I’m having doubts about Christianity.

bare lonely tree in black and white

I feel like my soul is lost in a snowstorm, and it’s because of the political situation.

The religious right is causing good people to leave their churches, or even Christianity altogether.    This is because so many churches, especially evangelical ones, have become little more than bullhorns for right wing propaganda that praise Trump as some sort of biblical hero.

Mainline Protestant churches and the Catholic Church have kept a healthy distance from politics, and if they lean any way at all, they tend to lean to the left and preach social justice, especially the mainline Protestant denominations.

The Catholic Church is awkwardly placed in all this.  While it’s always emphasized the importance of social justice and helping vulnerable populations, and is headed by a Pope (Francis) who appears to dislike Trump and is decidedly left-wing in his views,  the Catholic Church is still vehemently pro-life and is against artificial contraception (even though most Catholic women of childbearing age use it anyway).   It also considers homosexuality to be a sin and does not ordain female priests.   Many people have left the Catholic Church because they perceive it as being behind the times and out of touch with the needs of women.

Two years ago, I became Catholic, because of all the Christian religions, Catholicism had the most mystery and beauty, and I’ve always loved the liturgy. Although some Protestant churches (Episcopalian and Lutheran) also have a liturgy that’s almost identical to the Catholic one, I wanted the purity of the original one.   I also always liked the doctrine of transubstantiation:  the idea that the Eucharist is a real sacrament and the bread and wine actually turns into the body and blood of Christ, instead of being merely symbolic.

Catholicism is the oldest existing Christian religion, and I was attracted to all its rich and colorful history, both the good and the bad.   I loved the art, especially the serene paintings of Mary and baby Jesus.   I liked the saints.

I also was attracted to Catholicism because it was comforting to me.   Even though my family is not Catholic (my mother was but she left the Church during her teens), I grew up in a heavily Catholic neighborhood in New Jersey, and attended two Catholic schools between 5th and 10th grade.    Every Friday we attended mass in school, and I was so envious of the girls who got to take Communion, while I had to remain sitting in my chair.    I also was envious of all the cool stuff they got:  the lacy white Confirmation dresses, the Confirmation names (I finally got mine: it’s Catherine), the rosary beads.    I was given a set of blue plastic rosary beads one day at school (maybe they forgot I wasn’t Catholic?), even though I had no idea how to use them.  They were among my favorite possessions and I liked to finger them like worry beads.

During those years I attended Catholic school, it was like my home away from home.   I loved the nuns, who were always so serene and kind to me.    Things were very bad at home during those years, with both my parents drinking and fighting, and I felt unloved at home.   At school, that wasn’t the case.  A couple of the nuns treated me like loving parents, and I also had friends at school. Their families welcomed me as if I was one of them.   One girl, Lynn, came from a loud, big, boisterous Italian Catholic family.  Her grandmother, who spoke Italian, used to tell stories from the Old Country and they actually had a wine-making press in their basement where once a year they’d have a grape crushing party that all the neighbors were invited to.   Her grandmother used to cook a big Italian meal every Sunday after church.  What a contrast to my own home, where meals were a silent, stressful affair where my mother constantly criticized me if I wanted seconds and hounded me about my weight, even as a child.    When our dinners weren’t silent, they were interrupted by drunken arguments or either my mother or me in tears.

I’ve always been a spiritual seeker.     I dabbled in a number of different religions during my adult life, both Christian and not.    Still, I always found myself drawn to the Catholic church, and while I never seriously considered becoming one, on occasion I  would attend Mass and take Communion whenever I went.

I finally made the decision to become Catholic in 2014, and for a year attended RCIA classes at my local church.    At the Easter Vigil Mass in 2015, I was confirmed Catholic (my Methodist baptism, to my surprise, was accepted as valid).    I received my confirmation name of Catherine, and my  sponsor gave me a set of rose-scented rosary beads.  My father was perfectly fine with my Catholic conversion and sent me a crucifix.   It was one of the last gifts I would receive from him before he died in June 2016.

Overall, I like Catholic doctrine.  I like the idea of Mary and the saints, who are not actually worshipped the way Jesus is, but merely venerated and seen as intercessors (you ask them to pray for you, not pray to them directly).    I love the Sacraments, even Confession (penance), which to me seems like a way to unload.  It’s therapeutic rather than punishing or guilt-inducing.  At the same time, it keeps my conscience clear.   I always feel cleansed and relieved when I leave Confession (which is done in a small room facing the priest, rather than in a dark confession box).     The “penance” is usually nothing more than saying a couple of Hail Marys or Our Fathers. I always wonder why so many people are so turned off by this sacrament.  To me, it’s like an exercise for the soul.   More than anything, I love Communion.   After I eat my wafer, I really do feel different, as if Jesus is in me.   Maybe it’s a placebo effect of some kind, but I choose to believe it really is Christ’s physical presence, and that makes all the difference.

I like the fact that Catholicism is science friendly.  Many of the greatest scientists and academics in history were Catholic clergy.  I was surprised when I found out during the RCIA classes that in spite of the Catholic doctrine of original sin,  evolution is accepted (albeit God-inspired, which I’ve always believed anyway).   Most of the books of the Old Testament,  including the Adam and Eve story, are regarded as allegorical rather than literal (as they are in mainline Protestantism).   I’m not sure how that squares with the concept of original sin, but so be it.

There are still some doctrinal points I have issues with, and becoming Catholic hasn’t changed my feelings.    One is the literal bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven.  Also the idea that Mary was a virgin and remained so after Christ was born.  Since Mary was also human and not divine, I don’t believe she was conceived without original sin.

I also still consider myself pro-choice, although with limitations.   Actually, I’m sort of on the fence about abortion.   I certainly don’t think it should be used as a form of birth control, or that abortion is okay just because a pregnancy is inconvenient, but I also think there are times it’s the only viable option, especially in cases of rape or incest, if the fetus has a fatal condition and will die anyway, or if the mother’s life is at stake.   The Catholic position is no abortion for any reason, ever.     I can accept this though, because the Catholic Church is pro-life across the board: they are also anti-war, anti-death penalty, and have a long tradition of helping the poor.   There is consistency there and so, to me, their position is not hypocritical.

I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with birth control.  As for homosexuality, well, I have always had gay friends and my son is gay, so I just can’t condemn it.  Some of my favorite people ever are gay.     I also disagree with the Catholic position about women in the clergy, although this may change in time (my priest doesn’t really know why women are barred from the clergy and said there’s no Biblical basis for this other than tradition).

In spite of my issues with some Catholic doctrine, I never once regretted my choice, and until about two months ago, I attended Mass regularly.   But lately, I’m having problems with my faith.   Not Catholicism in particular, but with Christianity in general.    And it’s because of the religious right and the Trump administration.   My church has never taken a position either for or against Donald Trump, and in fact politics is rarely if ever talked about during the homily (sermon in the Protestant faith).   We are merely asked to pray for our leaders.

It disturbs me that so many Catholics (not necessarily in my church but in general) are Trump supporters.   The Trump administration also includes Catholics and I have a problem with that too.     Never before have I judged people based on what their politics are or which politician they support, but that changed this year.    Because of the politicization of Christianity and its growing association with the far right, Christianity in general has been giving me a bad taste in my mouth, and unfortunately that includes my own faith.

I still consider myself a believer in Jesus Christ and I still pray a lot (mostly for a strengthening of faith these days), but mention the word “Christian” to me and I recoil.   I am aware there are Christian leftists and a growing movement toward the social gospel, and that’s attractive to me — but the Christian right eclipses that.    I consider myself a “red letter Christian,” which means I focus on the words of Jesus himself that appear in the gospels.  Unfortunately, those lessons of love, charity, and tolerance are minimized or even ignored by the Christian right.   In this country, the religious right is a lot more powerful and a lot louder than the Christian left, and it’s turning many good people off to Christianity.   It seems that these days, the loudest and most powerful voices of Christianity belong to horrible people devoid of empathy or any true sense of morality or grace toward others.

So I find myself being turned off by the whole idea of Christianity, even though I know real Christianity isn’t like that at all.  I pray about it all the time, but the doubts still remain.  One result of this cognitive dissonance is that I haven’t been to church in almost two months.    I’m going to have to call my priest and set up a time to talk to him about these issues, but it’s hard to motivate myself.  I feel like a hypocrite attending church or taking communion again until this is resolved.   It’s actually occurred to me this is exactly the way Satan would get people to leave the Christian faith.  He would hijack the churches and fill them with heartless and judgmental authoritarians and narcissists.  He would corrupt faith by making it political.  He would use religion as a weapon of hatred intended to divide and create a culture of fear,  which is the opposite of what Jesus intended.    Good people who otherwise might embrace Jesus would reject Christianity altogether.

Maybe this is just a “dark night of the soul” — a spiritual crisis in which I’ll emerge with my faith stronger than ever, or maybe I really am “losing my religion.”   I just don’t know anymore.   I’ll keep praying, though.

Is narcissism really a form of possession?

demon

I usually avoid topics like this, because of their obvious religious implications.   I try to avoid getting too religious on this blog, but I must write about it because I’ve been thinking about this topic all day and I won’t rest until I do.    I’m going to try to stay away from religious terminology though.

A young man I know on another site who insists he has NPD (but has no official diagnosis and therefore may not be one) says he can remember when he “chose” to be a narcissist, and now wishes he hadn’t. He’s adamant that it’s too late to change and nothing can be done.   He said he felt as if his false self was “installed” and didn’t actually come from himself at all.

His story got me thinking.  What if narcissism really is a form of possession?  (I hesitate to use the term “demonic,” although it could be).  What if it’s a kind of choice that’s made and that once it’s made, an outside spirit or entity or whatever it is, lets itself in and it begins to obliterate the true self?

We know that people with NPD have a false self, and we know it’s a lie whose purpose is to hide the true self even from the person themselves, to the point that they believe the lie and actually believe the false self is who they really are. But where exactly does this false self come from? How does a child know how to build such an elaborate defense mechanism that works nearly the same from one narcissist to the next? It’s like there’s a rule book that all narcissists follow.   How can that be?   Are they of a hive mind?  Or is it something else entirely?

Installation of the false self.

Let’s imagine this false self is actually not something  you constructed as a defense mechanism to escape from your true self and bury your pain for good. Let’s imagine something else–that it’s something from outside of you, something that’s been installed. Call it demonic possession, if you wish–that’s probably the closest thing we can imagine to what I’m describing.  The false self isn’t created by you because it never was a part of you–it’s probably not even something human. It was installed there at a time when you think you needed it, most often when you were very young and defenseless and were faced with this yawning, vast, terrifying emptiness caused by not being validated, mirrored and loved when you needed it most. A young child or toddler who feels rejected has not yet learned to separate themselves from the parents, usually the mother–so the rejection feels like an annihilation. It feels like you are dying.

At that moment, when you feel this unbearable reality–because it’s real to you even though it isn’t actually real–of being snuffed out of existence–this entity comes along, an entity who promises something better, a way out, a way to feel “alive” again. M. Scott Peck talked about this in his book “People of the Lie.”   The entity lies to you and tells you your life will be much easier and you can get rid of that awful feeling of emptiness if only you let it in.   It doesn’t tell you what it’s really going to be doing to you is destroying your soul and the souls of others by proxy.

There’s only one catch–in order to keep working, the entity must feed off the emotions of others, because when it takes over you, it pushes down your own emotions so you can’t feel them anymore. It obscures your pain and emptiness so you don’t have to feel those emotions, but it throws out the baby with the bathwater: it also obscures any sublime emotions like love, empathy, joy, sadness, and gratitude. If other people aren’t available for this thing to feed off of, the entity will starve and you are back to where you started–feeling like you no longer exist and facing that awful emptiness.

Faced with a choice. 

You have a choice–you can invite the entity in or not. It never forces itself on you. You may remember standing at such a crossroads when you were very young. I know I did.  I “test drove” narcissism for awhile, but ultimately rejected it.   Playing with narcissism is like playing with fire.   It’s not something you want to mess with.

If you’re an empath, you probably will reject it and choose to suffer rather than invite it in, because as an empath, you can feel its malignancy and know it will destroy your soul eventually, and the souls of others by proxy. If you reject the invitation, it will go away and leave you alone, but you might develop C-PTSD or BPD or become codependent, and allow yourself to continue to be abused and rejected without any defenses against the pain and emptiness inside.  But your real self remains intact and you don’t have to walk around wearing a mask all the time and hurting others to keep that mask on.

If you’re desperate enough–or can’t sense how evil this thing really is, you will be tempted to say yes and allow it inside. It probably won’t be a conscious choice.  It’s not something you THINK about and then decide, like what shoes you’re going to wear  that day.  It’s a choice made on the spiritual level so even a very young child can do it. It could happen later in childhood, or during adolescence or even early adulthood.  It’s a spiritual version of “if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em.”   An example might be a socially awkward boy who faces a group of sociopathic bullies every day and is given a dare:  set another kid’s house on fire and be accepted by the group, or continue to be bullied.   So he chooses to do what the bullies say, in exchange for acceptance.  What he doesn’t realize is what that does to his soul.  Faced with cognitive dissonance–unbearable guilt over what he did even though it was against everything he believed in–he resolves this by identifying with the bullies and represses his guilt and shame.   Soon his behavior begins to change and he begins to act less socially awkward and even becomes “cool”–but he also starts to act arrogant and entitled.  He no longer accepts blame for his actions and begins to play mind games with others.  He seems more confident–but he’s actually in much worse shape than he started because he isn’t even himself anymore.   He’s a puppet for the evil entity that used the promise of “acceptance” as the carrot on the stick–and now resides inside him and has no intention of leaving.

Becoming a puppet.

If narcissism is a form of possession, than narcissists are just puppets being operated by an outside force that is not them.   For awhile at least, the true self is still there, but it’s no longer able to emerge at will because it’s been repressed by a more powerful force that keeps it at bay.

The entity lies to you and you begin to believe those lies.  The biggest lie it tells you is that your false self is your true one, and the true self was a lie. It twists things around so black is white, and up is down and day is night. You don’t even know what’s real anymore, and so a fantasy becomes reality and reality is sent down the river in a tarpaper boat.

The NPD spectrum and perfect and imperfect possession.

If narcissism is a form of possession , it’s still possible for it to run on a kind of spectrum, though not the kind of spectrum referred to in the mental health profession.   In “People of the Lie,” M. Scott Peck talked about “perfect” and “imperfect” possession. Malignant narcissists are perfectly possessed–which basically means that the entity has completely obscured the true self, making it utterly inaccessible, or possibly even destroyed it. Such a person cannot become self aware or even if they somehow become aware of their own narcissism, there’s no desire to change, because there’s nothing left of the true self; if it’s not destroyed, it no longer has a voice and there’s no conscious awareness of its existence.  This is a person who has become evil, but they aren’t inherently evil because they’re no longer who they once were–they have become whatever has taken up residence within them.

Narcissists lower on the spectrum are imperfectly possessed–which means the entity hasn’t completely obscured the true self. Such people are not evil–they are victims of an evil entity that is trying to take control over them. If they have realized what they have become and no longer want it, they become engaged in a kind of spiritual warfare.  You may notice some lower spectrum narcissists can be very changeable, almost Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish.    From time to time their true self will appear, sometimes even without a grave loss of supply. That’s when they may admit they want help and when they’d be most receptive to it.   For non-malignant narcissists who are ego-dystonic, therapy could work, but there MUST be a spiritual component in the therapy itself.   M. Scott Peck believed narcissists (even though he didn’t call them that in his book) who are not perfectly possessed (in other words, not malignant) can be cured by exorcism.  It doesn’t even have to be done by a priest or minister–it can be done by a trained therapist too. Peck described the 2 exorcisms he performed in his book, “Glimpses of the Devil.”

Usually I’m very skeptical about supernatural things.  Although I’m Christian, I tend to be analytical and prefer scientific explanations over religious ones.  I also tend to be very suspicious of people who immediately start talking about God and Satan and quoting the Bible whenever the subject of narcissism comes up.  But it does make sense to me that the false self  is really some kind of malicious entity that presents itself during a crisis and makes all kinds of promises to a child or young adult who feels like they’re about to be snuffed out of existence.     It’s all too easy to be taken in by the lies when you’re desperate, but once the choice is made, the thing has too much power to get rid of without spiritual intervention of some kind.   You can see it in the empty, soulless gaze or unnerving, predatory stare some narcissists have, especially if they’ve crossed the line into malignancy (or perfect possession). And it gets worse over time, which may be one reason why narcissists tend to grow worse with age. Unchecked, whatever this thing is takes over more of your original soul until you become perfectly possessed and your true self is either totally eclipsed or obliterated.  If it’s obliterated, you’re nothing more than a walking dead person–a zombie impersonating someone you never were and feeding off the energy of others.

As much as you might want to, you can’t fix a narcissist.  Don’t even think about it because you have no idea what spiritual dangers you might be taking on–but it’s certainly alright–more than alright–to pray for their deliverance.

Spiritual crisis.

sun-breaking-through-dark-clouds

I’ve always hesitated about getting too religious on this blog, since people of many different faiths (or none at all) come here and I don’t want to alienate non-Christians or atheists. But there’s no possible way to write what I’m about to write without at least acknowledging the presence of God (good) and Satan (evil). I will be referencing God because He plays such an important part in what happened to me this morning, but prefer to use the term “evil” or “forces of darkness” rather than Satan or the Devil. It’s all the same thing.

This morning I had a wake up call from God. Like so many other times when God knocks me upside the head with the truth, it hurt–a lot! But ultimately, it proved to me He hasn’t given up on me yet and has shown me the way to get out of the spiritual mess I’ve gotten myself into. But when He’s not pleased, He definitely lets you know. It’s my own choice what I do with this information.

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with depression, lack of motivation, and strange dissociative episodes, where I often feel as if I’m out of my body. My “muse” seemed to have gone AWOL without any warning. I couldn’t figure it out, and thought I was having some kind of mental breakdown or a relapse into the numb depression I was in before I started to blog.

I didn’t realize until this morning that what was happening had little to do with my mind but a lot to do with my soul. Now when I look back at everything, I can’t understand how I didn’t see it, but Evil has a way of sneaking around and convincing you it’s Good when it’s the worst thing imaginable. Evil wants your soul and will do anything it can to get it, even convince you that bad is good and good is bad, and have you questioning your faith, if you have one.

I felt like God was very far away. I prayed, but half-heartedly, and no answers were coming. It was frustrating. Had God played a trick on me, or maybe didn’t even exist? Or maybe God just didn’t like me very much.

For weeks, maybe several months, my efforts at writing new blog posts felt forced. I felt that I was losing interest in narcissism and would have to take this blog in another direction. At the same time (and this is VERY insidious!) I found myself reading a lot about dark subjects, just because I felt drawn to them somehow. Yes, I admit it: while I want to be a good person and walk on the side of what’s good and right, there’s always been a part of me that’s attracted to darkness, even though at the same time I feel repelled by it. In fact, it’s much the same kind of “attraction” I’ve always had to narcissistic men–both attracted and repelled at the same time. I know it’s bad, and know it’s bad for ME, but rationalize to myself why it isn’t that dark or why it’s okay for me to be drawn closer to it. I thought I could delve into dark subjects as a sort of “spectator,” without getting really involved. I rationalized to myself that I wasn’t offending God because I wasn’t actually engaging in these activities. The power of the demonic is in its insidiousness. The way it sneaks up on you.

false-prophet
Evil can masquerade as “good.” Be careful.

Last week I posted an article (which I removed this morning due to its content) about the use of psychedelic drugs as therapy for Cluster B disorders and PTSD. The article was at best irresponsible and misleading, and at worst potentially destructive, even…evil. But at the time I wrote it, I had somehow convinced myself it was okay as long as I prefaced it with a “disclaimer.” It never occurred to me that although I never would take such drugs myself, even as therapy (for the record, I don’t do any drugs and rarely even drink), that someone else might be convinced to do so, and find themselves in the midst of something they would not be able to handle or even in the ER! They could also find their souls in jeopardy.

That might sound dramatic but let me explain. In spite of my unhealthy obsession with dark things, I’ve shied away from anything involving the occult ever since my bad experience using a Ouija board at age 17. The occult scares me because I believe it’s possible to attract dark forces or spirits when engaged in it. Psychedelic drugs scare me too, but I find their effects (including their effects on me in the past, which were always negative) strangely fascinating. But when you take a psychedelic drug, you’re altering your consciousness and this often involves something called “ego death.” When ego death happens, people tend to dissociate quite badly. At high doses–or on strong psychoactive drugs–you lose your sense of yourself and forget who you are, where you are, or even that you’re human. At the same time your cognition remains intact. It’s at this point that many people either freak out and have a bad experience–or enjoy the experience and begin to think of themselves as “like gods” since they feel like disembodied pure consciousness and “see” things that are unbelievable in the context of the material world.

Several things can happen, and none of them are good. You can have a psychotic break and never “return,” you can “come back” believing the lies you’ve been told (that you’re “like a God” and can do anything God can do), or an outside entity (most likely, a bad one) can enter your body when you’re in this vulnerable state. I do realize some people claim to have had enlightening and even humbling experiences, and that may be the case for a few, but I think it’s the exception rather than the rule, and even then, you may have been deceived by dark forces. Some say that because psychoactive plants grown in nature and God created these plants, that they must have been put there by God for humans to use to achieve enlightenment. That may be the case but I doubt God wants us all tripping to know Him. They may have been given to us as medicine, meant to be dispensed by a doctor. We can’t know why they exist, but I have no business encouraging anyone to use them recreationally or as a method of self-therapy. There are too many risks and too many negative outcomes. It’s opening a Pandora’s box to the unknown. Just because you’re curious about what’s in that box doesn’t mean it should be opened. Personally I think psychedelic drugs are a form of sorcery (and I even said so in the article this post is about), and sorcery isn’t anything I want to get involved with.

I can’t help but think of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge, which may have been a psychoactive plant of some sort. Look what happened to them (and all humanity) after they ate from it! God specifically told them not to eat the fruit but they did anyway. We can’t know why it was put there if they were not to partake, but He must have had his reasons. They listened to the serpent instead who told them it was perfectly okay and not to listen to God. They fell for it and their disobedience led to the Fall. No, I do not believe this was a literal account of creation (I think it’s allegorical) but the message there is still very clear: there are some things God does NOT want us to do, and it’s not for us to question His reasoning. It could be that the answer would be too overwhelming for us to handle.

say_that_meme

It fills me with shame now to think that in posting that article last week, I was doing the same thing the serpent was doing in the Garden. Even with all the disclaimers and admission that I’d be too afraid to undertake any psychotherapy using psychedelic drugs, that article was still incredibly irresponsible to say the least. I can’t believe I even wrote such a thing, never mind actually posting it! But the dark forces can be very convincing and even hypnotic (much like a drug–or the serpent) and while engaged in activities that are more pleasing to those forces than to goodness (or godliness), you literally can’t see what you’re doing or why it’s a bad thing. Evil literally becomes “good” and that’s the lie the dark forces wants us to believe.

I now know why I’ve been feeling so depressed and dissociated. My soul was being pulled between good and evil. Being pulled in two opposite directions, I couldn’t “move,” hence the lack of motivation and dearth of new ideas. It also explains the strange out of body experiences and inexplicable sense of foreboding and panic attacks. These are all symptoms of soul sickness. Someone on another blog has said I seem very confused, and it’s true. I am very confused and have been for some time. The dark forces use confusion to disorient us and make us more vulnerable to their attempts to win our souls to their side.

I want to do what’s right; I want to please God, but at the same time I do find dark things alluring and seductive. All my life I’ve been surrounded by evil, and stayed with a very evil man far longer than I should have. I finally escaped, and found God, but the dark forces still want to get their hooks in me and this was their attempt to do so. I’m not strong enough to resist those forces without God, especially taking my background into consideration. If I deliberately dabble in things (and this includes even reading excessively about them) I’m leaving myself wide open to go down a very negative spiritual path.

This morning I saw a comment about this blog on someone else’s blog. The comments were not positive. The drug article was called out as being “evil.” I never thought of it that way, because the last thing I want to be is evil, but I immediately realized this person was right. I don’t want to post things that could be seen that way or could harm someone’s body, mind or soul. But that article WAS very dangerous and suddenly it was like my eyes were opened. I almost felt as if I’d just woken up and seen things as they really were. I saw myself in the mirror and the reflection wasn’t pretty.

My first reaction was extreme. I felt such overpowering shame (similar to what Adam and Eve must have felt in the Garden when they covered their bodies) that for a moment I was VERY tempted to just take down this whole blog and disappear. But suddenly I felt God’s presence and another thought entered my mind–Repent. Retract the article (as well as others that have been seen or may be seen as irresponsible or damaging to ACONs or disordered people, or ANYONE for that matter) and publicly apologize. I knew that God was giving me another solution because He knows that blogging has brought me to Him and didn’t want me to destroy the gift He’d given me to heal myself. To take down this blog and disappear would be the coward’s way out. It’s the way I have handled so many other things in my life when I handled things badly or hurt someone unintentionally. But God doesn’t want us to be cowards. He wants us to take responsibility for our mistakes, to own up to them, even when it’s embarrassing.
I was wrong. There’s no other way to justify what I did.

Many people might think doing such a thing a public retraction and apology would bring more shame than just disappearing. But ironically, I felt relief and gratitude. Gratitude that God had NOT turned his back on me (as I’d feared) and still has a plan for me. A year ago he was working on my mind; now He’s working on my soul, and the lessons you learn are so much harder. God is endlessly patient with us. He knows we’re human and will mess up sometimes. I messed up big time. I asked for forgiveness but I knew that the feeling of relief and gratitude meant He’d already forgiven me, as long as I never do such a thing ever again.

And God does perform miracles too. Several small (or not so small) miracles happened following my eyes being opened this morning. I could have felt hurt by the negative comments on that other blog, but somehow I didn’t–because I knew that person was right. I didn’t feel depressed today, and I felt inspired to write this article. I realized how much I WANTED to write it. I couldn’t wait to get home to write it. I haven’t felt this excited to write any blog post in months! I just knew that it was what God wanted me to do, and God always knows what we need even when we don’t.

When I got home earlier, there was one other little miracle waiting for me. This:

succulent_flower

A single bright pink flower on a succulent plant in my kitchen that has NEVER bloomed in the three years I’ve had it. I never noticed it until I got home, and suddenly there it was! I felt God’s presence and knew this was Him letting me know I’d made the right choice and was pleased. So I uttered two words: “Thank you.”

I know there will be many more spiritual crises ahead of me. I’m far from perfect and never will be. But I know if I stay close to God and stray less than I have over to the allure of darkness, I may have fewer of them and find I’m a whole lot happier in general.