Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Trust Issues

God and I are having some trust issues.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it, but a couple weeks ago I fell at my apartment complex. I fell down some stairs because they were wet from a sprinkler that was misfiring on the concrete. In the last couple weeks I’ve been seeing the chiropractor and I’m doing much better.

I had reported (by letter) to the management company what happened, and they called and said they wanted to take care of my medical bills with their insurance, which I was very relieved to hear. So I explained to the insurance person what happened, and after a couple days back and forth, she said they would pay my bills and also give me a little settlement on top. None of this was asked for, but all was quite welcomed and appreciated.

So, fast forward to this week.

J and I looked at one of the apartments in our complex that’s actually been open since the last time we talked to them about moving next door. It’s a 2-bedroom and quite cute. It had come down in price, and J has recently found out that he’s gotten a 1-year full-time contract at Azusa (yay), in addition to classes he’ll be teaching for Biola. In short, we’re gonna have money to move out of the closet, finally. So I mentioned to the manager that we were interested in the 2-bedroom, and he dug it big time, thought it would be fine. We discussed even our moving end of this month. Super cool.

But then today he visited and told us that until the “insurance thing” is all worked out, they can’t say anything about the apartment. I tried to understand how the two things are at all related, but finally decided I must be getting in trouble because I caused problems for the owner by falling. I feel like I’m being punished but I didn’t do anything wrong. I am very sorry I fell and really really sorry that I got hurt and needed fixing. I wish it hadn’t happened. Now I wish it more, because if it messes up our moving, I’ll be so very sad.

I know it sounds ridiculous and rude of them (especially b/c you’re only hearing my side – well that’s because it’s my blog!), but if that’s how they decide to be, there is really nothing I can do about it. But as J points out, I don’t know yet what’s actually going on, and I should stop getting worked up when it might be nothing. My concern is simply that they will give the apartment to someone else (there are two other applicants) because we are no longer, I guess, “good tenants.”

But they’re still stuck with us, it’s not like we don’t live here! And we’re going to be here another year, and want to stay in that complex now (b/c it’s not worth moving away since we don’t know what’s happening after I graduate), so why can’t we be someplace comfortable?

God, what if they kick us out??

Well anyway, what I’m actually writing about is how this has affected me spiritually. I’ve given all this backstory to get to what I’m going to say now.

I’m having trust issues with God.

You see, I had just prayed before the manager showed up with this bad news. I had prayed that God would take the situation. I prayed that God would protect us financially (and if that meant not moving, OK). I told God what I wanted, and said I would trust God to care for us.

Then this happened. OK, yay, you think – I got an answer. God says no moving. Lovely.

Except you see, this happens every time I give this over. Every time I tell God: OK, I’ll put this living situation in your hands. You know I’m very confined and sad living in our current place, and here’s this opportunity (new apartment, the house, etc), and God, I’ll just trust you that what’s best will happen.

And then every time I lose the thing I want. God and my desires don’t line up. And I don’t mean it in a whiny way. I mean that it’s really hard to trust God when every time I give something to God it doesn’t work out. Maybe I shouldn’t give it away but I’m supposed to keep it so I can make it happen. I don’t know.

I know I should be content with living simply. I guess I’m still working on it. I’m not good at it yet, not good at living small. Not good with the cramped space (especially when it’s hot). So is God trying to teach me this lesson, over and over? And won’t let up until I learn it? That makes me feel like God is mean or at least a tiresome disciplinarian.

What it comes down to is that I don’t know if I believe God wants what’s actually best for me. Or God wants what I want, when what I want doesn’t seem to be harmful at all (this 2-bedroom would not be exactly the lap of luxury – it’s 665 square feet!). It’s like, if I keep trusting God, I’ll be doing what God wants but I’ll be miserable. And there’s certainly a fine tradition of God letting people suffer a looong time. There’s almost a guarantee of pain and trouble if you’re going to go God’s way. And it’s such a bummer. I mean, I guess we become persons of loyalty, trust, and character, in the end. We detach from everything that’s not God.

But right now, I just don’t get how having a hundred more square feet would hurt me spiritually, and it would sure help me feel a lot better physically and emotionally.

Well like J says: there’s nothing actually to get upset about yet. But I found it interesting to examine where this was taking me with God. I started praying after the meeting, and then I started yelling at God. I really got mad. I had to tell God that I don’t think he actually knows or understands or even really likes me that much. I certainly don’t feel like he’s a loving parent doting on his daughter. I just don’t right now. How come every time I ask for something he does the opposite? And I’m supposed to just buck up and trust that it’s good for me?!

I’ll obey. I’m committed to it. I’ll live wherever God puts me. There I am. And I’ll be fine. But it’s chipping away at this relationship, at this trust I have. At this belief I so want to have that God loves me and really wants what’s best for me. I’ll obey, but I won’t feel very much like I’m doing it from love. I guess I’m trusting God because I’m supposed to, because I have this mental assent to the fact that God knows better than me. But my heart is rebelling. My heart isn’t in it. My heart wants things…but when I share my heart’s desires with my father I get slammed doors.

