This Just In: Christian Woman Is Literally the Worst

Why do some Christians think it’s their moral duty to make everyone around them miserable?  I’m not trying to be one of those edgy Christian bloggers who are constantly calling out Christians for being bigoted, but I do want to humbly ask, what in the hell is wrong with us?

Or, as my grandmother would say, “What crawled up your butts and died?”

A few years ago I lived on my own in a tiny town outside of Fort Worth, Texas. This town was old—old—and filled with close-knit people whose families had been intertwined for so long that their great-grandparents had gone to school together. How I wound up there is a long story, but once I got there I was too broke to leave. I figured I would make the best of it and make some friends. This plan went horrifically wrong.

Fast forward to a year later and I’m an outcast, have developed severe depression, and am the oblivious object of malicious rumors that have forever ruined me in the eyes of people who had previously been my friends.

Why does no one want to be near me? What did I do? Am I a terrible person?

Without friends or family to tell me otherwise, I began to believe that I was unloved. Then–because subtlety just isn’t my lot in life–near the end of my time there I was in a car accident that took my job, my car, and my health. I was on crutches for three months, and in a walking cast for six more. I actually became as alone as I had felt all that time.

The worst part: I was a self-pitying bitch.

When I finally got the funds to leave Texas I spent the next year nurturing intense hatred and bitterness for everyone in that town, even though I had physically left them behind.

I still struggle. Every damn day.

The church I’d been a member of turned their backs on me at a time in my life when I was too broken and vulnerable to handle it. My relationship with God was that of a rebellious teenager and her long-suffering father, so I wasn’t strong enough to realize that I needed to forgive them and move on. I kept trying to please them, to be one of them. I was desperate to earn their love and friendship, but they saw through me and not only rejected me, but went out of their way to be cruel and hateful.

I’m not writing that to make you feel sorry for me. I was a mess. While that doesn’t excuse their behavior, their sins sure as hell don’t excuse mine.

Over time I changed. God graciously forgave me and came after me. He dragged me, kicking and screaming, back into the light. Yet in order to be forgiven, I knew that I needed to let go of my hatred for that town, and the sense of entitlement that made me believe they should have done more.

It’s a lesson I have to remind myself constantly. Forgiveness is not a once-given, forever-done kind of thing with me. With God, yes. I am by nature a bitter gnome though, and once I decide I hate you that’s pretty much never going to change.

Overcoming my nature is one of the hardest things about being a Christian–but it’s also kind of the entire point. Every day I have to bring my bitterness and spite to God and ask Him to help me move forward or I inevitably slide backwards.

So today, realizing that I am truly the worst Christian imaginable, I ask forgiveness from those people in that tiny Texas town. I had no right to judge you, to hate you, and to harbor those feelings long after you all forgot my name.

I don’t know you. I don’t know what knowing me felt like to you. I’m so sorry I wasn’t more loving, because I don’t know if you needed it as much as I did then. My pain could have brought hope or healing to you, had I trusted God enough to use my hurt as a learning opportunity.

My point is that I have been on both sides of “Christian-on-Christian violence” and it sucks. Both sides are destructive to the soul and erect a barrier between you and God, the only being whose love and approval matters.

Don’t be like me. Don’t be the worst version of Christ that you can be to the world. Swear, get mad, kick ass if you have to, but don’t hold onto anger once the time for it has passed. Everything has a time and place. Feel everything there is to feel in that moment, and then give it to God when it wells up in you again, having faith that God’s grace is enough to keep you moving forward.

Single Woman Desperately Seeking Motivation

This Saturday I’m going to commencement and getting my diploma. It doesn’t feel real yet.

Over past five years I’ve lived on my own, or with my family, taking care of my six younger siblings and bed-ridden mother while going to school full time. Even after she got better I worked—sometimes 60 hours a week—and helped in the children’s ministry at my dad’s church.

I’m so tired.

A part of me is angry that after countless sleepless nights, beautiful weekends spent indoors, and sacrificed relationships all I’m getting is a mound of debt and an embossed sheet of paper. I tell myself it’s just another stepping stone to law school, but what I hear myself saying is, “Great. Yet another obstacle in my way.”

I should get used to it.

