Spiritual Split Personality — It’s Still True
I read Mason Slater’s post this morning in which he explained that for the last 12 week days of 2011, he’s going to repost older posts from earlier in the year. I think it’s a wonderful idea as many of you are relatively new to my blog. It gives me a chance to step back and look over the past year with you, and provides me time to think about the next year without the pressure of trying to write new posts at the same time.
This post originally went up on January 4, and as I reread it, I am struck by how true it still is of me today. It’s a rather unsettling discovery. I have updated it slightly, but the content is essentially the same.
I have a split personality.
I know, I know. All the experts say that if you have a split personality, neither persona knows the other exists.
In my case, I can see it because I’m talking about my spiritual person. My faith. Or lack thereof.
Some days, God is near and I can easily turn to him in praise, in prayer, in the Bible, and in the challenges of that day. He is easy to trust, to believe, to hope in. I want to please him.
Other days, God feels far away. The stories of Jesus sound like exactly that — stories. I struggle to believe and trust. I cannot praise. I read the Bible with eyebrows raised and questions on my lips, if I read it at all. It’s like looking at my faith from across the room.
And on really bad days, usually triggered by hearing or reading manipulative and twisted interpretations or applications of Christian faith, panic crashed over me like surf. I fight the urge to escape, to run as far and fast as I can from this thing. I think of quitting the church, leaving the faith, separating myself as far as possible from the grotesque disfigurations of Christianity that alternately terrify and disgust me.
I often wonder if there’s something wrong with me.
But I’ve been reading different Psalms during the last month, and I’ve noticed something. They include both confident hopeful expectant faith and desperate pleas for God to come near.
Psalm 57 starts out “Have mercy on me, my God” and then at the end, it reads “I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”
Psalm 42 (one of my favorites right now) swings from “When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'” to “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
David and the other Psalmists don’t talk about leaving God or His people. But they do swing from faith that flows easy to faith they must eke out one word, one breath at a time.
Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought.
How about you? Do you experience spiritual split personality? How do you handle it?