And I’m so screwed up that even writing this I figure God’s gonna punish me for being real with you about how I feel, so I’ll be punished and live in the hot closet forever. *sigh*

Dealing with all the psychology around God is extremely complicated. It’s also self-revealing and often painful. It’s tons of second-guessing. And for an overthinker like me, it leads to obsession. I have trouble listening in class, doing homework. Plus it makes me go into the depression. Which is what’s up right now. Depressed, and feeling put upon, and feeling guilty about whining over such a small thing. And deeply wishing I could have this move, but more wishing I could trust that God actually has something better. That’s what I want to believe – if it doesn’t work out, there’s something better. I’m losing faith in that.

God, I so wish I could be like John. He’s perfectly content wherever we live. He’s probably got a better trust relationship with God than me. I should ask him. How do you trust God when stuff doesn’t work out? Oh, you stop caring if stuff works out or not. That’s him. Nothing ever fazes him. I don’t get it. Especially during my period, man!

OK, back to mystical theology. Personal issues vomited. Hope you weren’t in the “splash zone.”

p.s. this just in from mystical theology class:
Evelyn Underhill on prayer:
It is a live wire, living link, b/t humanity and divinity. When you pray for something, you are volunteering to go into the breach – you become the intercession. When you pray for the people of a place, you should expect God to send you there.


rbarenblat said...

Oh, this resonates with me so strongly!

And I think it's really wildly important that we be able to say these things aloud -- that even seminarians, and someday (God willing) clergy, be able to admit that there are times when our relationship with God feels strained and painful. Because I think every faithful person has this stuff to deal with, in some degree, and if we pretend that we don't -- well, then we're not serving our communities well, are we?

I have so much to say in response to this that I think I will work on my own post. :-)

rbarenblat said...

Me again. I wrote a post that ricochets off of this one, here...

toujoursdan said...

Congrats to your partner on the Azusa gig. I attended APU from 1985-1989. While it wasn't a good fit for me, a Canadian gay progressive-minded, Anglo-Catholic, there are a lot of wonderful folks there.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I can 100% identify. I don't have an answer on this. I have always, always had big trust issues (with everyone, not just God), and I still have them with God, almost all the time. I wish I knew how to get past it, but I don't.

Anyway, you're not alone. And I don't think God holds this stuff against you. He just takes it in stride, like everything else.

Steven said...

I know how you feel. As a small boy my parents divorced. At age 12 I was forced to perform sex acts on our babysitter. At age 24 my son was born with CP and is severely handicpaped.

I have been fired from many jobs because of missing work because of my son and my own issues.

I have wasted years of my life drowning my pain in drugs and alcohol.

5 years ago my middle brother died of HIV and renal and liver failure while he was visiting me.

3 weeks ago to this day we lost our home to foreclosure.

4 weeks ago I lost 2 uncles one to a motorcycle accident and another to a failed lung transplant. I attended two funerals within a span of 7 days.

I have no money to move my belongings so they sit there and will be thrown away. We found an apartment, but I had to depend on my inlaws to pay for it which destroyed my self-esteem.

I am late on my cell-phone bill, auto insurance, auto-payments. My bank account is -$600 because of bounced checks.

My daughters are ashamed of our new place and are depressed.

I have NO hope I am ashamed and feel like a loser. My daughters birthday is tomorrow and I have NO MONEY to get her a gift. I have NOTHING not even a dollar. NOTHING.

I am B-R-O-K-E.

I BEG God to hear me. I have asked Him to let me win the lottery (which is tonight 11/14) and I promised I would give half of it away I BEGGED Him to please let me win so I can get a home, save my car and my wife's car from repossession. Repay my debts and pay my mounting bills.

I swore to God I'd give half of it away plus return 20% as thithe. I wrote down the desires of my heart, but I have little faith

I am in the mortgage business and I have failed so much and never seem to get ahead or close that big deal that will lift me out of financial ruin

EVERY TIME I PRAY God beats me down with a NOOOOOOOOOOO that crushes my spirit.

I am on the verge of hating God for His will. If you read Pslams 88 that is me.

Why God have you done these cruel things to me? Why is there no 'hedge" in my life.

I feel God wants me to suffer and if I complain He will destroy me and cast me into Hell.

His "will" for me is loathsome and a burden. His "yoke" is heavy upon my heart.

It crushes my spirit to know that my life is a living hell and God has PLANNED this for me from before I was born to be miserable, hopeless, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, ashamed, and on the verge of a mental breakdown.

I want to kill myself, but I am a coward and I am afraid of what it will do to my children.

Gos is NOT just and my life is PROOF. God picks and chooses whom he will bless.

He "magically" interviened for Jacob who was a thief and a liar. Abraham lied and doubted all the time and yet God blessed him.

God used his powers to change the color of the sheep for jacob. God blessed Joseph in all things.

EVRYTHING that I touch is corrupted and destroyed. I am NOT happy with God's will for me.

I am undone.

Why God do you oppress me so? Why do you crush my spirit and destory my soul?????????

Why God has thou forsaken me?????