Spiritually Torn

I’m in a very strange state of flux, which makes it very difficult for me to think of things to write about. I’m feeling torn in many spiritual directions.

I’ve recently been taking a condensed version of the Alpha Course (like an intro to Christianity situation) offered through the church I go to. It’s a free summer school class that has met in a loft space once a week for the past six weeks. This past Monday was the last class. This post isn’t to talk about what it was like, but I will throw out that it was interesting and it did make me think a lot.

One of the recent classesnot this past class, but the one before itwas on prayer. I’ve never been the praying type. I’ve always been the “sit quietly and let Providence tell me what I need to know when I need to know it” type. I’m also the “I feel silly talking out loud to the Universe” type and the “talking in my head leads to getting distract—SQUIRREL!!!” type. The young man giving the night’s talk mentioned having a prayer journal where he wrote down his prayers.

Now, that seemed right up my alley. I’m a big fan of journaling and journal everything; I have a health journal, a spiritual journal, a regular journal, a planner, and all manner of scrapbooks. And a blog, obviously. I like documenting things, putting them down in a tangible form I can look over later. Adding prayers seemed like a great way to beef up my spiritual journal (which has been pretty sparse, lately). Besides, being proactive about talking to the Universe couldn’t hurt, right?

prayer

Well…

Okay, let me break this down for you. I started my prayer off like a letter, “Dear Lord…” I expressed my thanks for what I have, my health, my safety, the incredible friends I’ve been making. Then I made my request. The request I made was for clarity. “I feel lost and confused in my life with so many things. … [I’m not sure] if the path I’m on is correct for me.” I asked that I be shown the difference between what I want and what I need (since I tend to fail at distinguishing the two), so I can continue down the correct path.

That was on Friday.

On Saturday, a friend offered to give me a ride to the second half of a special Saturday “Alpha Retreat Day” the leaders of this class put on to supplement some of the Alpha Course topics we won’t get to in the normal sessions (the actual Alpha Course is twelve weeks; we’re doing six). This seemed like a good sign; suddenly having a means to attend a church thing when I’d expressed wanting guidance in what to do about my path seemed like a sign that I was going in the right direction.

I spent the entire day in emotional agony. For the first time since I’ve started going to church, I felt misplaced, awkward, and uncomfortable. I was surrounded by friends, all rejoicing in God’s love, but I felt so alone.

That’s not to say that I didn’t get any positive results from the day—during a time of private, quiet reflection, I found a verse in the Bible (yes, I’m reading the Bible; yes, as a witch, it does feel very strange to do so) which resonated very well with something I’d been feeling. When the group went to dinner, I felt great! I felt at ease and comfortable to be sitting around a table, talking with friends.

So, I know that it wasn’t social anxiety which had me feeling so ripped up inside.

Once I returned home, that feeling of discomfort lingered for days, so I don’t think it was an effect of residual energy from the house the retreat was held in (they rented an AirBNB to accommodate everyone—who knows what energy has seeped into the walls).

When I woke up the next day, the thought of going to church actually felt like a weight. I was supposed to go to lunch with another friend after, but I texted her to ask if we could reschedule. I just couldn’t bring myself to go.

It’s possible it’s just general anxiety made worse by hormone fluctuations due to my menstrual cycle. This feeling kicked in right before my period, and it’s gone back and forth throughout the duration. So, it’s plausible my hormones are just messing with my mental illness and making me feel uncomfortable with my life choices.

But, I don’t know that for sure and the fact that this feeling came on immediately after asking for guidance really gives me pause.

Admittedly, I’m frustrated. I felt mostly fine before praying. I just wanted a little nudge, a little bit of a sign that told me, “Hey, keep going.” Then, when I prayed to ask for clarity, I ended up feeling even more confused and torn than I did when I asked for help. I can’t help but wonder if this sudden unease over church activities is a sign that this isn’t the right path for me.

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With school starting this past Tuesday, I wish I had some more time to ponder it, but right now getting back into the swing of higher education is taking up all my processing power.

I’m sure I’ll get back on track, soon. One way or another, Providence leads the way.

I love you all.


