On walking away from the church

For the sake of transparency, let me say that I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this. And, I’m hoping that it turns into discussions with those of you who read my blog and ask me about these sorts of things (yeah, I know who you are, I see you), so I’ll just keep typing. So, here it goes!

Walking away from the church, for me, was a slow burn. I had, like many others, a handful of negative experiences with churches, pastors, and other Christians, all leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth for the entire institution. Despite that, I continued to play the part, always hiding behind the idea that I was just “church shopping,” until I found the right fit. It wasn’t entirely untrue, but it definitely allowed me an “out” with those concerned for my spiritual well-being (shout out to my mom).

Being a Christian woman can be exhausting and traumatizing. I have had men decide that they know better than I do about my own body, opinion, rights, and just about any other aspect of human autonomy that you can think of. I have a hard time believing Christian men (and, let’s be real, Christian women) who claim to be feminists. I have a soul-level issue with a man “leading” me in my home and in my life. I have a spiritual dissonance with most ideology that comes with “living biblically”.

I understand that much of walking away from the church is me walking away from certain churches and their brand of Christian ideology.  Maybe this is just me being tired of “cool churches” reminding me that being gay, cohabitating, and feminism are STILL not Biblical. I might just be looking in the wrong places. After all, I’ve had some alright experiences with some good people, and I miss the sense of community and friendship that organized religion can offer.

I have difficulty calling myself a Christian. I have difficulty not calling myself a Christian. I think Jesus would say that I’m doing OK, but I think a lot of people who believe in, and presume to speak for, Jesus would question my salvation. And I do believe that God is real, and I think I have a pretty good idea of what Jesus would want from me these days. I’m no closer to having any of the answers, but it’s nice to put some thoughts, jumbled as they may be, to electronic paper. Let’s talk about it!



A God whose hands are tied

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do children die, and genocides continue, and corrupt leaders remain in power? Why did any number of men walk out of my life and break my heart? Why do we have a president who doesn’t respect women (or science), and why am I so uncomfortable walking alone at night?

And louder than any other question that I’ve been asking has been why am I so goddamn lonely all the time?

I have spent the last couple years letting these questions occupy my mind with such ferocity that I forgot to listen for any semblance of an answer. My dialogue with God was mostly me shouting “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE” while I plugged my ears. I let the bad things that happened to me define what I believed about God. How could someone who loves me let such horrible things continue to punctuate my life? Worse, how could a God who loves me let such horrible things continue despite the attempts I was making to be closer to Him, to listen to Him, to gain His “favor”?

Eventually I gave up asking, and just started making decisions for myself. And…we all know how that usually goes am I right?. I threw myself aimlessly at anything that felt remotely like companionship, or belonging, or acceptance. I forgot my identity and started defining myself based on how others treated me. Everything was personal because I had no internal measurement of what was good about me. Whenever someone would let me down I would throw a temper tantrum and wonder why this KEEPS HAPPENING TO ME.

And then I got the flu.

The last couple days have been the loneliest that I have ever been…and I have been pretty lonely. Realizing that I had no one to turn to while I felt helpless was infuriating. I don’t typically like to feel helpless, and to know that I had to continue to rely on only myself became overwhelming very quickly. Then, being overwhelmed resulted in 1:00 AM emotional ramblings to anyone who would listen. But, out of those ramblings came some sort of wisdom that suggested I stop screaming and start listening. And, well, shit, what did I have to lose?

So I prayed.

Which was weird. And awkward. But I felt a little better. No answers, but I felt better.

Then, today, I was listening to worship music (because I was actually trying this whole God thing again…kind of), and a chorus echoed “You are good”. Initially I thought “yeah, good, good enough to let shitty things happen all the time”, but then I actually thought about it for a while. I started playing through what would happen if God didn’t let bad things happen. I started running through scenarios, open to the idea that He might be good and let bad things happen. Which brought me to the following:

What if God doesn’t actually want the bad things to happen? And, what if He is crying with us when they do? What if His hands are tied, just like our hands are tied to save the world, even though we can see the pain happening all around us?

