Sunday, February 10, 2013

Losing My Faith

Losing My Faith

I was starting to feel dead inside. The world was all around me, trying to suck me in. Satan and his army were hunting me. I was his prey. I was getting weary from the chase and running out of places to hide. Everywhere I looked, I saw danger, sin, evil, wickedness. I wanted to escape it, but my flesh wanted to join it. It jumped out at me from every corner, every billboard, from the lips of every person I met. It was if I was trapped in a tiny confined space, everything was closing in on me, the end was near. The only way to escape was to cease existing. If I just gave up, I wouldn't have to fight anymore. Perhaps allowing the beast to ravish me would set me free. Any joy or hope seemed nothing but a distant memory. The tiny Light I had once followed had been long replaced with fear. Questions of what I could and couldn't do congested my heart. I cleaved desperately to the forgiveness of sins, going to church only to silently will the minister to get to those few little words so I could feel some sort of relief and get out of there. My plan of action; Avoid the people wanting to say hi, avoid the meaningless conversations of work and the weather, paste on a plastic smile, sing the hymns as if I feel them, look interested in the sermon, try not to fall asleep.
 "Keep fighting the good fight, put away sin, put away doubts, the end is near, satan is working overtime, beware of false prophets, beware of satan's army, the world is getting more and more evil. Be a light. Believe onto peace, freedom and joy." 
How could I believe onto peace, freedom and joy when I had none? I was too busy fighting, my heart was not filled with Light, so how could I be one? What was I supposed to believe in? How could I be happy and free when all I saw was danger. Everywhere I looked were movies, makeup, music, dancing. Even worse; fornication, adultery, greed, selfishness, anger, gluttony but I saw those things in myself too. I had tried to fight them but the harder I tried, the more they seemed to appeal to me. I was quick to anger, quick to judgement, selfish, gluttonous, I had not one good thing in me. I craved the chantings of the forgiveness of sins like it was a drug. I wished to carry it in my pocket to pop a little pill every time I stumbled. Slowly it started to have less and less effect on me until it gave me no strength at all. I had fallen off the straight and narrow and was now on the wide path that leads to destruction. It was dark, yet I felt strangely free. It was an empty freedom though, one with no Light, no warmth. Not that I had seen much before, but at least there has been a little flicker of light in the horizon and it had seemed then, that if I ran fast enough, tried hard enough, confessed my sins and doubts enough, prayed often enough, maybe one day it would shine in my heart. 
Now, it was as if my soul had frozen over. I sought pain and destruction just to feel something. Anything, to know I was alive. My thought was, if I was indeed going to hell (of which I was rather uncertain of its existence) I might as well enjoy my time here. I didn't have any reason not to do the things I had been taught were sins, since I didn't believe they were sins anymore. I hadn't been taught any other reasons why To avoid them. I had lost my shaky, unstable foundation and now I had none. I didn't know how to navigate in this crazy tumultuous world. I was alone, I was stone cold. I had no where to turn. I had my friends, but those friendships were based on nothing more than attending the same parties. In order to keep those friendships, one had to continue in their certain conforming ways. Any one who was different was cast out. It was simply another form of the same thing I had experienced since childhood. 
I lived in this sort of surreal bubble and many days passed where I would look back and not remember what I had done all day. I was nothing more than a weather vane on a roof, changing with the wind. I tried to put myself back in that small box, just to hang on to something, but I found no comfort. Despite not being able to pack myself properly back into it, I wasn't ready to let go of it. I couldn't face the possibility that all I had known from birth may not be the truth. So I ignored it.

Very quickly I was drawn into something I thought I would never do. This was beyond the petty things of movies, makeup and music I had experimented with before. Those were so insignificant. I felt I could not fight it. Had been taught to avoid these extremely unimportant details but I had never been warned of things such as these. I didn't know how to fight it. The devil had taken my finger and soon would devour me entirely. There was nothing I could do. I was weak, poor, sinful, and worthless. I stopped caring about the consequences of my actions on my self or others. It was too exhausting to fight anymore. It was too hard to change and I had no idea where I would even start. At least I felt free in some way. 

One night lying bed, it was as if the flood gates had opened and all the thoughts I had tried to run away from were pouring out like a rushing river. I admitted my doubts, my fears, everything I had tried to repress for the much of my life. I felt free. The things that had been so hard for me to avoid were now like tiny insignificant specks in a whole universe of possibilities. 
I decided to contact a fellow former believer and began to express my doubts and thoughts in writing. It came furiously, passionately, as I explored everything I had pushed down for so long. I was able to find a way to freely express myself. I found myself wanting to do what was right and started to pray.