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17 Comments on “Spiritually Torn

  1. Hi Adie. I’m a bit cautious about commenting on people’s ‘religious matters’ but we do know each other a bit and I don’t want to not respond to a big issue post of yours. Please disregard this if it doesn’t chime with you. Here goes: The impression I have is that you already know everything, you know what to do, what works for you, what you like doing. You have already identified and express many talents. What can anyone else give you that you haven’t already got/don’t already know? Sometimes the ‘spiritual journey/seeking’ thing can become a trap or a red herring- a trap filled with herrings- that is weird, and distracts us from REALISING WE ARE ALREADY THERE… and had been all along…
    (This is something I will be writing about over the next few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the search/realisation a lot, as well as re reading my old posts from when I was a full on seeker)
    Please let me off if any of this offends you, it was meant with best wishes. If all else fails, eat potatoes and other root vegetables, they are very grounding if the spiritual thing is going a bit fast or weird xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your sweet and thoughtful comment, Rachel. ❤ I really appreciate your insight.

      I think the thing with me is that I miss the worship aspect of spirituality. There are a lot of things I do and which keep me busy, and I've tried being content with that, but something always feels "missing," I guess? It's difficult to explain. Dealing with mental illness also complicates things, because it could be that missing feeling has nothing at all to do with my spirituality and is just all the chemicals in my brain going haywire again.

      I really look forward to reading your what you have to say over the next few weeks. Hopefully it can give me some clarity.

      Also, thank you for that tip about root veggies! I am a big fan of baked potatoes and now I can say that eating them is a spiritual experience! Haha! (Probably not your intention, but I will take any excuse to have baked potatoes.)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. We’re fairly new friends, Adie. So like Sadiewolf, I hope you’ll forgive me if I say anything that offends you.

    One of the many things that my anxiety does is it is always in my head saying “What does this mean?” “We have to define this!” When I try something or do something that could give me a new perspective, a fresh outlook, or just a new, interesting experience, my anxiety rears its ugly head. It doesn’t let things just be what they are. Some things are just a new experience or just simply an event in the History of Allen. They can inform, educate, help us to socialize, recharge us, or just help us deal with boredom. Experiences don’t have to be defined as long as we are willing to participate in them. My anxiety tries to make me feel conflicted about that. So, that bitch and I are always in one battle or another. Usually, I win.

    Maybe you feel conflicted because you feel that the Alpha Course doesn’t exactly align with other spiritual paths you follow. Maybe just remind yourself (as often as needed) that that’s okay. Maybe it will do nothing for you besides give you an experience and help you socialize.

    Even if that’s all it does, it was worth your time and energy. And, I have to remind myself (A LOT) that my anxiety doesn’t tell me who I am or what something means to my human experience–only I do that. And I’m still figuring all that out, so there’s no way my anxiety could know the answers. You go to those courses, you do what you set out to do–and at the end, if it wasn’t for you, it wasn’t for you. Maybe you’ll just get a new friend or two out of it. But you did what you set out to do and your anxiety didn’t stop you. That is a win in any book.

    And I’m always here if you need an “ear”, blog buddy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Allen.

      I think you’re onto something in that going to church, while enjoyable, doesn’t exactly mesh well with my other established spiritual beliefs. I think it also stresses me out that so many of these new friends I’m making think I’m “one of them,” when I’m still just testing the waters to see what works for me. I’ve tried to be open about being “unsure” in my beliefs, without giving too much away about being a witch (because everyone seems tolerant until they’re not and I really don’t need anyone taking swings at me), but everyone still operates like it’s just a matter of time, or whatever. I guess there’s just this part of me that feels like a fraud, you know?

      But that’s probably another blog post entirely.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That’d be a great blog post. I think A LOT of people feel that way pretty often. We forget sometimes that people may surprise us and not treat us poorly if we’re honest. Of course, it’s those jerkwads that don’t surprise us that make us so paranoid all the time. I remember being at a craft fair at a Baptist church once, working a booth for a very good friend (and a truly “good Christian”) and being asked if I went to a church or if I’d like to go to that one by someone that stopped by the booth. I said I was a big fan of God, but didn’t have a church or plans to attend one. A line practically formed around the block, full of people wanting to talk to me about Jesus. They were kind–but my anxiety and I had a huge fight that day. It was really hard on me mentally and emotionally, but man did it inform me about how I wanted to treat others that are different than myself. A simple “Well, if you ever decide you want to attend, we’d love to have you” from the woman that asked would have sufficed. Ultimately, the joke was on them. I sold at least one thing for my friend to each person that made me listen to them tell me about Jesus. AND, my friend apologized to me on their behalf. LOL

