Saturday, April 11, 2015

Reason For and Development of My Faith Part 1: Beginning the Journey

This was written as a response to a question as to why I believe in God and the bible. The answer for this is something for which there are many parts. Not knowing where to start I decided to go with a chronological account of the things that eventually led to my current faith as it is. The latter intellectual pursuits I entered and there results will be shared to the best of my abilities in future parts.

The earliest point I took a true interest in God came a month or so before my Dad independently decided he needed to do the same and started taking us to church. I started reading the childrens bible I had in my closet as well as a copy of the new-testament that had been given to me a year prior. I think I was about 13 at the time. Do to complex family issues and not fitting in at school I would often cry myself to sleep.

My teachers were always impressed with my intelligence often stating I was well above my grade level. Yet I was always frustrating my father that I wasn’t excelling in my grades. I was constantly losing my homework, forgetting assignments and spent most my time grounded to my room. Sometimes it was to force me to get my grades back up, which usually took about a week. In these cases I didn’t mind being grounded, as I was able to more easily focus on reading and work. They were quite peaceful and often the only times I felt I was managing to do things right. Most of my groundings were on a day-to-day basis for messing stuff up and making my step mom angry.

I did end up preferring this to living with my mom, even though I loved visiting her, largely because I struggled to understand my expectations and often felt I didn’t treat my mom the way I should. It was hard to show her that I loved her. At least at my dads, I knew what was expected and felt like the structure would help me to be a better person. Often when my dad got home he would give me life lessons and would try to explain what I needed to work on when I was grounded. I am to this day thankful for the time he invested. He would tell me they both loved me and wanted to make sure I did well so I could have a good future. I frequently felt bad that I seemed to cause arguments between my dad and my step mom at the time.

Later my dad started to feel at fault for my struggles and for not knowing what to do. That he just couldn’t be there enough and he couldn’t figure out what to do. To me my parents were not doing anything wrong and I was upset with myself because, for some reason, I couldn't get it together. I could tell it was stressful for him and he didn’t like always having to discipline me when he came home. It felt like my parents were suffering because I was not good enough, yet they didn’t want to give up or quite loving me, something I did not feel I deserved.

On the one hand I would tell myself I was a worthless failure and on the other hand I told myself I would figure it out, I would get it right. I had to get better somehow! In school I needed people to feel happy but struggled to keep friends. I tried to act like I didn’t care and often would become quite annoying, trying to overstress my humor which was the only good quality I felt I had. Additionally I was quite an ass to people and didn’t mind making jokes at others expense or flipping them off. One day I found myself wishing people could just know who I was, but was scared to show it.

Then a scary thought came to me. “What if the things I did was because of who I am!” But I hated them, “How can I be defined by things I hate when who I am is what defines my I likes and dislikes?” I began to remember how when I was three my grandma would always tell me that no matter what God loved everyone. That it hurt God to see us hurting. I began to consider that perhaps the way people acted and treated me was because they had there own pains and struggles as well. That I was just making it worse when I treated them the same way. I wanted to change but was too lost in my own pain to care about others.

I said to myself, “Perhaps I should kill myself, perhaps my parents would be happier without me constantly failing them.” However I knew they would only blame themselves and it would make it worse. All the while I couldn’t take it so I started to consider giving up. I considered letting myself go and just drinking in secret or doing whatever. I was going to give up and let my life fall apart. At that moment I felt as if I was above a bottomless dark void. I thought to God, “I have been holding onto the tiniest thread of hope and I don’t even know what it is. I give up, Lord if there is anyway you can use someone like me to make even one persons life just a little better do it. I don’t know if that is even possible.” at that moment I let go, ready to fall into the never ending pit I was visualizing in my mind, catch me I cried. As I felt my self let go to slip into the void thinking it impossible for my life to amount to anything, I felt a peace come over me and I was lifted up by the hand of God. I hadn't even fallen very far.

Somehow I knew it was going to be ok and it didn't even matter how. Suddenly what people thought of me didn't matter as much, I just wanted to be real and used by God. That very next day I was full of energy and God immediately began using me in peoples lives. They just came to me, I didn't even really have to do much. It was at that point, near the end of the sixth Grade, that I became free to seek a deeper understanding of the world, myself, and others. I did so with a new Joy and fervor. Through the bible I began to find and test theories about human nature applying them in manors to see if the provided the promised results.

This new found interest would later expanded itself more deeply into a wide variety of sciences as well an interest in history. As my desires to understand would grow, so did my questions. Ahead of me was many instances where I would question God and my beliefs, testing and researching them to find and confirm the truth at any cost. Prayers would be answered and I would develop methods and patterns to force consistency of logic. Even latter I would seek ways of confirming, to the best of my abilities, the actual events of history. Welcoming people to challenge my understanding, and desiring to make peoples lives even a little bit better in the process. In part 2 I will attempt to address these latter developments and findings in further detail, in hopes it might one day help encourage someone else to a faith with the same peace and confidence I now hold.

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