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 classes—not this past class, but the one before it—was 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?
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.
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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