A few years ago when I first began to blog I wrote about a trip I took. It was a long trip and lasted a few months. The destination was somewhere I had gone before but this time the trip was different. It was deeper and more treacherous. The trip I took a few years ago although very unpleasant, changed my faith life in an irreversible way. The trip I took a few years back was to the pit; to the pit of doubt about my faith in God. I doubted His existence which led to doubts about my existence. I abandoned a teaching career to pursue a graduate degree in seminary. We had put our children in Christian schools and taught them all about Jesus being the foundation and focal point of their lives. Everything in fact in the past 15 years or so had revolved around God so to suddenly wonder about the legitimacy of it all was difficult, dark and challenging. Eventually however, I climbed out of the pit (very slowly) and came out stronger, forever changed and extremely grateful.
Yesterday I fell back into the pit however and just like the last time I journeyed to that place of doubt in my faith and in God, I was pretty “ticked” off about it (even though I am mad and frustrated about my faith, I have opted not to use profanities in my blog). I have tried so hard and I have tried to stop trying so hard (I keep hearing pastors tell us to quit “striving”; pretty sure in fact I have taught that myself. Today, in the pit, I don’t even know what that means or what it looks like). I have prayed, read my Bible and hung out with other Jesus people. I have cried and cried and begged and begged and frankly, it’s getting a little old. What is the point? Although God gives me little sweet evidences of His love for me and I know that He is the best thing I have to depend on when everything else falls out from underneath me, I seem to pack my bags and board and re-board the plane to the pit of “Why is faith so hard and disappointing?” all too often, and frankly, that ticks me off too. What kind of flaky person falls in and out of a pit doubting what not only they have come to base their life upon, but that they teach to everyone they love because they thought down to the core of their being that everyone needs to know this? I am beginning to empathize with David and his seemingly bipolar Psalms. Obviously he vacationed in the pit sometimes too.
So what now? Well for starters I know based on my last trip to the pit, I may be here awhile. I also know that in the pit I will still pray and still read my Bible. Why? I’m not totally sure other than that I’ve got too much skin in the game to walk away now. What now means I still have to parent and work and do life from the perspective of the pit. I listened to a curriculum I am previewing for our women’s ministries to start this fall and like last time I was in the pit, listening to church people is really annoying when you aren’t feelin’ the love. They make it sound so easy and awesome and when you are in a pit, all you really want is someone to throw you a rope (not tell you how awesome it is to be NOT in the pit). What now? Until I get out of the pit I will try to be authentic about the place I am while trying to honor God. Why do I care about honoring a God I’m mad at? Yes, I still fear the lightning strikes but more than that, last time I traveled to the pit it was not God that changed or had to learn something. It was me; my emotions getting the best of me and a really rockin’ pity party. I’m sure on a cognitive level that is the case again but nonetheless, a pit dweller I shall remain (at least for a little while).
“Dear God, help. I need a rope. I don’t need a nice song or a happy plastic Christian speaker. I need a big God to show up in a personal way with so much power that I will know undoubtedly that it is You. You know I never mean disrespect and I never mean to encourage others to jump in the pit with me, but you have given me the gift of transparency. I learned last time I was here that you can handle this. I pray like last time I come out stronger in my faith (but I hope I can climb out faster this time). In Your Name (that you know I want believe in more than ever before), Amen.”