Going into Hiding

They say the the best way to witness is at home; living with a family that doesn’t share your faith. I know this, but it’s become an almost daily battle. Although my dad is a Christian, I don’t live with him, so the house I live in currently is not a ‘Christian’ one. Additionally, I have four brothers and sisters and a mother–none of them share my faith. It’s overwhelming a lot of the time and frustrating and annoying and all different things. For example, I don’t think any of them read this blog–maybe because of it’s religious focus, or maybe because they’re not interested. I’m not sure.

I’ve discovered a trait in myself that is beginning to scare me, but the more I age, the more it appears. I’ve begun to withdraw into myself: I’ve started retreating away from my family. I stay in my room all day or if not, I’m outside. Out with the boyfriend, out with friends, out at any church event I know of. I suppose I feel more ‘myself’ with people who understand me better and I know I won’t be the ‘odd one out’. Being an Adventist has caused problems between my family and I in the past: about two years ago I was called to choose between my sister and God: she was determined to have her wedding on the Sabbath and demanded that I make a decision. I chose God; I understand the importance of the Sabbath and the dangers of compromising my faith (it only takes the one time before everyone thinks they’re just as important for you to bend your faith like a straw). Since then, I never speak to her about church things. We still talk; the event is over, but the feelings were never resolved. She never trusted the Adventist church and she definitely doesn’t now, so I worry that most things I say to her will confirm some pre-conceived ideas. I don’t know.

That’s just one thing. There are others. I can’t really go to my family for advice, because the way how I would want to respond to it, as a Christian, might not concur with what they think I should do; I also feel strange telling most of them that I’ll pray for their problems, because I know only one of my siblings truly believes in it. When I went to Jamaica, I was the only Adventist there amongst my family. Not only was my vegetarian diet made into something dramatic, but my being a Sabbath keeper and not being able to join in certain activities on the Saturday left a taste of discomfort. I didn’t want to be a burden, I had to watch what I said in case I came across as ‘weird’.

I know that despite all this, I cannot allow myself to drift any further. It’s not Christ-like. As the Christian, I’m supposed to be there, to empathise and to help, not to separate myself as if I’m too holy for them or something. I suppose it’s more painful sometimes when I know there’s a barrier of confusion between us. I truly love my family, but for a long time I’ve felt low and heavy at home, like I’m surrounded by treacle. I don’t know what to do or how to pray about it.

And sometimes, parents don’t help. Since we were both very young, my closest sister and I have had a sibling rivalry: she feels as though I’ve been able to get things that she hasn’t. Sometimes I’ve seen it, other times I think her emotion has allowed her to see illusions rather than real favourtism. Either way, it’s been a point of contention that laid dormant for years. Now I’ve seen a resurfacing of it, and I believe some of that has come from comments one of my parents made: that the reason why I get things is because I’m on a ‘good path’. It surprised me to hear this and I’ve never wanted nor asked for special treatment just because I’m a Christian, but today this sister has bandied about the ‘you’re the golden child’ phrase and it’s left me sadder and lonelier. It’s hard to know what to do at times like these, it really is.

I’ve decided to begin studying the story of Joseph, in depth. The thought came into my mind this morning, following theĀ argument. It seems to contain a lot of the problems I’m currently facing and I’m sure I can learn something from it.

The next post will be happier, I’m sure…

xXx

Starting Again.

I’m so glad for another week.

Last week really was a nightmare. It started off by a wrong decision which meant I was in a situation that had me reprimanded by my friends. I ended up feeling really disappointed with myself and I couldn’t pray for a couple days because I had the burden of what I’d done just playing on my mind.

I also had university work that needed doing (which I still haven’t done) and the memory of my poor performance during my French Oral kept playing over in my head. Being Christmas Week meant a lot of rushing around and doing last-minute shopping and errands for people that had left it too late to get the presents themselves. It was a struggle from the start, but Wednesday was the worst. In fact, it was bloody awful.

I told a close friend that I had feelings for them. And even though I knew I was going to get turned down, it still hurt me more than I admitted—not just to him, but to myself. I moped around on Thursday like an idiot and I felt angry at him for not being clear enough about his own intentions. I wasn’t the only one who found his ignorance surrounding basic male-female interaction a little odd. Bottom line: he led me on. Overtly. And had no idea.

It wasn’t his fault, though. To be fair, I should have been thinking more clearly. I think we’ve all seen through my posts on this blog that I have very confusing and conflicting opinions about men and relationships and marriage and this is something that has caused me stress for a good three years. At 17-18 I actually had NO trust for the opposite sex; church was worse, because I saw a lot of old-fashioned gender stereotypes and borderline misogyny amongst the older men. These sentiments were passed down to their sons and it made me despair for young Christians. Because of these feelings, the few times I’ve had romantic feelings for a guy, it’s left me in a state of self-defeat. I felt this way VERY strongly with this friend of mine because I just couldn’t read him and I couldn’t really describe how I felt about him. I just knew that he was on my mind a lot. And it made me feel vulnerable.

So anyway, I got it out there. I was rejected in a round-a-bout way, but the message was clear anyway. It came with an apology as well. Ugh. We ended the phonecall like we always did, chatting nonsense and whatnot, and I thought I felt better once it was off my chest, but by the next morning I felt awful, as if I was nursing a hangover.

I’m really grateful for my sister, who gave me good advice about it. And two friends who are very dear to me. One of them knows how odd I feel about relaying my feelings to others so he waited patiently while I sat around his table and fiddled with my fingers. He gave me a big hug afterwards. My other friend made me feel a little better; opened my eyes a bit to the major differences between me and this guy—differences that would have caused problems. As in, my ‘radicalness’ šŸ˜€

So yeah, not a good week. I’m not going to give a Bible text here. I should, but it’s been a long day and I think it’s time for bed soon. I’ll just say this:

The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with God. Concentrate on that one before anything else, and He’ll provide you with everything else.

xXx

Dentata

I was hidden.
Under reams and realms of sand.
Hidden.
So that it took a voyage of frustration
to find and open me

They opened me.
Dug black nails into the wood.
Rowan. Sturdy and sure
but soon bewildered with
lines of hate and scratches
that defaced my grace.

Muscles contracted over the lock
that had been given to me by God
and set in wait until that same One
gave me the right key to open it.

Strength comes in desperation, so
anvils, snares; hooks and chains
fall like feathers of a dying bird
in the hands of a starving treasure thief.

Now I’m unbolted
spread wide. With my lock broken and bleeding.
And when I close myself a second time
I won’t open again.