Faith, again.

Before my life happened to me, I was agnostic and fully believed that no God had any interest in my life or what happened to me. I had no faith in anything and, in particular, no faith in myself. I was simply existing with little direction. I had a job that I felt nothing about, a living situation that was meh, and nothing tieing me to myself. I think if I had died, no one would have paid attention. I was a very, very different person and I look back on that person with such a sense of disconnect—I can’t believe that was me.

I was raised a conservative Christian where faith was just something you had, period. If you didn’t, it was sinful and spoke to the fact that you just didn’t believe hard enough. No one talked about how to have faith, but talked a lot about not having enough faith and how, if you didn’t, then the Hebrew God wouldn’t want anything to do with you. I left that environment feeling let down and resentful.

Here I am now with a brand new life. I have a God who loves and cares about me, a boyfriend who loves me and cares about me and who is pretty awesome, a job that I like, a manageable living situation, and ties to the here and now. With this life came a new requirement; having faith and learning trust.

I’ve written about faith a lot before, but not in this way. Faith and trust are not only requirements for my path with Mr. Mister, but they are requirements for a human relationship, too. If I can’t find my way to have faith and trust in my human partner(s), why am I in a relationship with them?

When I agreed to a relationship with Boyfriend, I did not walk in blindly. I’ve known Boyfriend for the better part of five years and feel like I have a pretty good grasp of who he is as a person. Faith, however, was a requirement.

I have a pretty spotty track record with intimate relationships. All of them have been dysfunctional and codependent, and the last two have been especially abusive in ways that have had long term negative effects. The biggest effects have been my hesitancy to trust anyone who gets close to me and my lack of faith in myself. I have shied away from relationships because I didn’t trust that the person wouldn’t hurt me. I believed the negative messages that I’d been fed.

The process of building this relationship has begun to change a lot of that in ways that I can measure. While I still struggle with negative self-talk, I have been able to talk down my crazy that tells me that this is really some kind of cruel joke, that he is humoring me, that this will end up like the last relationship I was in, that I am not attractive enough for him. Having faith in him and in this relationship means talking down those doubts and really listening to what he says and doesn’t say.

And, he says a lot. He says I’m beautiful just as I am and that I’m smart and worthy and that he loves me and dozens of other things that fill my heart with wonderfully positive things. Regardless of what my crazy thinks, I can force myself to focus on these positive messages and hold onto them when the crazy shit hits the emotional fan which is happening less and less. I feel like my faith in this relationship is bringing back small pieces of myself that I had previously thought irrevocably lost and broken. Today, I can count my blessings and see the sun instead of existing in the dark. I think this relationship has a lot to do with it—it has been shining light in all the dark places.

This relationship has been a huge catalyst and, so far, it’s all been positive. I feel like it has given me the little piece of strength I needed to talk sense to my crazy and really see what the inside of my head looks like. I’ve been doing a lot of private journaling about the process of opening up…

…which is the job at hand with Mr. Mister. The catalyst enzyme hasn’t just touched the human relationship, it has reached it’s claws into the relationship between Mr. Mister and I. One of my struggles with Him is faith, trust, and surrender. That’s been coming along, though, and I know that it’s related to the increased faith in myself. The more I trust myself and my intuition, the more I am able to let go.

Having a human relationship has also refined my priorities. It has forced me to put Mr. Mister at the top of the pyramid of the hierarchy of my life. It’s turned into an odd poly arrangement, but so far it’s working. The human relationship is completely to blame for that and I am glad for it.

My faith in Him continues to develop, especially as I receive outside validation of the things that happen on the inside. I know this is what He wants and I am grateful to have the chance to flex my faith muscle and learn exactly what it means to HAVE faith and not embrace doubt at every turn. It, like my human relationship, is not easy for me—I’m scared to death a lot of time, but I have to trust that my feet are moving in the right direction and that I’ll hear about it if they’re not. I think faith is less a thing that you find and more a thing that you practice. For me, it takes patience with myself while I undo my past and work to create new pathways. Sometimes it’s taking three steps forward, one step back, and then waiting and waiting. I know now that my faith won’t change unless I change and I’m lucky to be finding the tools to do that. I’m pretty grateful that He has allowed me space to find that and His desire for my unquestioning, absolute faith and surrender has not come in the form of a demand, but more a wish for me.

I don’t care that my faith doesn’t look like anyone else’s. I don’t care if I wake up tomorrow morning and discover that all of this has been an involved delusion. I know that I’m happier for my faith in Him, in myself, and in this person I have chosen to keep close to me. It helps more than it hurts and I stand to lose nothing in the process. I count myself lucky that I have these pretty great opportunities in front of me.

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~ by Alex on July 2, 2012.

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