Thursday, May 2, 2013

I joke sometimes about how I'm going through a quarter-life crisis (let's be honest -- probably a third-life crisis!), but I really feel like I am. When I look back at very early posts on this blog, I barely recognize myself. I used to be so sure of everything... myself, my place in the world, my faith. Now? I question everything. (Incidentally, "Question Everything" is the name of our new small group at HBC. It's perfect for me!) Although it's an exhausting place to be, in some ways the ground feels more solid than all the sureness of my past. I feel more real, whole, and honest than I have in a long time.

My friend Ashley posted this picture on Instagram this morning, and it really spoke to me. In some ways our time in Louisville has felt like chains. I've felt bound by our hyper-conservative surroundings and like I haven't had the freedom to be myself. But in the past year or so I've found the courage to be open about my journey and the ability to be true to myself, and I've felt an honest life begin to peek out around the corners of the gates. I may not be sure of who I am or where I'm headed, but the beauty of this freedom is at times staggering, even beneath the turmoil.

All that said, however, it hasn't been easy. As friends have moved away and I've found myself a minority in our "truth defending" seminary culture (how about "truth seeking" instead?), it's been a lonely time of life. I've found myself battling depression. It feels so strange to type that, but it's true. My religion held me together for a long time. Without it -- or with its evolving, perhaps -- it's been a struggle to "find myself" and figure out who I am. And although I have an incredibly supportive husband and a treasured few friends who "get it," I've been on a somewhat solitary quest for happiness and joy in the unsure life I've found myself leading.

Even as I type this I can feel my old self pointing out the emptiness of my words. I can hear well-intentioned friends telling me that God is what I'm missing, and that on "Christ the solid rock I [should] stand; all other ground is sinking sand." I'm not abandoning faith by any means. But I am open to its redefinition. I know that may make many people uncomfortable. To be honest, it kind of makes me uncomfortable! But it's real & and worth the cost.

In terms of happiness, my dear friend Kari brought up a great point on the phone the other night. She referred to her workplace training involving countermeasures & encouraged me to make a list of "low cost, high impact" changes I could make in my life. That is, what are some changes that have the potential to provide happiness in my life -- or even a change of pace -- without causing a dramatic uproar? For instance, moving to California seems like it would make me happy... but that's a pretty high cost. A puppy, however? A high financial cost, perhaps, but the emotional support and delight Lucy has provided has been immeasurable.

Here are a few things I've been thinking about:

--Cutting my bangs. I've always wanted to, but I've always been afraid! They'll grow back, right?
--Buying a new dining-room table. This one probably seems silly, but I hate our table, and it's the first thing I see when I walk in our apartment. Being surrounded by beauty is important to me, so maybe this could be a change worth its financial cost.
--Pursuing design in some way -- perhaps learning photoshop or illustrator and beginning to design my own prints/stationery. This has been a long time desire of mine, but I've always made it seem to out of reach. I think this one is important, but it also requires the most work.

So these are some of the things going on with me right now. With the demise of Google Reader in the near future, I've been in a blogging funk -- both reading and writing. But this creative outlet has always been a pleasure of mine, so I think it's worth the time investment. Also, I'm up at 5 a.m. feeling terrible (allergies? cold? who knows), so what else do I have to do? :)

If you're reading this, chances are my life has been enriched by you in some way, and I'm thankful for the chance to share bits of my story in this little space. Even if you don't agree with me or feel you can't support my decisions or recent path in life, your support of me as a person means more than you know.


Brent and Abigail said...

I lOve you and find your posts very honest and encouraging. I think it's good to question your faith - how else do you really know what you believe. I'd write more but the baby is waking up :) but buy a new dining table. I'm finding that those things I don't regret and it would make you smile whenever you walk in the door

Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley said...

Love you, bestie.

*kirstin* said...

I'm waiting for pictures of Beth with bangs. :) I've missed your frequent blog posts (says the friends who can't seem to write more than twice a year).

Kari said...

Let's talk about which of these we are actually going to start doing. Bangs soon??? :)

April said...

Hi Beth! I was catching up on your blog this morning and really appreciate this above post. I respect your honesty, and willingness to be so vulnerable with everything you're wrestling with. I wish there wasn't such a stigma around Christians struggling through these same issues you are, and that more people would be open to engaging. Anyway, just wanted to encourage you, and let you know that I'm thinking of you. And, I think you should spring for the table! The ones you linked to look beautiful, and I agree, it's important to be surrounded by beauty :)

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