Hi my name is Katie and I am a recovering Evangelical Christian who is working out her third step. I have come to a place where I submit my will and life to God as we understand him to be.
It is so nice to know you are here. For the record, I write this and, before posting it, I read it out loud to you. As though you could actually hear me. If that worries you, please refer back to Step 2 where I have already confessed a bit of insanity. This is my meeting, you are a part of it no matter what you are recovering from. This is also your meeting, I … we are here for you.
This month has been a rough step and I am certain that it is a step I shall repeat over and over again. Handing my will and life over to God as we understand him, not easy and for several reasons.
Reason1: I am angry with God. As in “stand up and need space” kind of angry. As in coming back to the table with: “God! What the ducking hell were you thinking….” As in “God!!! Why won’t you do something??? Anything?? Your inaction is destroying me!” That kind of anger. That kind of hurt. It is hard to figure out who God is when my emotions are screaming about who I am. I am feeling scared, I am hurting… disappointed… frustrated… powerless. And the one who could change it all in a moment, has not. Why? What does that tell me about God? What does that tell me about me?
But it has also been difficult because when we operate on the idea that the Bible is the only standard of truth, or as it is commonly known as sole scriptura, we confine ourselves to the personal interpretations of each. And who is to say who is right? Who is wrong? When a person tells us, “God told me…” there is no accountability to the accuracy of it. If I have found one thing to be true in the Bible, it is that no matter how crazy the claim, there has got to be a 85% chance of finding a sentence that can back it up.
Much of the struggle is this idea of basing my identity on what the Bible says and what that, in turn, says about the God who inspired it. It would be different, easier if the Bible spoke in generalities, but it doesn’t. It is in fact very clear and extremely vocal on how a woman is to be if you take it at face value. For example:
- Titus 2:3-5. (Really the whole chapter)
- 1 Timothy 2:8-15.
- 1 Peter 3:1-7.
Those verses listed above, if taken as they are, will paint a picture of a mysogenistic, patriarchal God every single time. And my experiences with many men have reinforced those beliefs, not because they were accurate… but because I accepted them without true examination.
In my memory, men and women both have accepted it or maybe just didn’t think to question it. The box started big enough when I was little, left me room to grow; but then it started to feel snug. And by the time I was 16, I began to realize that the mold was too small. I was too much and, many times the reverse, I was not enough. But what I am coming to understand is that when the Christian box is constructed plank by plank with sentences out of context of history, understanding of intention, and the nature of God… the box will lie about who God actually is. Which is why it is extremely difficult to build an accurate understanding of who God is based solely off of Scripture.
And yet, for everyone of those verses and personal life experiences, there is another set of verses that paints a very different picture with context to back it up. Esther spoke her mind. Ruth pursued a man to his bed. Sarah laughed at God. Debrah had a profession outside of the home as a judge. Martha was a stressed out house wife. Mary couldn’t be bothered by housework. Eve was made in the image of God. The woman at the well. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. So my experiences with men have shown me one way of looking at God, but the Gospels portrait of Jesus and so many of the women actuated named in the Bible provide a radically different picture.
So, who is God? Pssshh. Ask me in fifty years, maybe I will have a better understanding. But there are a couple things that I have found to be consistently true in my life thus far:
- “God is near to the broken hearted.” Psalm 34:18 When I was yelled at when I asked what it meant to love or during each of the diabetic seizures I witnessed and provided first support for or when I miscarried… God was near.
- “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.” “Where there is charity and love, God is also.” It is both a Gregorian chant and a book by Leo Tolstoy (“Where Love Is, God Is”). When I think back to moments where I have been my most honestly loving, giving, and free of judgement, God was evidently there. But I have also seen the reverse of that, when love and true charity have been given to me… I have witnessed God.
- God is crazy creative. Look at the human body, the range of emotions we experience, the beauty and function of a tree… it is everywhere.
- And finally, in my life, God has been untamed safety. God has been many things, but the prevalent sense is that God is safe in that he is love, extends grace, always listening, and breaks with the broken. But God is also untamed. I have half a grain of sands worth of understanding of the Lord, the rest is unknown. The mystery is like a fire. I step close to understand it and receive its heat, but it also consumes.
So this is who I submit my life and will to. This God that is so full of love compassion that it overflows into creativity, this God that makes himself known in the love and charity we give to others, this God that is security and mystery all in one.
My song list that helped me with my contemplations and meditations. Don’t judge.
- Show Yourself — Frozen 2 cover by Angelica Hale —-https://youtu.be/2PtUpULduY0
- Come On Up to the House by Tom Waits— https://youtu.be/-GugzLSbOQE
- Falling Slowly by Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova— https://youtu.be/koPjCqb3igw
- Ubi Caritas by Audrey Assad— https://youtu.be/Z_Pp0jKn1zQ
- Georgia Lee by Tom Waits cover Joshua Herbert— https://youtu.be/VDHEXrhNrSQ