The whole problem with expecting God to fix everything, is that He gave us this stupid awesome thing called free will. If He got rid of all the bad stuff and saved us from everything, then what’s the point in being human? God’s not forcing anyone to hurt me, He isn’t forcing me to feel lonely, and He isn’t punishing me for being mad at Him. More than anything, I’m starting to believe he is sad when I am sad, and doing His best to remind me that He’s there. I’ve never felt more alone and more incapable then when I stopped talking to God, and questioned whether or not He was even there. When I sit and think about the fact that someone loves me unconditionally, and that they are sad when I am sad, there is a comfort in that.

This works for me. Or, at least, it’s currently working for me. I’m not sure what your safe thing is, or the thing that you can count on to be there. It might be God, it might not be God. Whatever it is, don’t let go of it. If it feels wrong to walk away, it probably is. Just make sure you don’t take that last statement out of context.

So that was my weekend/start of the week.

Christmas Magic *barf*

Throwing out christmas tree

I ran across an article tonight called “how to be happy around the holidays”. It basically talks about how to safe-guard our mental health, even when we aren’t feeling it. A couple years ago, I even wrote a similar blog post suggesting that it’s ok to be sad during Christmas. Far too often, we are expected to put on a happy face just because of what day it is. But, why do we feel such shame for being human during the holidays? I would argue that it’s this stupid little thing called “Christmas Magic”.

Christmas Magic is supposed to be the sparkly powder that makes sure nothing goes wrong during Christmas. It is the long lost love who has his car break down across the street from his high school sweetheart, and their rekindled relationship next to a fireplace. Christmas Magic is EVERY. HALLMARK. MOVIE. EVER.

So, if there really is such thing as Christmas Magic, why does it seems like bad stuff usually happens around Christmas time, and none of the romanticized things from our imagination?

As you may be able to tell, I’ve had a pretty hard time getting into the spirit this season. For starters, my boyfriend decided to break up with me three days before Christmas, which put a damper on spending Christmas Eve with his family. So much for that Hallmark Christmas kiss, right? So, I write this now after baking my own gosh darn cookies, and eating half of a Hungry Howie’s pizza. I can also tell you most of the 72 most dangerous animals in Latin America based on my Netflix binge…

I’m starting to think that the reason bad things, like break ups, happen around the holidays, is because we’re so stressed out trying to make the perfect season. Road rage is at its peak with everyone who needs to be on time, malls are filled with violent parents looking for the perfect gift, and we are all stressed out of our minds trying to afford it all.

Just like Valentine’s Day is so capable of putting pressure on love, Christmas puts pressure on everything else.

So, what is the solution to the stressors that come with “tis the season?” Maybe it means dropping whatever pretenses we held regarding the time of year. Maybe we should ditch the idea of “Christmas Magic” and embrace the idea of “Magic”. Bad things are going to happen no matter what calendar day it is, so get the heck used to it. Those Hallmark movies are not real, and Christmas does not bring any sort of bad-repellant along with it.

What if we managed to capture “Christmas magic” but use it the rest of the year? What if we were in the “holiday spirit” all the time, and gave gifts whenever we felt like it. Maybe when I have an extra ten bucks I’ll pick up a cute coffee mug for my room mate. Maybe when I see a necklace I think my mom would like, I’ll just get it for her.

There is badness year-round, that’s for sure. But, maybe, we can bring a little magic year-round, too.

When your rope breaks.

Rope is the one thing in climbing that is not redundant. But, even the rope has a million tiny ropes and fibers inside of it that make up the larger, supposedly non-redundant rope. So I guess it really is redundant after all…but that’s not the point.

The point is that it is still possible for the rope to break, which is the unavoidable risk that any climber takes. This is why we spend hundreds of dollars on this most important piece of gear. This is why we will never buy used rope, old rope, or rope with a brand name that we don’t recognize. We replace our rope after a certain number of falls. We protect it in bags and with tarps, and we do our absolute freaking best to keep it out of harm’s way. But, no matter how well-maintained and often-replaced my rope is, it could still break.  It could catch the sharp edge of a rock. A micro-tear could go unnoticed before giving in. A tiny animal could slice it with it’s tiny knife…

Anything could happen.

So what happens when anything does happen? What happens when the unthinkable, worst-case-scenario actually comes to be? And, even harder, how do you move forward?

How do you start walking after falling a hundred feet? Do you still climb after you’ve experienced the one thing you never thought would actually happen? How do you know when to start? How do you know how to start? How do you navigate using rope again? Where do you shop? How do you choose?

I’ve thought about this metaphor a million times, because hopefully we can all see that this is not about rope.

This is about trust.

This is about what happens when everything is broken, and you’re still alive, and you have to figure out how to just do the goddam things.

From what i’ve learned, I can for sure tell you three ways NOT to use your new rope.

  1. Don’t assume the new rope is going to break, because you’ll ever climb anything with that mindest. And then, what’s the point?
  2. Don’t treat the rope like garbage because the first rope broke. This will inevitably cause the new rope to break.
  3. DO. NOT. STOP. CLIMBING. Enough said.

I’m still figuring out how to trust my rope, and I’ve gone through a lot of it in the process. I may not have it down to an exact science, but I’m definitely making some positive progress, and that’s got to count for something…right?


That time I was mean to a stranger


I was mean to the poor guy on the other end of the phone FOR NO REASON.

I’ve been working hard these last couple months to raise the money i’ll need in order to travel to Nepal and (theoretically) save lives. While I’m working hard to try to make the world a better place, I managed to also make it a little bit worse.

As it turns out, getting a passport is a huge pain. Just ask ANYONE who has helped me through the process.

Today, I received a letter in the mail asking for a form to be completed and returned before my passport can be approved. Let it be known that it was the EXACT form that the nice woman at my local passport office advised me I would not need, and actually tore up in front of me while completing my application.

But don’t you worry, I definitely informed the nice man on the other end of the form of that exact happening, as well as being incredibly rude while he tried to do his job. I then proceeded to ask him exactly how much this mishap would delay my passport, as it is VERY important that I have it in time. All the while he was patient and kind with my frustrations.

So, why do I bring my embarrassing actions to your attention?

Because I think it is incredibly counterintuitive that I try to do good while doing bad. Actually, I’m pretty sure the Bible mentions something about this…

“A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” James 1: 8

I don’t want to be the person who is flying across the world for “good deeds”, but can’t be nice to the people I encounter on a daily basis. I’ve written before about feeling as though I’ve become hard-hearted, and I find myself reminded today that I’m working towards softening.

I’m definitely not perfect, and I’m definitely not who I would like to become. But, it’s important that I give myself the opportunity to learn from my mistakes. I was mean today, which hopefully means that I will be nice tomorrow.

Or, at least, nicer.



Are we ok?

I read a blog post today that seemed sweet at first, but upon second thought was actually kind of disturbing. The article highlighted the sweetness of a boyfriend who was able to ease the anxiety of his significant other. It was a simple text exchange that boiled down to “are we ok?” and “yes, of course we are”.

The point of the article was to explain the difficulty that sometimes accompanies dating someone with anxiety. Anxiety is known to cause insecurity within relationships, causing one party to either over-express their need to affection and approval, or to push their partner away as to not seem too needy or clingy. The beauty of the aforementioned relationship was that the anxious female was able to turn to her loving and supportive male, at which time he responded with just that: love and support.

Here’s my problem with all of this.

Yes, anxiety adds a dimension to relationships that can sometimes be difficult to navigate. It can cause tension and confusion for both involved parties, often resulting in conflict and misunderstanding. I get it, trust. I have been the one calling my boyfriend at three in the morning because I had a nightmare that he left me. I have been the one sending waaaaaaaaaaaay (like….WAY) too many text messages because I felt ignored and unloved. These were not my better moments, but not in any of them did I become unworthy of support from my partner. Whether I am anxious from a medical and clinical standpoint, or I am having a string of bad days, the support from my partner should be a given.


It should not be a wild notion to be able to turn to our partners in moments of anxiety and worry, only to be met with love and support.

Something important to note about the article I mentioned earlier is that the woman who felt uneasy did not do anything wrong. She did not do anything that would warrant anything other than support from her boyfriend (I could go on about unconditional love, and support even when we don’t deserve it, but that will require a post of it’s own). The fact that her boyfriend responded sweetly is great, and it is worthy of noting, but it is allowed to be EXPECTED. It seems like it’s become so taboo too expect support and love from our partners, like we are supposed to be so fiercely independent that we don’t require love and affirmation in our moments of insecurity.