At the risk of sounding clichéd and insincere, I’m going to remind myself once again that no one—especially me—deserves a problem-free life. I need to realize that the person who goes untested is a worthless person incapable of helping themselves or those around them in times of need. I’m blessed to have gone through so much in college. Loss, tragedy, unending loneliness and sacrifice—worth it if it helps just one person going through something worse to know there is a life after you’ve hit rock bottom. There is hope to go on when everything—everything—in your life is pushing against you, holding you down.

There are butterflies in my gut, rising and falling every time I think about walking into that stadium and standing side-by-side with my peers. I never thought I was going to get to that point. This seemingly unimportant milestone feels huge to me. I paid for my school, I took out debts in my name, and I did all my own work— made the honor roll for most of it, too. But that’s not why I finally feel like I’ve earned a place in the commencement ceremony.

Though unspeakable pain I’ve learned that I’m strong, that I can bear the weight of anything as long as I stay close to God. Without Him, I really would be dead. I know that, somewhere deep inside me it rings truer than anything I’ve ever written.

So I’m pushing away my cynicism and anger and I’m going to skip onto that football field Saturday with my head held high. Despite my best efforts, I am alive, I am healthy, and I am heading for brighter, better days. Not days free from worry or tragedy, but days I know I can face head-on because God gives me peace, and he gives me joy.

There’s a chance you might die of procrastination. Believe me.

Totally Brief Disclaimer:

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt. It’s hosted by the amazingly inspiring Positive Writer – See more at: http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-2016/#sthash.3T03OCRr.dpuf

Procrastination was killing me. Before you write that off as being one of the four million overly-dramatic statements I make per day, know this: it was LITERALLY killing me. Two years ago I was a mess. Living with undiagnosed depression made every menial task seem like an insurmountable mountain. Eventually I just curled into the fetal position and politely asked God if it was my time to die.

Needless to say it wasn’t a very productive time in my life. That doctor’s appointment I rescheduled three times? Nope. That novel I’d been planning for months? All writing stopped. I put off my responsibilities, telling myself I was too broken to do them right.

One day my parents dragged me to a doctor and she told me what I already knew: if I didn’t fix me I was going to kill myself.

Whew. Let’s take an abrupt left turn away from the sudden truth-bomb-of-darkness I dropped there. Guess what? It got better.

My doctor told me I needed to have some measurement to gauge my recovery. I told her I used to like writing back when I had actual emotions besides despair, and she told me to make myself stick to a writing plan. Little by little, as my word count grew, so would my sanity.

In theory.

Truth of the matter is I think glaring at the first blank page did more to push me over the edge to permanent insanity than anything else. I knew I wasn’t a good enough writer to get published, so why even try? Besides I would just stop writing in the middle of the story, like I always did. And what did I have to say that someone more eloquent hadn’t already said a million times before?

Here’s the hard truth: I was both wrong and right. At that moment I wasn’t good enough to be published, but that didn’t mean I never would be. With every typed word, feverish scribble, and messy sentence I was becoming. Being “good enough” isn’t a goal, so much as a journey you have to commit to each and every day. The person good enough to be published is the one who never stops trying. The moment I realized this, and acted on it, I was already succeeding.

Fun fact: there are billions of people on this planet, and they all have different ideas of comfort, success, love, and pain. Yet even with all this amazing complexity and uniqueness there are threads of kindred spirits, inexplicably and wonderfully linked. Somewhere there is another human being who is going through something you are coming out of and they need to know that there’s good things to come. You’re carrying a message inside you that won’t reach everybody, but it wasn’t made to. Don’t cut the thread tying you to your kindred spirits. Give it a good tug and let them know you’re there too.

Pick up your laptop, or your pen, or your hipster typewriter, and just begin. Telling yourself that you’re not good enough may not be a lie, but it will stay the truth if you never allow yourself to fail and to improve through experience. Let me be your cautionary tale and don’t waste a single moment more lest you accidentally die of procrastination or something. I’m not a doctor, but that’s a real thing. Trust me.

Go. Write. Do it now. Jot down a paragraph or two about how obnoxious you think I am and then sign your name at the bottom and pat yourself on the back. You’re a writer. So go write.