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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A way forward...

I haven't blogged for a long, long time and I have deleted some posts that I felt, in retrospect, didn't fit with where my life was at.

The past few months have certainly been eventful; sometimes tough but always a learning experience and I am always reaching out for the positives.

Lately I have had a couple of conversations where I have tried to articulate the place that I have come to spiritually where I feel at peace. At this time I probably feel the most spiritually content that I have for many years.

As part of my move away from the Christian Church and the baggage that weighed me down emotionally and spiritually I decided that I needed to address three key areas; guilt, prayer and a philosophy of life.

1. Guilt. Throughout my childhood, teens, marriage and my Christian experience I felt that guilt was ever-present burden that slowed me down, created tensions and kept me caught up in a cycle of negativity and pressure. I realized that if I was to find a healthy way forward I needed to address this first.

Around the middle of this year I decided to stop feeling guilty. There are clearly times when guilt operates as a positive corrective in life that we are wise to pay attention to. For example, if I lose it with any of my boys and I feel guilty I am quick to apologize for my error and reassure my boys of my love for them.

What I am talking about in removing guilt is the pressure to conform to a certain lifestyle and mindset that is endemic in the evangelical church. I no longer subscribe to that way of life and I am the happiest I have been for a long time.

2. Prayer. Earlier this year one of my boys was sick for 2 days and one night I fell into bed in the early hours completely exhausted. As I lay in my bed reflecting on the day I instinctively thought of praying but then I realized that I didn't believe in prayer and didn't believe that anyone or anything was paying attention to my thoughts.

In the absence of prayer I felt a sense of loss. Not the loss of a relationship with God but the loss of a mechanism to deal with any concerns or fears that I had. I reflected for a while on the predicament and then came up with an alternative that is free of guilt, easy answers and an expectation of some sort of answer from "out there".

Quite simply, I envisage the ocean with no land in sight at all. I picture myself holding onto whatever it is that concerns me and then I let it go and drop it into the ocean. Having done this I turn away from the image content that I have released the burden. It has proven to be a healthy technique that leaves me free to continue with my life.

3. Philosophy of Life. I believe that it is good for us to have a philosophy of life where one thinks through and articulates the values that will guide and influence one's life.

My philosophy of life is that when I eventually die I want to have made a positive difference to the lives of some people especially my three boys. I want to live my life in such a way that, however much I can, I seek to love fully and live passionately and laugh a lot.

Happy Holidays.


David Rupert said...

Les...welcome back to blogging. it seems you are on quite a journey. As you wrestle with guilt, also consider conviction and learn to separate the two.

keep thinking. keep praying. Keep writing.

Brock S. Henning said...

Les, this is quite a heartfelt read, and you're not alone. I totally get you when you mentioned "the pressure to conform to a certain lifestyle and mindset that is endemic in the evangelical church."

After becoming a Christian at age 19, I tried to model "church folk," or what I thought church folk were supposed to be like. I was dutiful upstanding, nice, a yes-man...and miserable. Not that those values are bad, but I was trying to fit a mold that wasn't me, and that wasn't Jesus.

In my early 30s, I finally asked God "If that's not me, then who am I?" It took guts for me to choose to be the person that HE wanted me to be, and there was guilt (from many in the church), but not for long. I broke free of religion and found real freedom in Christ alone and encouragement from those who understand this.

I'm praying for you right now. Keep walking this out, brother. Follow the dreams God gave you, and make the difference in the lives of your boys. Your choice in this WILL change their lives. And laugh a lot. :)

Les said...

Thanks guys. I really appreciate your kind words. I am certainly still thinking deeply and finding a place to connect with Jesus.

Happy Christmas