Vacation

https://youtu.be/R8OfsUecLzw

Some people spend a lot of their time earning enough money to run away from a life they have built for themselves. What if it is possible to spend time building a life we love? That we’re happy to be at home in? That we aren’t always dreaming about leaving, running away from, and being somewhere else?

How often do you go sit in the church pews? To listen to how much God believes in you? Or how lucky you are that a god hasn’t killed you because of all your missteps and desires?

What if all those desires aren’t something to moralize? What if they keep surfacing as guides in service to your healing? Not to necessarily be followed blindly, but at least seriously considered. Valued for what information they provide. If you dare to take an honest look.

What could they be telling you about yourself? About those around you?

And the million dollar question, what if there actually IS better out there for you? What if God wants more for you than you’ve tried so hard to settle for? What if that is one of the major themes passed down through scriptures?

What if we were not loved enough by those that could have done better? What if we didn’t even realize how bad we had it? How much better it could be? When we no longer keep drowning ourselves in fear-obsessed indoctrination.

Doesn’t your heart yearn? Doesn’t it know better?

I believe in a good God. A better God than the one I was taught about ad nauseam for years, decades.

Sarah Nyhan’s Texas

I find myself frequently sharing information with people about what to do and where to go in Texas. Specifically in San Antonio. So I am in the process of creating a guide to my favorite places.

It is a work in progress. I am slowly creating pages for each genre. Click HERE for the main landing page. There are also additional places listed on this Google Map I was previously using to keep track of my recommendations.

Please feel free to comment and offer up your own recommendations. Please double-check the information about these places before venturing out.

Any Wonder

What on earth would ever lead me to believe that God, my Father, would provide for me? What example could I possibly look to for any hope in that respect?

No wonder I picture a god lounging up in heaven, kicked back, eating grapes. Unbothered by any wrath his negligence may have me walking through. Doling out blessings to others, but not to me. Whoever will pay him lip service. 

I was never the kind to suck dick or kiss ass in order to get something. At least I can say that. But more importantly, that also goes back to God. I find myself feeling resentful. Real talk. Not wanting to approach. Dreading that there will be something I’ll have to do to get whatever He has to give me. Also learned that from others.

So I hang back. Dreading. Fear. This fucked up theology from the popularized “church”. Just like they told the people of old. That bad things will happen to you if you don’t “follow god”. And then if you take that as seriously as it implies, you spend all your damn time on edge. Checking, double-checking. Testing. Worried. What if you missed something? 

Was that Job’s mentality? Is that the point of that story? The real beginning of the Bible? That if we just get the formula right, then we’re good, right? Then god will open up his coffers and we can actually enjoy life?

I look to the people that still attend the church I used to go to. I don’t see them enjoying life at all. Most of the examples I can think of. There is this dread and fear hanging over them. I used to be there. This shell of a person. So focused on every thought and behavior. So “sin”-conscious. Completely consumed. 

We used watered-down words like “discernment” or “testing the spirits”. But it was all based on fear. Power and control. Of life, situations, and even God.

And let me be clear, this was taught from the very top. Prolifically. Obsessed.

Ridiculous. But I was there also. And I understand how it happens. 

But hey, why don’t you start telling me about Jesus? Maybe teach me about Jesus? Maybe you could fathom a universe where God could be bigger than my weaknesses, my failures, and the shitty examples that filtered down into me before I even had a chance to think for myself?

Oh, but that’s right – you had shitty examples too. No wonder my healing journey led me to them. As long as I wanted to play that game.

What if this whole time Spirit has been driving me to the point where I can say no to God without fear? What if that has been the real point all this time? All these years? Decades. 

What if the whole point of all of this has been to get me to the point where I feel confident and comfortable with deciding what I want to do and going forward without fear? Knowing that either way, I am fully Loved and I will always be fully Loved. Knowing that God is happy with me. That God wants to see me create. 

What if you had grown adult children that came back to you every five minutes to ask for your approval on every decision they made? Think about how that would look practically?

“Dad, should I pick the blue color or the black color? Dad, should I eat chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Dad, are you going to be mad at me if I choose to listen to this over that?”

Can you imagine? Your adult child would have to be calling you every other second. Would you get tired of it? What would you tell them?

Maybe, “I love you, child. I will always love you. I am more interested in seeing what you want. I want you to be free to create the life you want. I trust you. I’m here to help you if anything doesn’t work out. And even when it does. But, go; feel free. You have my blessing.”

When ego isn’t driving.

So, I finally stopped. I took a big risk. Monumental. I told God “no”. And I told God exactly what I wanted. And I am going for what I want. Now without fear. Now confident that God fully Loves me no matter what. Free to finally enjoy this life.

