Wages Within


I have always been on a spiritual journey, but I experienced the most powerful awakening of my life a few years back. I wrote about it in my first book. But the awakening itself was just a crumb of the meal that awaited me thereafter. And the easiest part. By far. Weeping and gnashing of teeth. I know all about that. Night after night.

It amuses me now when people say that I am telling people they can do anything they want. As if that is going to let people get off without any consequences. Let me tell you, complete freedom has been the most challenging thing I have EVER wrestled with! The enormity of it is quite frankly almost debilitating. At least coming from how I spent all the formative decades of my life.

Literally my entire identity has been stripped. Even my purpose for being. Life was so easy when I had rules. So simple. For the most part. I could put people in boxes. I could lean towards making quick judgements. Not anymore! Not at all! Now I don’t even know who I am. And I don’t know who everyone else is. And I don’t even know that much about who God is.

Devastating. And yet the most beautiful experience at the same time. At least this road only leads to increased well-being and peace. Endless peace. But, the hell. So much hell. In the way there. So much. Basically everything I thought I knew, everything I did, everything. Absolutely overwhelming almost all the time.

I’m the kind that wants to face it, all things considered. I’d rather have the truth. Even if it feels like it will nearly kill me. But I’d rather that than lies. So I’m happy to be here. Even with all the pain and my shattered heart. But I understand now why God doesn’t just strip away everything we’ve ever known all at once. It would be too much.

I can’t say I’m pleased with where I am in the process. Intellectually I imagine all this is necessary and there will be a time that I can appreciate it more. And feel more hopeful. But right now, I have been in the thick of it for some time and it feels more like falling than flying. I think it is for that reason that Paul had to go away for a few years before he could come back and really maybe even be with people again. That’s how I have been feeling for much longer than I ever anticipated. I thought this was simply a theological intellectual change. But no, it has impacted what feels like every cell in my body and every molecule in my experience of the universe. Absolutely overwhelming.

I keep wanting to arrive. To get a break. To rest on some island to recharge. As I feel like I’ve been traversing an incredibly vast ocean of what feels like constant changes.

That’s the crux of it. Breaking down every little thing I didn’t even realize I had been trading for truth and real life. I thought I had an identity and a personality. How do you go forward completely new? In a world where people expect you to play certain parts that now feel so foreign to you.

I feel stuck in the inbetween. Yet, I believe God’s heart for me. This can’t be it. I truly believe my healing is available for me. I should say the next iteration of healing. As the layers are so deep. And the surgeon so precise.

I need to stop. I need to surrender my agenda. All those things I wanted. And thought I needed. Not that I have to lie to myself like before. I now know God welcomes my honesty. And I have been so angry, so frustrated, so sad, so full of desire for relief. For some semblance of comfort. There are moments, but they seem like just enough to get me going again. So I guess there is more to this journey. More to see. More to be.

I am totally at peace with acknowledging that I feel like I know less than I ever thought I did before. So ironic. The awakening where I lost all that I thought everything was happened at the height of my pursuit for control – when I was obsessed with graduating with a 4.0 GPA in college. I put so much pressure on myself to reach that milestone. And I laugh at it now. So ridiculous. An achievement, sure. But how I wish I had all the other answers to what seems to matter so much more.

And I’m not even sure that’s the point anymore. I see people who seem to not give these things a second thought. I see them really living. That verse or verses where it says for all their studying they pretty much still don’t get it. That was me 1,000%.

There were so many pivotal moments. But I remember realizing my ex-girlfriend with the devil tattoo is still to this day one of the best people I’ve ever known. Or the time when I let it slip that I was sleeping on my couch cushions on the floor of a new apartment because my old one flooded – and the only people who nearly insisted I come stay at their homes were people that didn’t go to church. People the church would look down on and try to badger with guilt to become the sons of satan they don’t even realize they can many times be. Even with the best intentions. I know. I was there at the front. Waving all the proverbial flags. Even, EVEN, towards those people who offered for me to come stay at their houses!!!!!! They forgave me and blessed me way befote it took me painfully long to see it. Good God.

I hope my audacity will be channeled to spreading what I now consider to be much better. I pray that. God, please help me stop hurting people. I meant well, but I was so wrong. That is hell. That is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Realizing that you hurt people that you thought you were loving. Realizing that you may not have the time and/or opportunity to ever make things right with people you loved and hurt. Realizing the years that were stolen from you by this dogma that was preached at you from before you ever breathed oxygen outside the womb. That is pain. That is hell that continues to burn. Those flames seemingly insidiously get hotter the more clarity you allow yourself to see. Realizing you can’t go back, that you have to live with the choices you made in your ignorance – that is HELL.

And yet only still for my healing. This pain turns me around. It helps me make decisions. All of it. Hopefully for better tomorrows. It hurts to hope for healed relationships day after day. I wrestle with how much of that my heart and health in many respects can endure. But even if I must move on without them, I can choose differently with the new people I meet.

How much of this is me? Is us? Is you? What if there is no master plan? Sometimes I miss the days where I was so damn black and white. There was an immature sincerity that was much more digestible in that severe simplicity.

This is what fear does to you. To me. To us. It calls for a base survival brain. Versus the truth of the galaxy of amazing and terrifying possibilities that I so flippantly previously did not have reason to entertain.

So yeah, tread lightly my friend. This freedom business certainly feels like handing a pistol to a toddler. I can’t do it on my own. And of course, that’s the point all along. Relationship. Realizing I was and am never alone. Realizing Love is always there. Holding me as I struggle to take whatever is the next step. Overjoyed at even my wrestling. At all the tries I mistake as failure. Cheering me on. Even when I get frustrated and express myself accordingly.

Beauty is such a fantastic responsibility. I feel so honored and humbled at the same time. Feeling so loved and scared out of my mind.

I would have to say I remain in a state of awe. We are the holy ground; each other. I am Jesus to you and likewise. How can I possibly do that on my own? I can’t; that much is obvious by the current state of distress many of us sense as what feels like collectively we act as if we are disconnected from our Creator.

I am NOT advocating a return to what killed us before. That was toxic. But Good still remains. Yes, please Holy Spirit, we will have some more. Much more. Please, God, get us all through this. To the other side. To whatever is next. To what is better than what we try to do without Trinity.

I need to ask more. Ask where I am stuck. Ask what the healing is. Listen. And look for Love. Ask to see. Ask to hear.

I am welcome. I do not have to do anything on my own. It doesn’t have to depend on me.

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