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A Confession(s)

May 25, 2010

Confession 1:  It’s very difficult for me to blog or really even open up to people about my inmost feelings and thoughts.  That’s probably why I like theology so much (at least one reason):  it allow me to avoid dealing with the deep part of my heart.  I was just reading about “The Prayer of Examen” in Richard Foster’s Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home.  He talks about how we as moderns rarely allow God to penetrate the depths of our hearts and “examine” us to show us what’s really in there–so that he can heal us.  I, for one, struggle with anything or anyone getting into the depths of my heart.  That’s probably why you see blogs about pacifism and church models.  It’s easy to talk about the theoretical in order to avoid the real.  I’m learning though that life is not theoretical; life is messy.

Confession 2:  I find it very hard to trust people or God.  People first.  I’ve always felt different–like people don’t really “get” me.  Of course, this could all be in my head, but I’m fairly intuitive, so I don’t think it’s that.  In any case, I have to feel safe to open up to people.  I have very few friends, but the ones I have are extremely close because there is safety in their friendship.  I was recently talking to one of my friends about this.  We both expressed that we knew that no matter what we thought, believed, felt, etc. it would not change our friendship.  When I think of Christian talk about unconditional love (agape), I think of these friends.  They are few indeed.

Now more of the confession:  God.  Man, I love God.  I need to say that up front.  I had a friend tell me one time that sometimes when he spent time with God, he would get a feeling similar to butterflies in his stomach at times.  I thought he was crazy when he said that, but I’ve actually had similar experiences.  I also hear songs or watch movies that I believe reflect who God is and it causes my heart to jump.  Belief in God and loving him are not difficult for me.  Yet, I do struggle to trust Him.

Here is my best guess as to why.  Much of what we are called to do and be as Christians and how we are to live in this world is laid out for us in Scripture.  God’s will is pretty easy to know in 95% of life.  Yet, there is that 5% where we need to actually hear God speak to us, or somehow know the mind of Christ for a given situation.  The New Testament paints a pretty clear picture that Christians are to be led by the Spirit; that we can relate to him and be guided by Him.  The Bible calls the Holy Spirit our Comforter and Counselor and that He guides us.  Theologically I know that to be true, but when it comes to my daily experience, I find this to be SO hard to trust in.  Where is He when I need to know how to “work through” something?  Why doesn’t he speak clearly?

Or maybe the question should be:  why can’t I hear Him… Maybe it’s not about trusting God at all; maybe I don’t trust myself.

Confession 3:  I feel like a colossal failure when it comes to “relationships.”  Man…I never seem to do it right.  This actually weighs very heavily on my understanding of my self-worth.  Why do other people seem to be able to date, find the one they want to be life-long companions with, and get married?  I know there are many things that I’ve done “wrong” when it comes to dating.  But still, didn’t the people who are married make mistakes along the way too?  Did they do it exactly right?  Did they “hear” God perfectly?  Or were their relationships just as messy as mine have been?  Where is God in all of that!?

I know that my self-worth should never derive from my ability (or inability) to maintain a healthy relationship.  But it does.  It’s extremely painful at times.

Confession 4:  I want so badly to see the tangible evidence of God’s redemptive work in this world again.  I don’t mean the “So-and-So made a ‘decision’ for Christ yesterday” but the “So-and-So is overflowing with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.”  I want to see real Christianity lived again–the Christianity of the New Testament.  I love Soren Kierkegaard’s honesty in regards to his Christian faith:

If I must be candid, I do not deny that I am not a Christian in the New Testament sense; if I must be honest, I do not deny that my life cannot be called an effort in the direction of what the New Testament calls Christianity, in the direction of denying myself, renouncing the world, dying from it, etc; rather the earthly and the temporal become more and more important to me with every year that I live.

Maybe it has never existed, but if that’s true, then we are all wasting our time.  Yet, I’m confident in my study of church history that there have been people who genuinely embodied the New Testament’s lofty view of Christianity.  Julian, a Roman emperor who tried to revive paganism (as Christianity was growing rapidly) said this about the growth of the movement:

“Nothing has contributed to the progress of the superstition of these Christians as their charity to strangers, the impious Galileans provide not only for their own poor but for ours as well.”

We “play” Christianity for the most part.  But I hope and continue to believe that I will see the real thing again someday.  Hopefully in me.  Hopefully in you.

I know these are random, and honestly, it’s terrifying to put up these “personal” thoughts.  I hope it to be therapeutic.

Blessings.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2010 8:45

    You’re so honest Jonathan. I love it. Keep on keeping on, and keep the main thing the main thing. You’re growing and learning.. and we all are. I struggle with some of the same things, we’re all human and we all question and wonder.

    You’re great. I also forgive you for not calling me this weekend ;)… no really, it’s totally cool. Call and talk when you’re able. Hope school is going well.

  2. May 25, 2010 9:01

    Powerful stuff bro, and I can really relate to it. Love the quote from Julian.

    peace.

  3. May 26, 2010 4:38

    You need to remember only one thing..and never ever forget that “I love you.” That’s easy. -Buddy

  4. May 28, 2010 2:50

    This is rare, Jon and I applaud you for this. 🙂 Not that I didn’t enjoy reading your well-thought-out theology entries, but this is YOU…and I feel I can relate to my author better than any other blogs. 🙂 Thank you for sharing and “confessing”.

    I just had a fresh experience of confession and forgiveness…and the experience itself released me from inner pain that had gone on since the past. It also gives me confidence in the Lord’s authority to deal with different circumstances in life. This is random…but I just wanted to share it to you. I totally agree with you about the examining of the heart. Lots of time I, for one, don’t devote my time to let God searching me…the true me.

    I miss you and love you, Mr. Pumpkin!

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