On my face with faith

Faith.  Ug.

That about sums up the past couple of years of my life.  I guess you could say I’m on my face, but not in the spiritually prayerful way.  It’s more like I’m just on my face…physically.  It’s more of a grinding into the ground kind of thing really. My mouth full of dust.  My skin covered in scrapes.  I’m on my face, as opposed to my feet, or my knees for that matter.  Now it’s time to see what I can do about it.  It’s time to pick some pebbles out of the wound and see what the damage is like under the dirt.

Lately I have felt kind of stuck, so I thought maybe writing about it would be good.  So here I am.  I will explain more in this post as well as in a series of others, but I don’t think I’ll post them all to Facebook.  The only reason I post this one to Facebook is because I value some of the feedback some of you may choose to give me, but going forward, I don’t really want to pester people.  If others post what I write, that’s ok.  After all, the Internet is a public forum, so I don’t pretend to be doing this in a private journal.  So I’m welcoming spectators, which in and of itself is not a comfortable thing for me.  I’m more of a private person, but I think the “audience” will drive me to try and be clear about what I mean.  That’s kind of the point of writing any of this.  I’m trying to be thorough enough to force myself to be articulate and not wishy washy.  I can’t guarantee anything though.  🙂  So if you consider yourself as someone who cares about me or if this post resonates with you in some way, don’t rely on Facebook to keep you up to date.  Subscribe to the blog or check back often or something.

Some might be less inclined to refer to this event/phase in my life as an “on the face” thing and more inclined to refer to this kind of thing as a “crisis of faith”; I know I myself have referred to it in that way in the past.  But “crisis” suggests urgency and I don’t really feel urgency.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t like the feeling of being unsure and unwilling to dive in, but I also don’t see any compelling reason to rush anything.  Though I know some of those closer to me are showing signs that they are being driven a little crazy by me being in this phase.  Maybe I’m just more patient than they are, or maybe I’m letting them down.  Probably it’s a little of both.

The point is, I’m really not sure what I believe about life anymore.  By “life” I mean that I’m not sure about humanity and faith in God.  Life and death too.  I know what I want to believe, but it dogs me that it feels so…put on.  I’ve been a Christian since probably around 11 years old or so – giver or take a year.  As I write this, Christianity has been a part of my life in some way for over 25 years.  Right now it’s as though I’m in a place where I’m kind of saying, “Ok. What did I decide?  How does that decision make sense?”  So I’ve kind of gone back to the start in a way.  It’s not really a bad thing, but it is a little uncomfortable.

This phase started some time ago for me.  I can’t really say one thing that kicked it all off, but rather life just kind of happened.  Partly, I just got older.  Partly, I wore out a little. Partly, I learned some stuff.  It was probably kicked off by a bunch of things that all add up to me eventually being unsure.  I often think about an analogy of a gas tank.  The gas tank is inside me (somewhere) and it has something (not sure what) in it, or at least it HAD something in it.  Over time, I used that something up.  Now, I kind of feel dead in the water.  Tank’s empty.  Much of the last few years have been about me trying to understand what was in that tank, what used it up, and what refills it.  I use the word “trying” here liberally because if I’m honest, I haven’t been all that active at times in trying to sort it all out.  This post represents a big chunk of my “trying” as of late.  It’s a start though, right?  Where better to start a thing than like 5 years in?  🙂

So what do things look like for me right now?  Ok, I’ll try and expose how this is playing out at the moment.

I still go to church, but I don’t participate in the same way I used to.  I listen, I reflect, but I don’t act without conviction. I’m usually not feeling convicted.  Ok.  For the most part, I don’t act at all.  I don’t play music at church anymore.  I don’t pursue with any fervor spiritual disciplines like study and piety.   I focus on what I am sure of, which isn’t much, and this results in very little churchy kind of activity.  I do like the people I have in my life though.  Even the church ones! 🙂  So I focus there; with the people I know.  I try and have friends and be friendly.  I try and support those I care about.  Mostly, I try and be a dad and make sure my family has what it needs.  Genuineness resonates a lot with me.  I want to have integrity when I do things.   I’m not really willing to fake anything – even for a short time to bridge a gap to a place where I really mean it.  It’s not that this approach isn’t valid as it’s something I’ve tried in the past, but it just doesn’t seem appropriate right now.  I do make some small effort to be in the way of God.  That is to say that even if I’m not sure about God, if He’s out there (in here…whatever), He will try and reach me at some point.  So I go to some men’s meetings.  I also hang out with people who don’t seem to display the same faith issues as I; maybe something will rub off.  I try not to be stubborn about it.  I wouldn’t say I’m dug in all that much (though I’m sure I’ll find that I am in some aspects.  🙂 )

