I was planning to go somewhere else with this next post on why women are unhappy, but a recent conversation with a good friend convinced me that I should start here.
So let’s talk, shall we, about that familiar kill-joy for women everywhere: guilt.
It’s no secret I haven’t blogged lately. For anyone who might still check in occasionally, I apologize. I believe I am finally coming to some of the answers that have eluded me for so long, and while this is a beautiful, exciting thing, the imperative to blog has diminished somewhat.
Still, I am very interested in exploring my story. I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to start writing it down, if only to tell it to myself. I’m spending this summer in a strange land and I’ve decided to use it as an opportunity to write. I spend a lot of my spare time (and I have more than I’ve had in over 10 years) focused on this project. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to share the whole thing publicly, but I thought I might be able to post little snippets here and there for anyone who is interested.
This is an experience I had when I was seven. I’ve filed it under “Confessions of a Licked Cupcake” because, you guessed it, it deals with S-E-X (a favorite topic of mine, of course!). Don’t worry, it’s harmless and (hopefully) kinda funny. Enjoy. 🙂
My relationship to Mormonism is like my marriage.
When I first married my husband, I thought he was one way. Handsome, funny, vibrant, talented, charismatic, intelligent.
And he is all of those things — and much, much more.
But the more I got to know him, the more I became acquainted with his faults. His inflexibility, his quickness to anger, his tendency to withdraw emotionally even when I need him.
It was a terrifying discovery.
Because as a young woman, idealistic and naive, I believed that love makes everything better — and that “better” means smoother, simpler, without stress or strain.
What, then, to do when I discovered that it was harder than I thought it would be? That along with the intimacy and joy, I’d be fighting through pain, frustration, anxiety, even heartache?
If it’s really right, shouldn’t it be easier than this?
Today, I simply want to affirm that my approach to the gospel can summed up by the 13th Article of Faith:
We believe in being honest, true…
This touched me on multiple levels tonight, as I realized how painful honesty can be.
Sometimes, it means sacrificing my public face in favor of acknowledging a private truth, even when it makes me look bad. At other times, it means standing up for my beliefs, even when my culture or community might reject me or my interpretation. It might require that I relinquish power, authority, or control in order for another person to be free. In almost every instance, it means being willing to let God to shine a light on injustice, cruelty, violence, hatred, bigotry, and intolerance wherever it exists — but especially in my own heart — so that I may see it for what it is, and do what I must to root it out as quickly as possible.
So after a long conversation via IM today with my charming brother-in-law Brian (warning: his site contains extensive cursing), I decided to write a post about what I believe about God.
I’ll follow it up in a few days about what I DON’T believe about God.
But let’s get the positives first. 🙂
1. I believe in God. First things first, I believe there is a God. While I think there are strong reasonable arguments for the existence of God, ultimately my belief in God has very little to do with reason. (In other words, I think my belief in God is REASONABLE, but reason is not the SOURCE of my belief.) Instead, the source of my belief is subjective personal experience with the Divine and intense spiritual longings that tell me it is so. I understand this might not be satisfying to skeptics. I don’t care. I believe for me, not them.
2. I believe in One God. In other words, I’m a monotheist.
3. I believe God is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. Still, I think there is NO conflict between science and religion. I believe what we discover about science reveals more about God’s methods of creation and governance of the natural world as opposed to providing “proof” He doesn’t exist. The two need not be incompatible.
4. I believe in a personal God. I believe in a God who knows us INDIVIDUALLY and is concerned with us PERSONALLY.
5. I believe in a loving God. More than just a personal God, I believe in a God who loves us. This is because I have felt God’s love transform me.
6. I believe God is Good. Beyond the fact that God is personal and loving, I believe in a God who is All Good.
7. I believe God is Eternal, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Perfect, and Glorious. I don’t know exactly what all that means, but I believe it nonetheless.
8. I believe God is incomprehensible. As an extension of #7, I believe that the fact that I don’t know exactly what it all means is kind of the point. I think if a person could comprehend God, He wouldn’t be much of a God.
9. I believe Jesus Christ is God. I’m a Christian, and believe that Jesus was in fact God, who condescended to take upon Himself our sins and sorrows. I think the idea that a perfect, all-knowing, all powerful God would descend from glory to suffer with us is the most beautiful idea I’ve ever heard.
10. I believe that God wants to make us into something much more than we are. I don’t know exactly what the end result will look like, or even have the slightest clue what it entails, but I believe it’s gonna be good.
So those are the basics for me. What about you? What do you believe about God?
“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I was on my mission, my mission president’s wife told us,
“You can’t convert anybody above your own level of belief.”
I remember feeling vaguely uncomfortable when she said that, because I was never quite sure how well I believed. Given the way my mission turned out, I guess she was right.
I have always doubted, from the time I was a child. It’s difficult to describe how it feels to grow up in doubt. When other kids were playing in the mud or dressing up dolls, I spent hours asking God to assure me I was right in His eyes.
And then comes the inevitable extension: when doubt evolves into something more. When familiar words and rituals that once brought strength become a source of confusion, even anger. When peace gives way to pressure. When clarity becomes despair–
And you find yourself straddling two worlds that might look different but are really the same: those who know it’s true, and those who know it’s not.
Is there no fellowship for the uncertain?
I’m reading the Gospel of John right now, and I’m struck by the Master’s tenderness toward the outcasts, the unjust, and the downtrodden. And I’ve always loved the story when the man approaches the Savior with his sick daughter and cries out with tears, “Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief!”
Christ doesn’t hesitate; He heals the child.
Doubt is a lonely road. But there are moments, even when I’m languishing in utter confusion and near despair, that I feel His presence near me, urging me to look up, reach out, move beyond myself and lift another.
I think one of the most profound implications of grace is the realization that everyone–everyone–is in need of the Savior’s loving kindness. The sinners. The haters. The overconfident. And the doubters, too.