Thursday, January 3, 2013
Dead Or Alive?
One of the hardest things I tend to deal with in my Christian walk is the highs and the lows. One day, I'm doing God-related stuff, hanging out with Christian friends, talking about what God is showing me and discussing the scriptures, and I'm on a high. This is who I am, this is what I'm supposed to be doing, and I have hope and joy and fun. I feel connected to God, feel like I'm hearing His voice, and am sure that this time, THIS TIME, I'm not going to lose it. I'm going to be able to hold on to it forever.
And a day passes, and I wake up and have a conversation with God that goes something like this: "Father, thank you for being with me, thank you that today I will stay in constant communication with You, and that I'll walk out the path You have set before me, in Jesus' name. Amen.". But, that day I have no classes planned, no Christian friends to hang out with, and by lunchtime I'm sitting at my computer, thinking that I've run out of things to do with God. Thinking that Jesus feels a little more distant, a little more quiet, a little, I don't know, LESS in my life than He did yesterday, or even earlier in the day. He doesn't seem to mesh with this life, the life of spending time on the computer by myself while my husband works upstairs. The life where there is no one else within earshot to talk to about Jesus, or at least no one who wants to hear it or would understand what I am saying. The life that is spent taking care of the house and the children virtually by myself. It's not that Jesus isn't still here with me - no, it's that somehow I often feel like two different people. There is the home-version of Mina, the one who spends most of her time alone, who doesn't really talk much about God because she doesn't want her husband to feel like she's trying to force Jesus down his throat; and then there is the Mina who shows up when she is safe and free to be everything she really is. Who speaks to her Christian friends without fear, even when what she is saying is challenging to their faith. Even when what she is saying isn't the popular way of looking at things. The Mina who is able to hear God's voice and able to walk in communion with Him, and through whom God speaks.
The hardest thing is that it's this Mina, the one who shows up when I'm with other Christians, that I really am. The one who is excited to talk about the things that God is showing her, the one who is willing to challenge the status quo in the Church, the one who loves to be around other people and talk about what God is doing. That's who I am, and yet I spend most of my time in my life being the other Mina - the one with the husband who doesn't really even understand relationships, let alone understand that who he is seeing isn't really who I am. Most of my time is spent waiting until that one or two days a week where I get a chance to get with other people who actually understand what is coming out of my mouth when I speak about relationship with God through Christ.
It's a crappy way to live, but it's not my husbands fault. It's partially my fault, and partially just the circumstances I find myself in. I've stopped myself from being who I really am because my husband doesn't understand it. I'm not sure if it's fear of rejection if he really knew who I was (no, that's not true - it totally started out because of fear of rejection), or if it's now just because I want him to feel comfortable talking to me about God and faith and so I don't want to make him feel like I'm trying to convert him, but it's really uncomfortable to live as two different people.
The most interesting thing to me is that I don't feel masked at all when I'm with my inner circle of friends who know Christ. I don't feel false at all. Everything I say, everything I do, everything I feel is genuinely me. It's who I am at this moment in Christ. What I say now, or my understanding of truth now may change 10 days from now, but I'm always honestly me.
At home, even when I speak to my Christian friends, I feel the need to tread lightly in what I say. Don't go too overboard in praying for someone who really needs prayer. Don't say too loudly that you know that God's will is always to heal, especially since your husband knows your two boys are not healed yet. Don't talk too much as if you actually think that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, or that Jesus actually was God in flesh. Read the Bible, that's fine. Pray and talk to God in your head, because then you can't be heard. Type in your journal. Don't be too fanatical. Stay the wife he thought he was getting when he married you, rather than the wife you truly are right now. Keep your mask in place - he won't know the difference. And quietly lose your connection to God over that time, not because God left, but because you did. By keeping this mask on my face for my husband, I raise the dead and walk her around, and then wonder why I feel dead inside. Wonder why I feel alive in fellowship and dead at home. When I'm in fellowship with other believers I'm the new creation - fully alive, fully free, fully connected with God. At home I'm trying to be that dead woman - the one who died with Christ. I was her, but I'm not any longer, so it's no wonder it's uncomfortable trying to be her.
See, I don't want to be her - I really don't. I want to be who God has created me to be. But I've seen what has happened in friends' marriages when one has caught onto God and run with Him, and the other hasn't, even if both spouses were born again. Even if both spouses were professing Christ as Savior and were attending church together. I've seen the strife it's caused, and wondered how much worse will it be in mine, seeing as my husband doesn't even believe at all? How much harder will it be to live my life as I want to with a spouse who hasn't even made it into spiritual Kindergarten?
And honestly, there is fear that he won't know how to handle me and he'll walk away if I'm not the woman he expects me to be. I know that the reality is that if he did leave, it would be hard, but I would survive. I would live through it, and come out stronger on the other side. But, I don't want him to leave. I don't want to try to single-parent my children. I don't want to be alone. And more than that, I do want him to come to Christ. I do love him, and I do see the treasures God created in him. I see the man he truly is, the man who will be expressed in Christ, and I desperately want to see that man, to know that man, to love that man. I want him to not only tolerate my faith - I want him to understand it. The passionate discussions I have with friends I want to have with my husband. I want to be able to start my conversations with "I feel like God's teaching me..." and have that completely understood. I want to pray with him instead of just for him. I want him to understand me and know me. I want him to be able to see me through God's eyes.
My faith says my husband will believe if I just hang in here. But I honestly don't know if I can continue to be two different people any longer - and I don't know if I should.