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yea, that’s the thing with church-going Christians–they’re all about multiplying the flock. I like Jesus. I think Jesus is great. I’m into what he taught. But, “Christian” is such a loaded word. People can say there’s a difference between the believers and The Church(tm), but ultimately, the word “Christian” comes with a set of political assumptions that I’m not comfortable with.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. That’s why when people ask “What’s your religion?” I say “Kindness. With a touch of dumbassery.” Usually, that leaves them confused enough that I can make a break for it. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • I tend to go with the long winded explanation that organized religion is the cause of most war and violence in the world. If someone I don’t know is going to get up in my business, I will make them regret it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Adie, a wise man once told me that I don’t have to have the answers and that it was enough to just pick a direction (didn’t matter which) and start going that way. If as I was traveling I found that I didn’t like where I was going, then I could change my mind and go in a different direction whenever I so decided. So if you’re interested or curious or feel the need or desire to go in any particular direction, what’s the harm of going that way until a more interesting one calls you onto a different path? It’s all about the journey. One’s destination is just another stop before you are called to journey in a new direction. This isn’t always easy to do in life, but the more you embrace that notion, the less anxiety-filled your journey is and the easier it is to actually feel comfortable about wherever it is you’re going. Also, I thought that Kat’s Friday post “Take This Job and Shove It” (Angel Who Swears) kind of speaks to what you are writing about. It’s as though the two of you coordinated. Hmmm…. So, coincidence or coordination?

    Mona

    Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly, Adie. That came from my therapist (wise man) talking to me when I was in the midst of anxiety-filled panic — more than once. I had to get used to the idea and then I had to put it into practice. Not easy. But then it became easier once I started getting the hang of it. I still have to remind myself of this at times, especially when I wake up with those familiar feelings of dread. I can’t handle meds for either anxiety or depression, so I’ve had to find a lot of other ways to cope and deal. There’s a lot of work that goes into keeping one’s shit together — just enough.

        I know you’re going through a tough time right now and I know everyone works through anxiety in their own way. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise and I apologize if I overstepped. Just want you to know that I’m sending you a hug and virtual milk and cookies!
        Mona

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Having a community to go to like church has always appealed to me so so much, but like you said Christianity is loaded with so much other – rejection of certain people, sexualities, ways of life etc – that I can’t bring myself to attend a church. Perhaps what you seek is like I did, church without the religious aspect? You once told me of a church where everyone believes different things and that sounded amazing. Prayer can be praying to Jesus, to the Goddess, or even just to yourself and reflecting on your subconscious to help you with what you desire. Fitting into Christian life would terrify and make me so anxious too, I’m not that, I feel like a fraud as my beliefs vary so much, so maybe that’s the same for you? I hope you feel better soon xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I like about this church I’ve been going to–it doesn’t deal with the politics of Christianity. It really is just centered on the teachings of Jesus, which I think are great. That’s why I felt like I was really heading in a solid direction, until recently. And the people I’ve met have all been lovely, as well.

      That’s why this sudden apprehension has caught me so off-guard. Everything seemed really great for me. But, maybe it’s like you say–fitting into a Christian life when you’re not a Christian is rough. Perhaps I was just trying to fit myself into that space for convenience’s sake and Providence is trying to point that out to me with this feeling.

      Yes, the secular church! Sunday Assembly! I’d really like to check it out, one of these days. I just get nervous going places on my own.

      Thank you for your comment, Sharnie!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to agree with Mona in what she said about the journey and the destination. I don’t think there are ever really “wrong” paths. Just detours. I can look back now and see all the detours and I no longer think, like I used to, “Man, I wish I hadn’t done that, or gone there or tried that. It distracted me from where I SHOULD’VE been going.” Now, I can look back and see how all those experiences and people and tragedies and drama and good times and laughter and everything else shaped me. I guess what I’m saying is, we can learn and grow from everything that we do and everything that happens to us. We just have to be open to the growth. Sometimes the growth is really painful. Excruciating, even. And sometimes the growth doesn’t make up for the tragedy (as in the case of a parent losing a child, for example). But all of it, the good and the bad, will make you into the person you were meant to be if you are open to it. All of this is just a long-winded way of saying, don’t worry about being on the “right” path. Just be open to learning and growing and enjoying the moment. The “path” will work itself out. 🙂 I hope this makes sense. I have a tendency to ramble. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Adie, I will refrain from commenting about the religious aspect of your post because truthfully, I don’t know anything and just believe that each of us has to do what is right for us. But I will say this, I love so much how you continually seek to understand life and the world around you. You are enlightened and seem to have a wise old soul, and I very much admire that about you. Follow your heart, your gut and when you find that thing that makes you happy, grab hold and don’t let go. Big hug, girl!! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for this comment!💜 I’ve always been a seeker by nature and I don’t think I will ever stop trying to understand. Even when I hit dead ends or get frustrated. Big hugs back!😊

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