I was led to the Bible. It opened up to me like ray of sunshine through clouds of gray. It was the Living Water I had longed for but never attained; God is with me, He is in me and around me. Beauty and Light are everywhere. He loves me because He created me. I am free from the bonds of sin through His Son. I could lay my cross upon Him. I had heard that before but had never understood what it meant.

My ever changing storm-tossed heart was stilled and I was free. The danger that had consumed me is now a distant memory, I do not need to fight anymore, I am a Child of God. My God is Good, He is Love, He is Wisdom, He is Truth, He is Hope, He is Light and Life. He is beyond what I know, what anyone knows. He dwells where no man has ever gone. He is Greater than imaginable. I can do all things through Him and I am free. 

Losing my faith, which I now realize was not faith but was fear, was the greatest gift I have ever received, for through it I found a new kind of faith. The faith I have now is a Light to guide my way. It is something far greater than what I have learned in the past and beyond what I can explain in words, deeds or anything else. It is beyond my small mind and beyond my reasoning, beyond my practices, beyond my material world, beyond a list of do's and don'ts and it feels right. Yes, the way is narrow, but it is good. I know, no man can take it away. It lives in me. I do not need to live in fear. Faith IS personal. It is not a battle, it is refreshing, joyous and bubbling like a springtime stream. It is truly a gift and for it I am so grateful. 


  1. WOW... All I can say. Inspirational, incredible, beautiful, amen to that.

  2. Thank you. You give voice to so much of what I felt. The whole idea that no truth exists outside the LLC, no salvation...those are hard things to escape. The teaching that sin is what takes one away from the fold...and that to doubt is sin..
    To be 5 or 6 years old asking "why don't we say God's Peace to grandpa" and be told "He's not a Christian"
    And that same applies to half of your relatives on dad's side and as many on mom's side. "They are heretics"
    It didn't make sense then. It didn't make sense when I was 10. One year we could attend school plays, the next we couldn't, then we could again..or wait, maybe not.
    Then sitting through endless "congregational meetings", watching one or two people "discern" half the congregation in "wrong spirits" in meeting after painful meeting as people were emotionally beaten down until in a burst of tears and release, they confessed and were forgiven, and then eventually, someone else standing up to the women seeing the wrong spirits, and saying "You two are too prideful in your gifts"...and suddenly they were in wrong spirits?!?!
    Then a year or so later my father is browbeaten into saying he was in a wrong spirit because he happened to mention to someone that a conversation with his father (the heretic) in which his father asked him "what if we both are wrong" bothered him...and Inside I knew it was wrong. I remember watching my father struggle, because his conscience told him he had done no great sin, yet he was bound by the congregation. Bound? What the hell does that mean? I can't say God's Peace to my dad? Something in me broke..and I think that is when I stopped believing it all. I said Good night, and God's Peace to my father that night. A small rebellion.
    But I no longer accepted that my Grandpa, or my relatives were really not Christians. But I pretended well. I learned to lie. i lied and hid the fact that I was sexually abused. I lied about the music I listened to. I lived a lie, because while I knew I didn't fit in, I didn't really belong....I didn't know how to fit in anywhere else either. I pretended through the rest of high school, and through college, staying away more and more.
    No peace to be found...just knowledge that I was wrong. I was wrong because I didn't fit. I was adopted. i was abused by a female relative. I didn't believe what the Church said, but I wanted acceptance. I got along best with the rebellious kids. The others who listened to Rock music. But as many of them slipped into drinking and drugs, I didn't fit there either.
    A Chameleon. I did my best to fit in where ever I was.
    The problem is, you eventually forget who you were.
    You never imagine that maybe, just maybe, those doubts you had..might not have been the devil at all. What if they were from a loving God, saying "My Child, there is so much more..."
    I officially left when I got married,to a divorced Catholic no less, and those relatives who lowered themselves to come to my wedding wept as though they were at my funeral.
    But I don't believe God wept...or if he did, it was due to the narrow minded absolutes that were tossed about in his name. I believe God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, for the sins of all. And God weeps and the Devil rejoices, when Christian (followers of Christ) look at other Christians, and judge then "unbelievers".
    God be with you.

  3. So so many parallels.

  4. The whole Laestadian movement has been lifeless since the first Lap land Mary story was hatched by proud Finns. "I am Finn". It just proves that nobody reads the Bible.The fact is there is more truth in the so called worldly churches then there is in any of the Laestadian factions. You can be as snug as a bug in your Laestadian related church and end up in hell because you do not the will of God, that is to trust exclusively in the merits lf Christ, and not in your church,that puts most Finns at odds with God right from the start...Matt


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