God, I’m tired of looking for you in all the wrong places. I used to wrap you up in doctrine, but now I’m wrapping you up in doubt about doctrine. I’m wrapping you up in this impossible quest to know what is true about you and what isn’t. I’m tired of expending so much energy into trying to figure out what I’m supposed to believe, how those beliefs are supposed to saturate the way I live my life for you.
I’m tired of questions, tired of fear, tired of pressing down a rag to muffle that voice deep in my heart that whispers so many doubts and fears and desperation into my soul. And I’m tired of the fact that no matter how much I try to silence it, that voice doesn’t ever really go away.
I’m tired of my church telling me what my beliefs ought to be. I’m tired, so very tired, of pushing back. I’m tired of resisting everyone’s attempts to explain things to me, to make sense of things for me and tell me how things are supposed to be. Because the thing is, no one can explain the world to me, but they can support me as I wander through this giant mess of a religion that has unraveled around me.
Because that’s the thing. I don’t need answers—from others or from myself—even though answers are what I desperately want and what I am desperately searching for. Answers will just lead me back into that box I used to live in, that box with four walls and a roof and a floor that tells me, “God’s not outside of this. God can’t exist if these walls break apart”. I’ve got to stop trying to reconstruct a new box out of the ashes of the old one, I really do.
Instead, what I’ve got to do is let go. It’s so hard, because I’ve been searching so hard for so long and with so much desperation. I’ve been so sure that in my rejection of fundamentalism I would finally be able to find God, and he would finally begin his work in me. I’ve been reading lots of books and lots of blogs and listening to lots of sermon podcasts that have really challenged the doctrines I grew up with and have expanded the way I view God drastically, and that has been a very good thing (have a look here for some examples). I have found that what I’m doing is looking at the world in a new way, and perhaps even God in a new way. But I’m still depending on my own searching instead of letting God lead me. And that is probably why I’m so tired: because I’m still going at this Christianity thing on my own strength, listening to my own half-formed ideas about the voices of men, instead of listening for God’s voice.
So I’m not sure what the answer is. I’m not sure if this means I need to put away the books, remove all the blogs and podcasts from my favorites, and get down on my knees and pray. Maybe it does. But even that still feels like going at my relationship with God on my own. God never feels very near when I try to pray, and more often than not I end up letting my mind wander instead, and prayer time turns into “Tiff thinking about her life” time. Or “Tiff thinking about her beliefs” time. But maybe, as a dear friend of mine reminded me, true prayer time takes practice. Maybe the less I focus on me and the more I keep my focus on God when I pray, the easier it will be to cast my cares upon him, and let him wash away my tiredness.