Exposed

I used to base my decisions almost exclusively on what I thought God wanted. Until…

Sometimes I think God plays “devil’s advocate” to get us to the end of ourselves. Or maybe more specifically the end of our thinking that can be less than helpful. This is what I believe was happening when Jesus told the rich young ruler to give up all his money to the poor and follow Jesus.

All to say, having been raised in a religious community my whole life, this has been one of the most difficult things to break out of. So ingrained. I call it witchcraft now. When you try to figure out the “spell” or the “potion” to try to basically twist God’s arm to do your bidding. A formula. Well-intentioned most likely.

Back and forth. This way and that. Something would work. And then nothing would work. Why?!

I think the answer was in the madness. On purpose. So the frustration would drive me to the freedom I didn’t even know I needed.

Why do I keep posting playlists of songs recently? Because I want to! I finally found something of me that always existed apart from religion. My love for music.

I remember that girl. The one who used to go to CD stores and flip through the cases. The old way. Where you went to the front and listened on the stereo before purchasing. Where new music was much harder to come by. You actually had to immerse yourself in a scene. Work for it.

I remembered just the other day another thing that existed for me outside of religion: rollerblading. Oh my gosh, I used to love rollerblading. Jumping off things. Going so fast. Getting the perfect surface. Roller hockey even.

You might not get it. You might not understand. But I am becoming a person again. Finding myself. After basically being in a cult for decades. I didn’t even realize it.

My personality was lost. There were several good things to come out of those experiences, but I lost who I was during that time. It has taken me so long to now understand that religion isn’t a personality. It isn’t a person. I am unique. And I lost that when all I thought about was what God wanted.

These last few years have been so frustratingly silent. I cannot explain how irritated I’ve been. At my wits end. Because I wanted and didn’t feel like I was receiving any direction.

Maybe I reached for straws. Maybe I wanted to see and hear something. Anything.

Silence. Just this one question in response to everything, “What do you want?”

I feel like an elementary school child. Given the keys to the mansion. To a billion dollars and a private island. Do whatever you want.

First I do nothing. Then everything. Then swinging wildly back and forth between the two until I find a rhythm. Find a groove. Find what works for me. Fighting fear the whole way.

One time. One time things got so bad when I was working for an incorporated religious institution, that I found a crumb of self-worth, of valuing myself. And I left. I walked out.

I remember that night so vividly. Literally dancing in an empty room. Freedom! I could breathe. Finally.

But it was too overwhelming. The next day I had to stand up for myself. And I did. But then felt immediately suicidal. (Don’t worry, this was over seven years ago.)

All to say that was one extreme. And the other looks like doing ONLY what I feel like doing. What I really want. But then being allowed to fall in that also. Why, God?

To show me. To grow me. To help me get where I’ve actually prayed to be. Even if I find myself fighting the process for what feels like every step of the way.

This is not some arbitrary theological discussion. Not just intellectual belly-gazing. This is everything. Anything. Whatever is done or could be.

Now I think I see. When you ask yourself what you want, you are exposed. You find out so much. You discover what is important to you. You start to see what really motivates you. You start to understand that sometimes you’re not the person you want to be. Not living the life you want to live. You’re reintroduced to yourself. You find yourself. For better hopefully more than worse. Even if the changes you decide to make won’t instantaneously yield a completely comfortable life.

You better get used to discomfort if you want to do this. You better acquaint yourself with navigating failure. But even that is answered prayers. I learn to love and forgive others, to have compassion, when I finally stop thinking those going through hard times are just lacking in religiosity.

I was a pompous ass before. Thinking I was above everyone because of all my religiosity. Always having simplistic bullshit answers for anything. Then I think God let me get my feet kicked out from under me. Sat my ass on the ground. If I’m so smart, then just snap out of it. Right? Just pick myself up and get back on “top”. Right?

Reality. A dish sometimes served best super cold. Haha. I’m grateful as much as it has absolutely sucked. I’m not the same me as I was several years ago. The old “off with their heads” bag. I’m better for it, but damn this was a big bitter pill to swallow.

Things aren’t binary. But God gets to the heart. To the finest points of healing. To make us better. Ultimately for ourselves in the long run. Of course along with all the others.

We pray for these things. Remember that. But also remember that above all you are loved. So much. Just as you are.

And fire purifies. What is being burned off is only what can be left behind. The best you. The one you forgot about. The one you will love, is waiting on the other side. Of course it’s a journey. But better days are ahead if you commit and see this process through. If you can let go of the means to the end. Trust God’s heart for you and lean in.