Tuesday, January 14, 2014

god doesn't directly work for me

As all this stuff with G is playing out, I have been thinking that I have become one of those folks who goes to  I did my own personal therapy for my postpartum issues.  D and I have done marriage therapy.  And now whatever it is we're doing with G with the psychologist and OT.  Plus, physical therapy with N when she was a baby.

For a very long time, long before I was medicated but when I almost certainly should have been, I tried praying as a means to deal with my own dissatisfaction/suffering/anxiety.  I would fervently pray, and with my obsessive streak prior to meds, when I say fervently pray, I mean it.  And I would temporarily feel better.

But as soon as I backed off from the obsessive prayer, my anxiety/suffering/dissatisfaction would return, which made me feel like god was letting me down.

I compare it to people who go on carb-free diets, eating nothing but red meat and broccoli.  They lose weight until they start to eat a regular, more realistic diet, and then they see their weight pick back up because the first diet really wasn't something they could maintain in the long-term.

For reasons I don't fully understand even to this day, the god of my life was never a terribly compassionate god who didn't want to witness my struggle and stood with me in my pain.  That was never how I envisioned god.  He/she/it was always sorta standoffish and critical (maybe because there is a sizable chunk of my own personality that feels standoffish and critical?)

Perhaps because of my earlier experiences, I not do anything like "typical" prayer now.  I think good thoughts for others, wishing them peace in their suffering, hoping that whatever is best for them will happen, but I do not ask god specifically for anything.  I generally don't say, "Dear god, please help so and so recover from cancer" or "Please allow so-and-so to get that new job."

There are a couple reasons for this:
1. Just because I or the other person might want recovery from cancer or that specific job, that might not be the way things are meant to happen.  I believe that I know nothing about the ways of the world/existential universe so maybe me asking for certain specific things is really asking for the wrong thing?
2. If I believe god answers prayers, then it makes sense to me that god sometimes doesn't answer prayers, and that seems kinda ass-hole-ish.

I find that for my own blood pressure, it is best that I just keep people in my heart, wishing them peace, strength, rest, comfort, etc and so on.

Because of my personality or for whatever reasons, god does not speak to me in any form of a direct line.  I think this is why it sorta weirds me out when I hear people who deeply believe say "God spoke to me" or something along those lines.  God and I don't talk, text, IM or anything of that nature.

What I eventually came to understand is that for me to feel god's presence it has to be through interaction with other people.  I generally don't feel god when I am alone (although sometimes if I am alone in nature I do).  I don't have a calming sense of god's presence, feeling his/her/its goodness wash over me.  I don't even experience this when I am around people, in the midst of them, like at Sunday service.

What I have experienced is that when I have been at my most desperate and have sought out the help of others, I have felt a sense of peace.  Even when I haven't sought help, but have been given help or companionship by others, I feel a tremendous sense of something akin to peace washing over me.  It is the space between me needing and/or asking for help and others offering it and helping me understand my pain that I have felt a sense of god.

A year or so ago I read The Five Love Languages, and "helping others" was my way of showing and receiving love.  I'm not touchy-feely, I blow off verbal compliments, and I do not enjoy receiving gifts, but if someone offers to help me in some way (taking time and effort out of their lives), I feel loved.

So I guess, then, it makes sense that when I am being helped is when I feel god's presence.  

No comments: