Advent

(Writing this on the first Advent day, but timing it to post on Monday because I posted another piece today.)

“Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.”
(widipedia)

I don’t like Christmas. Or Easter. Or other Christian celebrations. But these two are the worst and I’d be very happy to hibernate through them – and all of the Christmas “hype” they’re starting earlier and earlier every year.

The mundane Christmas hysteria is exhausting. I get a rash from the music that’s filling every place and sticking to my brain, no matter how hard I try to ignore it. My eyes hurt from all the bling and trash they’re trying to sell from every possible hole. My brain and body are paralyzing from the pressure of “musts” and “shoulds” and “needs” the hysteria is pouring on all poor shoulders. But it’s not just that why I hate Christmas.

I think the Church is quite as guilty of pressuring people with Christmas as are the marketing forces. It’s just a little different kind of pressure.

Have you ever heard someone say: “What? You’re not going to the Christmas service? That’s not right, after all, it’s our Saviour’s birthday!” Or: “Whaaat??? It’s Good Friday/Easter day, it’s the most important holiday of Christianity! Of course you must go to the church!!!

Yep. I think that’s sad and wrong. Me not going to those services does not mean I don’t appreciate Christ’s work. To me it does not make those holidays any less important. Those services just highlight the reason I don’t like going to church: Ritual.

Church makes me feel empty, sad and frustrated. And a failure as a Christian. It’s probably my own fault, comparing myself to other people in what may not even be true. But seeing people there, some of them almost in some kind of ecstasy, not feeling anything myself, makes me feel even more far away from God. Or listening to the horror stories and the sermon telling how Jesus was crushed because our sins and thus we should feel sooooooooooo bad – and then for days on I feel endlessly guilty because I don’t feel bad enough for my sins.

I think I’m better off not going there. Just trying to find God in my everyday. In my own way, without rituals and not the way other people do it or have done it for centuries.

But then I meet a fellow church member at the store and find out she pretty much thinks I’ve given up God totally. Or get a comment from my not-at-all-talkative hubby – saying between the lines that he thinks I’ve gone astray. Etc. It’s rough, tough and very discouraging.

I’m not attending the first advent day service or christmas service this year either. And that does not mean I love Jesus any less.

-thomasina-

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Don’t worry

It’s been a long while since my last post. I’ve had a lot of thoughts I’ve “posted” in my head, but just couldn’t make them realize here. Life has been a lot lately, actually way too much, and I’m having a hard time handling it all at the moment. The Bible says

“Never worry about anything, but in every situation let your petitions be made known to God in prayers and requests, with thanksgiving.” (Philippians 4:6)

but that’s really hard to follow. Especially when I’m not quite sure where I stand with God.

God is my refuge. Or should be. But even with these uncertain times, I think I’m allowed to trust that He will take care of me. Because I have asked Him to. For some reason He has allowed these dark times upon me, but I’m refusing to think that He has forsaken me. But, I have to admit, it’s not easy, and there is a shadow of doubt looming somewhere.

How about all those people who know nothing about God? If I’m having this much fear and discomfort, how do they even survive the horrible modern world? How can they not die of fear and anxiety and worry? What is it that comforts them, since it’s not God? Where do they rely on? I find these questions very unnerving and feel so, so, so sorry for these people. I don’t think I would’ve made it through life this far without God and believing that He has all the strings in His hands.

I am afraid. I am anxious. Just that it’s more bearable with God.

-thomasina-

How God made me

I’m a mess. The entire human race is a mess because of sin. But that’s not how God made us. He made us perfect and made no mistakes.

He made ME perfect. And made no mistakes.

However, it’s SO difficult to love myself. I don’t like myself. I don’t think anyone else does either – and when they do, I’m truly and honestly surprised. Every time. I find it easy to ask “why am I like this?” and very, very difficult, if not impossible, to say “thank you God that you made me me”.

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’
(Romans 9:20)

There. By complaining how I’m so bad and useless and stupid and failure and what else, I’m saying to God that He made a mistake with me. But I can’t say that to Him, can I? Well, of course I can, but that’s not a fair thing to say. It’s not true.

Instead, I think I should say:

“How did You make me? How did You mean me to be? What would I be like, if I was indeed perfectly as You meant me to be? How can I become more like you meant me?”

David understood this and thanked God for it:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
(Ps. 139:14)

In the Finnish Bible this is translated “I am a miracle“. I love that. The idea always fills me with awe. If only I could truly understand that with my heart and believe it and claim it.

Sometimes I’ve heard teaching that the passage “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-40) means that you must love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love your neighbour either. I don’t know if that’s true, but it makes me think if that’s why my spiritual life seems to be going nowhere?

I can’t remember having felt loved during my childhood. I remember constantly feeling that I was “excess” or a “spare”. To my father, it seemed, nothing was enough. No matter how good my report card was, there always was something that should’ve been even better. And to my sister I was an idiot and a pain in the b*tt. Mom… can’t remember any fondness from her either. So it’s very, very difficult to believe that anyone, including God, would ever accept me as I am.

That’s sad.

But God says I’m a miracle. I want to believe that. After all, He knows best, right?

-thomasina-

Diary of Thankfulness

I have decided to start writing down all kinds of blessings and reasons for thankfulness that I can find in my life. I already have a small notebook for that, but as always, the first words are oh, so, so, SO difficult!

I hate fake things. Things that are good, yeah, but which only come from one’s head and not the heart. I’m an all-or-nothing person and that makes it very difficult for me to keep track of good things if/when I’m somehow down. When I’m down, I’m DEEP down, all the way. And when I’m high (well not high, but… you get the drift) it’s higher than the highest heaven. In the middle… let’s just say, there’s not much there.

Positive thinking methods and such seem to me like brain washing, convincing oneself to believe things that aren’t true. But now I decided to try to teach myself to remember, that even when things are bad, the good things are still there. And like it’s said in 1. Thess. 5:18:

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

I know the list is long when I start writing them down. But of course the first one(s) should be special. They start the entire book. So I can’t have it be something like “I have a nice dog”. And once I write it down in the book, it’s there. So I need to be sure I choose right.

Sometimes I wish I’d be (way) more impulsive.

-thomasina-

 

Tired, lost, discouraged

After just three posts in this blog I’m facing a major blogger’s block. Post ideas come and go – or just go without even coming – and I’m left with a blank screen. Even the ideas I manage to catch before forgetting them, won’t evolve into posts.

I’m tired. Too much going on in my life at the moment. Too many unresolved issues. Too many stress factors. Too depressing a world. And probably because of all that and on top of it my pain levels and other symptoms have flared. So I get nothing done but a blank stare. And that’s sad, because I was already excited that maybe finally God let’s me go somewhere. I was eager to search and find. And then…

picture credit pixabay.com

Was I too eager? Trying too much myself? Going for a wrong direction?

What happened to “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James. 4:8)? I don’t know. Seems to me one passage tells not to try by myself (in my own strength) the other says, one must be proactive. Where’s the balance? I’m at a loss anyway.

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” (Rom 9:18)

That’s scary, you know! I’m constantly afraid that He’s had it with me, finally, for good, and that’s it. And that’s pretty much too much to take even as a thought. And at the same time, I’m almost beyond having any energy to even care. And that’s even more scary.

I’m just so tired.

-thomasina-