I had a long chat with a dear friend of my the other day. We talked about the complexities of life and the wrestling of the soul in the dark night of faith. We talked about religion and the things we detest about it. We discussed parenting and motherhood. We often do this. It is refreshing to have someone to be completely real with and know that after you have said and done all that you have to say and do, that person will still be there by your side. That is what friends do for each other.
My friend is beta-reading my soon to be released book, Forgiving God: When God Says He’s Sorry. She has had many helpful comments about the book. The most encouraging ones come in the form of her own triumphs due to the encouragement my book has brought her. She says it’s like being able to sit and have those real-life chats with me whenever she wants, even when i’m not there. That warms my heart. That is after all part of the reason i wrote the book.
I wanted people to know that being real and living a transparent life in this world does not make you weak. It makes you honest. We all put our best foot forward on social media, even in social circles. We like others to think we are smart, strong, successful, and even at times prosperous. No one wants to come across as unintelligent, weak, broke, or down on our luck. We want people to see us in our strengths and celebrate our accomplishments. Unfortunately, all this does is create a false identity which we must always strive to keep up with until one day, exhausted, we collapse under the weight of a fake world we never actually lived in.
No, being real doesn’t mean people will look at you and scoff. Certainly, there will be scoffers. And in reality, there are people who have their lives together, who do not struggle with anything and they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and go on with life even when things are tough. Good for them. But i am not talking about them. I am talking about the rest of us who are normal and don’t always have it all together. Those ones, they will not scoff. In fact, to those ones – the normal ones- you will be an encouragement.
My friend shared on facebook a few weeks ago her wrestling match in the valley of doubt. How she wasn’t sure about all things “God”. There were some, i’m sure, who did not approve of her open display of anger, and frustration with religion. There were some, however, that were very encouraged to know that they are not alone as they too wrestle with the same exact things. Everyone has a dark night of faith at some point in their life. We each have to decide for ourselves what we believe and what will determine the course of our future.
I talk about this in my book Forgiving God. It is about my dark night of faith. It is about a constant wrestle that wore me down and caused me to rethink religion, faith, and all things spiritual. I am nervous about releasing the book to the general public as i worry about the people who are wearing their “big girl panties” and pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. What will they say? Am i really as weak as they will determine i am because i couldn’t wear “big girl panties”? Am i really so broken because i didn’t pull myself up by my bootstraps? I press on anyway.
If my sweet, patient, strong, and apparently, exceptionally brave friend can share her struggle on facebook then perhaps i can open the pages of my heart and my history and share with you what i wrestled with, and what i discovered in the wrestling. My book will be released soon and when it hits the bookshelves of stores and gets listed on electronic shops i’m sure my pulse will quicken. Excitement about a dream being fulfilled will muddle up with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. But it must happen.
The book must go to print. The book release and signing parties must commence. The story must go out. Why? Because the world needs to know that not all strong, patient, brave people were always that way. The world needs to know that even in the wrestling of a dark night of faith, that gets ugly and even violent, you’re still beautiful. You are still worth something. You are simply the lily frozen beneath the earth awaiting the end of winters cold grip so you can emerge and become the beautiful flower you were meant to be.
I hope you read my book, of course. I hope that you get lost in the pages and emerge like a newly formed butterfly from its cocoon, ready to soar. I believe even the bootstrap puller uppers could find something of worth in my transparency if they look hard enough. Most of all. I hope that you can find the courage to be real. You don’t have to write a book or make a long facebook post. You don’t even have to talk to anyone or make some sort of weird announcement. You just have to live life. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. I like to tell my kids don’t be upset when you’re wrong, it just means you’re getting ready to learn something new. Who doesn’t love learning new things?