Newsflash: I can be a strong, independent, feminist and still require affirmation from my significant other.


It is ok to be upset, disappointed, and even ANGRY, when love, support, and affirmation is not what is given.

Don’t get me wrong, no relationship is perfect, and no one gets it right every time. There are great mechanisms for resolving insecurity in relationships. There are great strategies for conflict and learning to communicate in a way that makes both parties feel safe. And, it is important that both individuals work at meeting the needs of the one they are in a relationship with. But, we go to doctors when we expect treatment. We go to our teachers when we expect to learn. While we may be disappointed from time to time, that is the role they have chosen, and that is what is expected of them.

So here’s where I’ll leave you:

You DESERVE support from your partner. You DESERVE to have your fears squashed by the one who loves you. Do not settle for less, and do not make it out to be a great and noble act to give affirmation where affirmation is due.


A Frog in Boiling Water

There is this theory on why it was possible for Hitler to convince an entire country to commit horrible acts against their own people. It’s the idea that a frog placed into already boiling water will jump out, but a frog placed in water that is slowly being heated will eventually burn to death.

Hitler didn’t jump into office and scream “Kill all the homosexuals and the jews!”. He got into office, created a common enemy, and slowly encouraged hatred against that enemy would ultimately lead of accepted genocide.

But why am I talking about frogs and Hitler? I’m getting there.

I was walking through campus today and realized that I’ve become sometimes so vastly different from who I used to be, that the thought sent me into a head-spin. I’m not sure when I became this cynical, judgmental, hateful, bitter version of myself, but it definitely happened, and I’m definitely sitting right in the middle of that ish.

I used to walk past people and think about everything positive they have to offer the world. I used to jump at opportunities to serve others and help out wherever it might be needed. I used to be full of joy and excitement and looking forward to the next thing. I used to (wait for it) WANT TO BE LIKE JESUS.

I have spent the last year of my life recovering from some pretty awful life-stuff, and somewhere in that process I lost sight of who I am. I’m not sure if that means I didn’t heal right, or maybe I just still have some junk to work through. I have been SO MAD at God that I stopped trying to be like Him. I stopped listening to Him. I take a moment every once-in-a-while to call Him a jerk, and then I go on with my day. The weird thing is that I figured it would come back around on it’s own. I’m mad at God, but I still expect him to do something to turn it around. I have been waiting for “the thing” that will make everything worth it. The problem with that mindset is that nothing happens except a growing bitterness in myself.

The worst part is that I thought I was doing ok. I thought that going to church again would fix my mindset. I thought just BEING in the building would change my heart. I hang out with middle schoolers and teach them about Jesus, which FOR SURE means that Jesus will show back up in my life…right? A lot of people, myself included, seem to think that doing the things will lead to a change of heart. And honestly, there are moments that it does. I have seconds of “enlightenment” where I feel like I’m back in the swing of things. I get this “spark”, and then it’s gone. This might work for some people, but it just proves to me how good I am at faking it.

As I’m typing this, I am SO ANNOYED that two FRIENDS are sitting next to me…talking. They’re TALKING about their lives and neither of them sound miserable. The nerve, right?

When did my heart get like this? How do I get my heart UN-like this? I’ve spent so much time ruining relationships, friendship and otherwise, and I’m really ready to not be like this anymore.

I miss when I got excited about things. I miss when I talked to my friends about the NOT bad things. I miss talking to Jesus without expecting anything from Him. I miss being thankful for the things happening, and not waiting for everything to be “fixed”. I’m still in pieces, and I’ve had a lot of people tell me that it’s time to be put back together. As much as that might be meant well, it doesn’t provide any of the glue I need, or even point me in the right direction.

There isn’t really a proper way to conclude this post, because the process hasn’t been finished. It was more of an attempt at being honest and reminding people that I exist even though I’m in the middle of a valley at the moment. If you’ve read this all the way through, I could probably use you in my life. ❤