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That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough
-R.E.M.

That hit song came out when I was 5 years old but was such a huge hit that I heard it my entire childhood, and still often today as an adult. The song isn’t even about religion – ‘losing my religion’ is an expression about coming to your wits’ end. But even that works in this situation.

I have tried my entire life to “keep up” with everyone else spiritually. I’ve attended revivals, I’ve been saved & baptized (twice), I’ve done the devotions. I’ve been in the group of teenagers with our Bibles spread across the floor, sitting in a circle, and someone is bound to play acoustic worship songs in the next 20 minutes. I’ve belonged to several churches, always hoping the next one will change something for me. It doesn’t. I’ve also been surrounded by Tarot cards on the floor, looking for answers. I’ve used wood stain on handmade wooden Runes cut out and carved by my husband and mom. I’ve read the Tanakh. I’ve humored solo Christus (only the words of Christ are true Christianity). But nothing finds me any closer.

Atheism is the most depressing state in my view. To think that humanity is the most intelligent, most organized, most benevolent that it gets…That we are alone. That no one is looking down at us in love….those are dark thoughts to me. I could never subscribe to such beliefs. I could never turn away from God.

But turn away from all the systems that supposedly point to Him? You bet. I don’t want to. It is a sad time for me spiritually. I sincerely hope I find my way through it and come to a peaceful resolution sooner rather than later.

I know there is absolute truth. Surely, you can see that around you. Do I absolutely have brown hair? Of course. Is the world absolutely round? You betcha. So there will absolutely be one truth that occurs when we die. We will all experience whatever it is. But how can I accept a belief system that mandates loving God or else burn for eternity? How is that free will? How does a just God punish anyone for all eternity?

And even more important for me, where is this elusive “personal relationship with Jesus”? I hear phrases get tossed around in church all the time – lover of my soul, my best friend, the bridegroom. There is only one lover of my soul, best friend, and bridegroom for me and he is flesh and blood and emits massive amounts of body heat. I wanted these feelings. I wanted them so badly. You could frequently find me singing worship songs with tears rolling down my face – not because I was passionately singing to my Savior – because I was desperately wanting to experience a love for Jesus that I was supposed to feel. I wanted a belief so strong that I would die for it. But that never came. Christianity promises God will create in us a new person, He will transform us. If we try to transform ourselves, that is Legalism. I’ve tried it both ways – prayerfully waiting for transformation as well as trying by my own strength – and both have failed.

I want to believe in something. I want to clutch words and know they are true and they are life. I’ve prayed “God, change me. Take this heart and make it one you would bless.”

But I’m done trying and stretching and hurting and failing. Oh no, I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough.

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