My last post was about 2 years ago. If I read through my older blogs I'd be so surprised at how I got to the point I am now. I am so not perfect. These verses in Romans 7, make much more sense to me now than they ever have.
"15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it."
I've grown up knowing how I should act and behave, and when I was young, it was easy--everyone was doing it. My friends did the right thing, and I did the right thing. It wasn't a struggle or a battle because I was just going along with the positive peer pressure. However, somewhere along the way, the pressure started to feel a whole lot less positive, and a lot more condemning and manipulative.
If I am being completely honest here, I genuinely want to do the right things and serve God with all my heart. But it is a battle. People around me are not doing the things I was raised to do. I struggle constantly with being an independent, young, college student, who is finally experiencing "freedom" and trying to keep that consistent with my faith. I start to question what is really right and what is really wrong. What do I believe? I know Who I believe and Who my faith is founded in, but the expression of that faith gets pretty blurry to me at times. I feel as though a genuine heart that wants to seek to please God should be enough despite imperfections.But I feel as though that isn't always enough in the Christian social sphere.
As hard as I try not to be, I am bitter towards church in a lot of ways. Don't get me wrong, I know more good, forgiving, kind, Christian families than I can count, but at the same time I look at the "friends" I've had in my life that were supposed to be upholding Christian values and I feel so betrayed and taken advantage of. From my experience, its more likely that I'll meet someone who only wants to get to know me out of curiosity and to make themselves feel better about their own weaknesses than it is for me to find anyone I can be completely honest with and know that whatever they say is in my best interest, and they won't leave me at the first sign of struggle. I know people are flawed... and I just have seen enough of it that I am bitter, discouraged, and lonely. I have two people in my life that I can be completely and honestly myself with. Outside of those two people, I feel like I have to pick an extreme. I either have to pretend to be a wild person with little sense of morality and appeal to one crowd, or I have to put on a mask and act like I am put together and "spiritual" to make others feel more comfortable around me. I just really feel like its not right. We are all human and we all struggle. But in the midst of my struggle I want to do good! I want to please God! Its common in church to say "Come as you are." But I feel like often times I can come with my struggle, but I better clean it up awfully quick before someone actually sees me.
Reminds me of some lyrics in the song "Jesus, Jesus" by Noah Gundersen. "Jesus, Jesus, there are those that say they love you, But they have treated me so -- mean. And I know you said 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do,' but sometimes I think they do."
The whole point of this is that I think a lot of time there is a pressure to put on a public spiritual facade, and to me that just doesn't make sense. If Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, then Christianity should not feel exhausting to the point where I've felt like I need to push away. I sit here, a human that loves God, that loves others, and wants to change the world...but at the same time, I can't act like I am someone that I am not. And there has to be a place for people like me. My heart wants to do good, and sometimes I set out to do the right thing, and I end up failing or not following through. But my heart wants to be there! I don't think that should omit me from the race. I am running just as hard as everyone else...but I just refuse to act like I'm more put together than I am. Unfortunately, that's left me looking like a failure and disappointment. And it kills me sometimes, but it is the truth. And I wish being honest wasn't such a lonely and vulnerable place, but it is. It leaves me isolated. No one else can see my heart and my desires. No one else can see my regrets and my hopes. No one else can truly know what I feel. But I don't want to walk around feeling duplicitous. I need some sort of middle ground for me to walk through. Not to stay in forever, but to walk and sort things out without being rejected. I just wish I had a safe place to be myself, and love who I love and enjoy what I enjoy, and be free and enjoy life. That's all I really want.