I have finally realized I need to grow up. Well not completely, but I am growing in my mind and my faith. I am living up to my expectations. It has been a long journey of confusion. The first 10 years, I was a child. The next 7 years, I was a victim. Then I got saved and got married. For a while, I thought I was grown up. I was trying, very hard, to be the woman I thought I should be. I think I was trying to be the woman I thought my in-laws and the Church expected me to be.
Being a mother brought out the best in me. I wanted to be someone my children could look up to. I wanted to be someone they could be proud of. That meant leaving a lot of negative people behind. It meant separation from the ones who were abusive. I got it right some of the time. If I am truthful to myself, I got it right in different stages. Perhaps the hardest was learning that my faith was not the same as my new families. I don’t mean it so much, in what I believed, but what and how to act on that belief. I can see how it would seem I was a “holier than thou” person. I firmly believed you must show the love of Jesus, of God in your spirit. I spent my faith at that time, in hands on loving. I learned the hard way that they were right in ways that I wasn’t. Where I was serving in service, they were serving in stewardship.
They were financially responsible. They took care of their belongings. They lived thankful for their physical blessings, as well as serving. I lived in serving, and not so much in stewardship. It has to be both. I know this now. I am not saying their faith was not as strong as mine; it just wasn’t mine. I spent my days, with my children, hands on all the time. I didn’t care about housework, I did only what was needed. I just didn’t think it was as important as spending time with them. I know that was a direct response to feeling abandoned as a child. I never wanted my children to feel that. I was also unconcerned about financial responsibility.
It took bankruptcy to wake me up financially. Triggering bipolar was a whole new ballgame. Suddenly, I was not able to be the mother I wanted to be. Suddenly, my faith began a tribulation. I went through so many stages of growing. I became overwhelmed. I began to allow things back into my life. I began to allow the wrong people into my life. I began to do things that I never would have done. I did things that shock me and paralyze me when I think of them now. I only made it through that period because God was holding on and wouldn’t let go.
When I moved to South Carolina, a physical separation happened. I didn’t have those negative people in my life anymore. I still wasn’t living what I consider a faith driven life. I had faith, that never ended. I always knew and know that God is there. I just wasn’t following the second part of faith. I followed the commandments; I have always tried to follow the commandments. However, changing back, going back to that first desire as a believer to change the faults, those things that aren’t commandments but are the expression of faith, those are what I have finally begun to observe. I have begun the process of changing habits, thoughts, and daily actions.
It is harder to change faults than it is to follow the commandments. Any person, saved or unsaved, chooses not to steal, not to lie, not to commit adultery. That last one, I know I failed at. I didn’t want or choose specifically for it to happen, but it did happen. I left that life behind years ago. I felt I was living my faith for the last few years. It took Ben to wake me up. Him telling me I wasn’t living my faith, prompted me to grow. He was the one who called himself an atheist. He never used that word; he just always challenged me to prove God existed. So when he said to me, “I always thought you were a better Christian than that”, it killed me. That one statement sent me into another tailspin. First, I was amazed that he was paying attention. Then, I realized how far I had fallen, and how far I had to go.
Since that encounter last fall, I became very depressed. I reacted very strongly to that admission from him. He struck a cord in my heart. I began to realize I was still letting faults, sometimes-great faults, into my faith. I was letting them into my service. That is what has led me to where I am today.
I realized I still had a few of those negative people in my life. I realized I had a lot of faults still in my service. It tore me up inside to know I had compromised as his role model. I let him down, I couldn’t accept that, and I began to cry. It’s hard to understand that, for others, I mean. For years, I have lived in utter fear of crying. Always in the past, crying led to great periods of depression. In addition, I learned that no one wanted to see me cry, the physical act of seeing me cry. No one wanted to hear how depressed I was. I trained myself to shut off the tears immediately, as soon as I began to feel them, the coping mechanism kicked in. Crying opened a door. Crying led to a great depression; it is one that I needed to go through. It was one that I needed to grow through.
Ben wouldn’t talk to me for months. I felt such a great loss from that. I had a falling out with my son, and then my daughter and then my sister. I had also just lost my father. It took months of change to get Ben back. He wasn’t gone; he was waiting to see me become what I professed to be. In December, that period ended. My daughter was not as hard to reconnect with. My sister has just now begun to talk to me again. I have also been going through changes in medication for the bipolar. All of this together aggravated the situation. All of these things began to happen at the same time, as I was de-toxing from Effexor.
Changes happened through writing this blog, through dealing with the losses. I was grieving for my father, for my children, and for my sister. The truth is bigger than that; I was grieving for my faith. I had a meltdown in December and really considered my faith. It occurred to me there was no joy. I felt no joy; faith should be filled with joy. That moment, and the next 24 hours, brought about the beginning of a healing process. I still have the depression, probably now more related to the medication changes, but still other factors. It’s become daily that I realize somewhere else I have a fault.