Maybe I should have said this before but if it isn’t obvious, I definitely do NOT have the answers in all this.  At least not yet.  This is a journey and I’m lost somewhere between stations…with an empty tank…on my face.  What’s more is that I actually do have many of the “answers”.  Yes, confusing, I know.  What I mean is, I have been a Christian for many years and in my head I can hear the things I used to say to people and I can hear the things I’d expect to hear from others.  All of these answers are in my head, but so far, non of them have really fit.  They all seem likely to be temporary answers that will eventually fail me as others have in the past have.

So, that’s about it.  Future posts will reveal more.  If you want to come along for the ride, please do but no pressure.  Really.  Follow if you want, but don’t do it just because I might ask or whatever.  I’m not sure I’d take the time to read other peoples faith journey stories, so I totally get it if this kind of thing isn’t for you.  The ride might get kind of bumpy too.  It is, after all, about me being on my face.  I’m going to try not to filter too much.  Basically, I’ll write as though no one is caring what I think.  I’ll try not to save face…beside it’s already mashed into the ground I’m pretty sure. 🙂

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13 thoughts on “On my face with faith”

  1. I am totally there with you…not to say that I am in exactly the same place, but our places sound pretty similar. I go to church to be with people I love. I help out with music to support the family, but I don’t really feel “spiritual”. I find myself really loving Jesus mostly in terms of what a great teacher and a great example he is, showing us how to love everyone, but that is about the extent of my “love” for him at this moment. Does that make sense at all?

    • Makes sense to me! Its an strange place to be, that’s for sure. After 25 years, I didn’t expect to all of a sudden feel unsure and uninspired. But here I am… Guess I better see what I can make of it. Thanks for reading.

  2. As one who has struggled with ‘faith’ throughout his life, I look forward to your future posts.

  3. I find your comment about after 25 years that you didn’t expect to be where you are, interesting. I’m going to follow you Anth, partly because I love you but partly because after 25 years I feel like I am in a similar place. Except I don’t even go to church anymore. I know I should go, I can give excuses why I don’t go but mostly its because I don’t make the effort. Not sure if your post is supposed to cause me to reflect on my own journey but there you have it. I do have some experience with bank accounts though and I do know what happens when you aren’t making deposits. I feel like my account got into overdraft with camp. And life losses. Feeling on your face did resonate with me because I do feel tired and tipped over. I love that you are brave enough to do some self reflection though. Kind of proud of you actually. I’ve always loved what a deep thinker you are. Probably what I admire the most in you. Anyway, maybe I need to start making a few deposits of my own, like that would fix anything. Maybe a mission. Maybe you should come with me. Maybe we could start with lunch……..

  4. God loves you so very much, it’s crazy. So He knows what you’re experiencing and knows how tough faith can be….why not ask Him to comment on what’s going on? “Listening” can be to others, to what you read in the bible or other places, and what your heart says. I’m 100% confident that He will respond if you ask Him for answers. It may take some time but I know he’ll be delighted that you confided in Him….it says somewhere in the bible that we can ask Him to help our unbelief….so why not?

  5. Hi Anth.
    I hear a voice that is sometimes like my own. This is not easy stuff to untangle. It’s tough to “sit with it”, too. Just letting it be is hard. I admire your willingness to share because sometimes life is not simple and to read such openness is comforting and confirms that one’s own “human experience” might be reflected by others sometimes. Thanks and I’m interested in your journey xx

  6. Hey Anthony, just thought you should know that I spent 25 years in a bad place. You were one of the people that helped bring me back. Thanks. Here is something I point at all the time. I hope it means something. John 10:10.

  7. Anthony, if there is anything I can do, please do not hesitated to ask.

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