I do this thing where I go between being super super enthusiastic about my faith, to being completely sceptical of everything. There is very rarely any middle ground. There are times when I feel like shouting it from the rooftops – I’m engaged in church, I want to take part in worship and cell groups, I write blog posts about it, i’m enthused by the lyrics to songs about how great God is, and I get frustrated when other people don’t seem interested. I sing along to songs with real passion – I want to believe it all and feel it and connect with God. But then I hit this brick wall, where I realise I don’t understand what i’m singing about or reading about. I listen to a podcast, but I raise my eyebrows at every second sentence because it just all seems too far fetched. The passion turns to doubt, and I just end up confused and frustrated.
This turnaround happened at youth councils at the weekend, and actually went back and forward about 3 times within a 2 hour meeting. My mind kept going between being really challenged by what was being preached or by the words the worship band were singing, to thinking ‘how does anyone in here know any of this is real?’
Across the weekend it was reiterated that we are all created by and loved by God. We were given a bit of paper that read “You are loved more than you will ever know by someone who died to know you”. But how does that even make sense? I heard someone much older and wiser and further along their faith journey say the other day that they think some of the old testament should be discarded, partly because of how ridiculous and unrealistic stories like Jonah and the Whale, for just one example, sound. I had to physically bite my tongue to stop myself from replying that surely Jesus rising from the dead is just as, if not more, unrealistic? I just don’t know how to comprehend it all. Can you believe some stuff but not others? Is that allowed? (Answers would be appreciated!!!)
I am someone who wants to believe and trust and understand and really ‘enter in’ and have a relationship with God. But how it can be remotely possible to have a relationship with someone you can’t see, or really talk to, or even prove is real? How can someone so powerful, who’s supposed to have created the world and everything in it, know every person on the planet…know them and know how their life will turn out and hear their prayers? I just don’t get it. I really want to get it – I want to believe that there is something out there to fill the gap. I’m not finding things very easy at the minute, and people always say that ‘His strength is perfect’ and that your help will come from the Lord and about 30 other similar cliches, and I want to believe that if I trust and rely on Him that everything will be okay (well, maybe not okay, but that whatever happens, I’ll be following God’s plan/in his arms blah blah blah)… but how do you even do that, and how does it work?
A song called “Clear the stage” was played on Sunday and I find the lyrics quite powerful. (And I don’t think I was the only person on Sunday who felt that way, I’ve seen it shared on Facebook a couple of times since!) I don’t necessarily agree with all of the lyrics, but there is a section near the end of the song which reads:
“We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it…
Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my love is an idol”
At the time I was challenged by those lines – there are so many things that we let, either purposely or subconsciously, get in the way of our faith and our relationship with God. I couldn’t even start to list them. A conversation with someone on Sunday afternoon subsequently made me realise that actually, not only do the things I do/want/love/think of become ‘idols’ and get in the way, but actually, so does the way I think. My incessant analysing and questioning and dissecting of everything i’m told, particularly when it comes to things about God, often pushes me further away, instead of giving me a better understanding. And i’m not sure where that leaves me. I don’t want to blindly accept things because that’s not me. But I don’t want to push myself further away from God either. I’ve been told before that as mere humans, we’re not meant to understand Him, and I’ve posted before that I thought i’d become okay with that, but maybe I’m not after all.
Another song that was played at least twice on Sunday was called ‘Simplicity’. At the time, I really didn’t engage with it, but upon listening to it again and reading through the lyrics, I can really connect to it.
“I come in simplicity
Longing for purity
To worship You
In spirit and truth
The lines that get me the most though are these:
Give me a childlike heart
Lead me to where You are
To some extent, I would love to have a childlike type faith, where I didn’t question every little detail, and just accepted readily who God is and that He loves Me, rather than raising my eyebrows to the ceiling and asking 20 questions when someone says that. This is a very messy post, but I guess that’s my ultimate prayer at the minute. I need his help, I just need to figure out how to comprehend trusting in him and all that He is.