Somewhere in my past, I had memorized a lot of scripture and it has become a daily reminder of how I should be living. Paying tithes, cleaning my chaos, changing bad habits, those are just a few of the places change has happened. One of the biggest changes, I can see it now, was letting go of mainstream media. I was allowing it to fill my emptiness. When I got sad, or angry, or emotional, I would turn on a show and forget for a while what I was dealing with.
Since turning off the TV I look back and see the filth of it, it’s just unreal. I can’t believe I was sucking it up so thoroughly. If you pay attention, you will see that every kiss has the unspoken agenda of a sexual encounter. You will see that sexual perversion is commonplace, and I am not even talking about homosexuality. I am talking about fornication, adultery, lying, cheating, stealing; all of these things that we subliminally accept. Perhaps the grossest loss in society is the filth we now allow in our thoughts and on our tongues. TV has become a breeding ground for implanting manipulations of other people. It’s become a breeding ground for cursing. It’s become a breeding ground for selfishness. Everything has become me-me-my needs are more important.
I have had to let go of a lot of different types of Medias. TV, Facebook, the radio, and books all have that underlying foundation. I was letting this into my life for years. It’s no wonder that other faults in my faith where growing. I was letting these faults into my life and not even being aware of it. So, I have made changes, big changes.
There are limits that my bipolar and other problems set, but there are many little things that have begun to change. I don’t put me first, in my thoughts. I was always good about loving others and putting them first, on the outside. Changing that in my thoughts is becoming one of my best and most important changes. Now I think before I speak about how I really feel about issues. I think about how it looks to others. I think about Ben, and I wonder, will I hear once again that I compromised my expression of faith to him. I ask myself, would he be proud of me, would he consider that a Christian thing to do.
I have begun also to separate myself from media that compromises my thoughts. All of this change is happening in my heart and mind. My thoughts were so polluted. It seems everyday I am noticing that I really don’t like myself when I think those things. Realizing that I don’t want to watch or hear of people living in sin. I really do want to be an example for others. I don’t want to be letting God down. I will never be perfect. Jesus said, himself, that no one is good, no one except the Father. I can see it now. I was in a delusion over that.
Now, I read my Bible everyday for at an hour, and sing hymns or gospel songs. I play the gospel songs on my computer and in my car. All of this time I had never even read the entire Bible. I couldn’t believe it when that became apparent. I have now read the entire Bible.
God really has a great sense of humor. That’s the first thing I noticed. He really is not a “holier-than-thou”. He is holier than thou, but He is love first. I am waking up everyday to new things I am learning about Christ, about God and about the Holy Spirit. My prayer life has grown leaps and bounds. I realize my complete dependence on God.
I turn off television shows that have open sex. Why do they need to show sex? You know they have done it, why do you need to see it. I have begun to turn off shows that use the Lord’s name in vain. Do you realize how many times, in one hour, that they say the Lord’s name in vain? I immediately close any book that does this. If the author does it once, you know they will do it again. If they are letting this into their lives, so much that they write it, what else will you be accepting from them? I stopped watching shows with witchcraft, shows with homosexuality, and shows with open sexual activity. I have also turned off shows that I love the concept of. One of my favorite shows was The Voice. I had to stop watching it. Not only do they use God’s name in vain, they dress so provocatively that it’s all you can do not to see someone’s breasts or other body parts. I really do not want those images clouding my thoughts. When they cloud your thoughts, they cloud your life, and more drastically your faith. Everyday, I see just how polluted my mind has become.
The paranoia of the bipolar makes it harder for me. I know I should be aware of this going on. It’s just so important now that I prevent its encroachment that is why I react to it so emphatically. I literally see something and have to turn it off. I just don’t want it anymore. The paranoia is a fear that I will start to slip into it again. So I am thinking this paranoia is healthy.
I am just beginning to grow. I no longer think of myself as any kind of good or holy. I really just believe I should be thankful. I am thankful that God held on. I am thankful that He is still holding on. I am relieved that He never changes. I can see everyday how much Christ did by coming to the earth. I used to say I wasn’t better, but I was better off. I am living that now.
I am seeing just how much the world needs Him, but even more so how much the Church is lacking. Just like me, the Church needs a revival. We have to end this pollution. We have to go back, even 20 years, when we expected good things to be taught in school, to be shown on television and heard on the radio. Listen to the radio for 30 minutes and you will hear every kind of filth. Just 30 minutes is too long now.
My blog has changed also. I have stepped away from too many graphic details. I have stopped posting about people who let me down. It is me that let me down. They were just living their lives. They had influence in mine, because I let them. Now I see I have to guard that. A healthy person will naturally guard that. I know some of my faults are based in the abuse, but letting them still live in me is my own abuse. It is time for me to stop blaming and start living above the negative that has been in my mind and heart. Its time to stop looking at other peoples expressions of faith, and to consider my own. Truly, it comes down to taking the log out of my own eye, out of my own faith.