Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

For the last five months I have suffered from post traumatic stress. The flashbacks hit me like waves hitting the shoreline. They are powerful, overwhelming, and frequent. When they hit they envelope my entire conscience. The irony about post traumatic stress is that to deal with it, one must flow with it. First, one must let the waves completely wash over the entire body by accepting the flashback. And as a surfer uses the waves to his advantage, so must one control the memories and the images of the flashback. As I play the scene(s) over and over again in my head, I wonder if there’s anything I could have done differently. I go through each stage of grief. And when the thoughts are too great to handle, I temporarily escape them by repeating this verse over and over: “And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8) Every day is a healing process, every flashback is an opportunity to move forward. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with PTSD, years ago it caused problems in the workplace, in my relationships, and in my spiritual life. I take comfort knowing I am not alone in this process, I serve a God whose love stands firm and in whom there is much hope.


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I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian home. My parents made sure we got a good Christian education and church experience. Even though both institutions were unhealthy, they still laid a solid foundation of faith. Over the years, though, I’ve gradually moved more and more left. This doesn’t mean i’m not a Christian, it just means I’ve started thinking on my own and have determined that the majority of Christians use The Bible to fulfill their own agenda. They use verses to back up what they say The Bible says is true. I can’t see though how the Jesus I’ve gotten to know would act the way these Christians act or think the way they think. The last few months I have been church-less. This isn’t of my own doing, back in December I wrote a post about how I was losing my church. Since then I haven’t been able to find the kind of church I would like to see my family and I attending. Am I floating on clouds to believe there is a church out there who teaches the combination of everything I believe is true? Am I being unreasonable to think that I don’t want to attend a church who teaches some of these values that I have been raised with my entire life? This isn’t political, I’m not looking for a democratic church (I still do not consider myself either Republican or Democrat), just something a little less than traditional. I want my son to be in a church environment. I want him to learn about Jesus and be surrounded by other kids, I want him to go to Sunday School. I’m confident that with our direction as his parents we can talk through all that junk that the church teaches and help him figure it out for himself. I hesitate because I have learned through my most recent church that church is about community. I have issues with being in a relatively big church because I have a difficult time connecting with others and once I do connect with them I fear they will boldly speak so ignorantly and stubbornly as most Christians I know. That is a problem for me because if I don’t keep my mouth shut then I know something terrible is bound to happen, but I want them to get to know me for me. This is possibly more fearful than I should be and I am possibly caring a little too much of what my maybe future community will think of me, I don’t know. What I do know is that I can not let myself go to another church where I keep my head down until I find my usual seat then leave just early enough to miss the crowd being excused for the day. I miss going to church. I miss the people that I have grown to love and I fear I will never find a church that I love or agree with more than my last one. I’m not trying to come off as whiny, I am just still dealing with this loss and every new loss I have just reminds me of this one. I have no answer, yet. I will keep seeking and praying until my heart finds its home.

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Our beliefs, our biases, our attitude towards religion, what we do and do not believe  is influenced greatly by the people in our lives. 

I have so much bitterness about certain beliefs because in my upbringing I was around people who abused their religion, who took words out of the bible and created their own meaning, who spoke one thing but lived a life that is worthy of nothing but disgust. I was around very few people who were full of substance and lived lives that were raw and transparent. I suggest that I am not the only one out there with experiences such as these, that I am one out of many who struggle with ideologies from their past, who fight inward battles with beliefs that contradict each other. 
How sad. Words are so futile compared to our actions. What if we all lived lives that allowed questions without judgement, truth without fear, emotion unguarded. I weep for those who can not get past the hurt caused by the ones who were supposed to be wise, who were supposed to teach truth, who were supposed to love you without limitations. Children are fragile and impressionable and see beyond the lies that adults seem to hide so well with each other. Act with reason, live with intent, and step out of your self-centered world. I guarantee you will find a world out there who feels emotion just like you, that the world will still exist after you have walked alongside somebody who doesn’t believe the same thing you do, that time will still move forward if you ask a tough question. You will find a world who just wants to be accepted and loved for who they are in that moment. 

Religion is everywhere. Religion is action based on belief, even the absence of belief is belief. We can’t get around the thousands of ideologies thrown at us on a daily basis. But we can stop being so afraid of them. Be free to discover, to feel, to believe what you wish; and mostly I urge you to allow others that same gift.

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