, and I don’t think it’s very nice to chuckle during prayers.

7. Why do we go through the exercise of praying if God knows what we are thinking anyway?

8. Maybe the Bible has some advice.

  • Ephesians 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
And then I stopped feeling foolish.  On ALL occasions.  With ALL KINDS of prayers and requests.
  • Romans 8:26-27 – In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

I really did forget how powerful a verse can be.  Here I was, treating this like a research assignment and looking for citations and information.  And instead, I found a tinge of that feeling that I have missed – tingles, brightness, light heart.  Just a speck of it, but enough to keep me going.  And since honesty is the best policy, and there’s no time like the present, and every other trite saying, here is a prayer.  Let’s call it “A Prayer from a Long-Lost Friend”

 

Hey God,

I am not sure you are there.  If you are there, I am not sure you want me.  But I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, and I miss hanging out with you.  It always made me feel good to be with you, and it made me want to be a better person afterwards.  Kind of like a battery recharging.  And there is a lot of shit going on that is draining me lately.  And by lately, I mean the past 10 or so years (yeah, I know, it’s been a while).  I am tired of being bitter.  I am really, really tired of the energy it takes to actively dislike people who, if I’m entirely honest, don’t reflect anything about the Christ that I learned in Sunday school.  I’m tired of blaming people for a bad religion and not offering or being part of solutions.  I’m tired of not feeling good enough.  I am tired of people thinking I’m weird to want to have a relationship with you because you aren’t there, or might not be there, or your followers think I’m sinful and going to hell.  So yeah, I’m tired.  But lately I have remembered what it felt like to have faith, and rest in that faith, and live according to the love I felt in faith.  And it’s really strange that I can remember that feeling, because for a long time I couldn’t.  I thought it was lost forever, and that since I rejected the terms on which it came so long ago, I wasn’t allowed to have it again. Now I know that’s not true.

Please help me with this process.  Help me figure things out.  Keep putting people around me who are amazing ambassadors of faith.  Keep challenging me to be more respectful to ambassadors of yours who aren’t very amazing.  You have my attention.  You practically forced your way into my life again, so I’m listening, somewhat against my will, but I guess entirely in accord with yours.  I’m listening – tell me what happens next.

Love,  Brynn.

First Post

There is nothing more daunting than an entirely blank blog, waiting for The First Post – the one that will set the tone for all subsequent posts… whether you like it or not.

*crickets*

Soooooo…

I’m going to save the “About Me” crap for the About Me page (if I ever make one), and just say that I am in the process of finding my faith again.  I lost it a while ago, when what I was becoming became incompatible with the faith I had.  At first that was scary, and I thought maybe I was becoming something “wrong”.  But 10 years later, I really like who I became/am becoming – so maybe it wasn’t me that was wrong.

I’m a pretty big believer in letting the universe give you clues.  Two men of faith recently entered my life, and that nagging desire for a reconnection with religion got bigger.  It’s now or never, really it is.  And I pick now.

So here’s a place that isn’t Facebook, that people can look at if they want to, or not, and comment, and have a dialogue, and learn about a liberal’s progressive journey into Christianity (again) (but kind of for the first time), and if nothing else, it’s one more voice out there in support of a practical, reasonable and compassionate moral life.  I think we need a lot more of that.