Confessions of a {maybe} Hippie

November 2, 2017

A few weeks ago, I deleted (and deactivated) Facebook and Instagram off my phone. I didn’t say anything beforehand, but it was something I’d been pondering for a while as I found myself mindlessly scrolling through it without even knowing.

For me, besides the mindless scrolling, it had to do a lot with how I was beginning to feel. Which – as a barely squeaking by in age millennial – is hard to explain. Facebook and social media in general still hold a little scorn for me. It’s “just” Facebook. “Just” words. But then you see the same thing over and over from people you know and love and hold in regard and it eats at you. Especially lately.

You’re a Nazi sympathizer if you don’t speak out. 

You’re not a good Christian if you do.

If you voted for Trump – unfriend me.

If you voted for Hillary – unfriend me.

If you voted for Johnson then you caused Hillary to lose and we hope you die in a hole.

If you really were pro-life you’d love orphans too.

If you were really for women’s rights you’d be pro-choice. 

On and on and on and on and on until I thought – I seriously have like a Level 11 on my anxiety scale over all of this. There’s almost no way to win because no “side” almost ever says, “That’s enough for us! You’ve proven even though we have differences, you’re a decent human being.” Nope. Die in a hole or be on my side – either side. All sides.

For a few days, I sank into a deep spiral of anxiety and depression as I really contemplated so many issues I’ve thought on for years. I was raised as a conservative Christian, with parents who – even as a pastor’s family – gave us a lot of leeway in how we thought and what we chose to do in our lives. I’m forever grateful for that as it has caused me so often to truly fight to find why I believe in things instead of simply going along with it.

But many of the things the church pressed hard on me in youth groups, Christian schools, Bible studies, etc – I’ve begun to struggle with. As funny as it might sound, attending Liberty – a solidly conservative Christian college – has been the catalyst for all of this. Between that and Zimbabwe and my journey of loss – I find myself on the outer edges of the religion I once accepted or rejected (depending on the year) without much thought.

Now I think.

It’s uncomfortable. It’s often very depressing. I feel very lonely and ostracized at times because I feel like some good Christian people have figured out that maybe Diana isn’t…

whew this is hard to write – I paused for a super long time here 

…against gay marriage. Isn’t against a woman’s right to choose. Against being a liberal or thinking being a Democrat means you just want all babies to die and everyone to be happy no matter the cost. Against the dirty word of feminism. Against everything that I was taught was “bad”.

Maybe I struggle with this all because I’ve started to see it with different eyes. This is why for so long now on here, I’ve felt like I can’t write. Or I go for long periods without writing. I feel as though my true thoughts and feelings maybe aren’t ok. And maybe they’re not, but here’s the thing (maybe wait till you read this to leave a comment or email me in all caps horrified) – I know there are rules. I know God means what He says. I know He is loving and forgiving and at the same time demands that we obey.

Yet.

I’m still trying to figure out what that all means in a sinful, broken, sad world. Where I’ve faced a doctor pushing for me to abort my boys and get it over with, and I was terrified of what that meant. Where I stood in front of a girl who self-aborted her own baby boy because of the laws in her country, and I saw the look in her eyes of shock and sadness. Where some of my dearest friends love someone of the same gender and yet we put our view of marriage on a pedestal that almost borders on worship. Where the political party I most identified with comes apart at the seams with corruption and scandal and leadership that is far, far beyond any kind of Godliness or even remotely attached to the Christian faith anymore. In fact, they use it as a cover instead.

So I don’t know. I struggle with it all, because the deeper I go in my studies and the more I try to listen and think, “Well, what would Jesus do?” without also adding in the easy, “Jesus would just love everyone so let’s all turn a blind eye to everything yay!!” Because that’s not it either. I don’t think hardly anything on earth is as black and white as we’d like it to be. Because that would be comfortably reassuring, and we don’t live in that kind of a world.

We aren’t supposed to live in that kind of a faith either.

And there I am. Caught in the middle of my mind. Finding my place and voice in this life.

My dad once told me when I was a teenager that if I’d been born decades earlier, I would have been a hippie. I remember him smiling and yet shaking his head at me because I never could quite conform with any part of the life we had. In good and rather painful ways.

So now I search. Finding that inner hippie again that I have fought so often to force down in return for that good Christian girl pat on the head I so desperately wanted, and yet willing that bit of a wild spirit to become what Jesus wants from me. Wherever that might lead.

31 Comments

  • Ruthie

    November 30, 2017 at 6:09 am

    I feel you. I may be from the other side of your world, but really, it happens here where I am. These are confusing times. I was reminded again of Focussed by Lilias Trotter after reading this post.

  • Jess

    November 15, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    You wrote my heart in this post. Thank you.

  • GreenInOC

    November 6, 2017 at 11:24 am

    I can only imagine how hard this was for you to write, I hope you feel a bit of a weight off of your shoulders! As I read this I kept thinking of one of my favorite documentaries I think you would enjoy, “For the Bible Tells Me So”. There’s no bashing or finger wagging, just a bunch of theologians discussing the historical context of the Bible and how that deeply influences the words written. I can’t recommend it enough!

  • Megan @ tales from the salle de classe

    November 5, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I am as much of lefty-liberal, gay, pro-choice atheist as there is to be, and I really appreciate this post. Questioning EVERYTHING is so important, on both ends of the spectrum. Critical thinking is important. What is the sense in believing in something if the answer to WHY you believe that to be true is “I don’t know”? I will never be a religious person but I respect the right to believe what you want to believe – the part that many people like myself have difficulty with is the way so many prominent figures of the religious political right have this tendency to want to ban things they don’t agree with – and then turn around and scream, “Don’t tell me how to live my life!” It just makes no sense to me.

    Glennon Doyle wrote a blog post on gay marriage some years ago (well before her current relationship) that, even as an atheist, I really appreciated. She noted that Jesus commanded that we love our neighbor *as we love ourselves.* And by professing to love our neighbor but in the same breath, denying them the same rights that we enjoy, we have to admit that means that we actually love our neighbor just a little bit less than we love ourselves. And if Christians are going to pick “faith rules” to live by, why not pick ones that require oneself to change, rather than trying to force those around us to change? I thought that was a really beautiful sentiment – use your religion to foster positive change within yourself, and like we tell our kids – don’t worry about what so-and-so over there is doing, worry about yourself.

  • Sarah Carlberg

    November 5, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I loved this. I felt such RELIEF while reading your words. Thank you for sharing.

  • Claire

    November 4, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Diana; very well thought out and very well written. At 61 I too have struggled with these same questions and issues. I grew up in the 60’s & 70’s when abortion was illegal, the racial divide deep, women fighting for a living wage and proving the could be more than the traditional roles. I have followed you since your She Reads Truth Days, I hope your family is well. BTW I had to REMOVE some from my FB and basically sliced my Twitter to sports only. I found it helped my BP if I didn’t see the hate from either side.

  • Joy

    November 3, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Me too.

  • Maribel

    November 3, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    I’ve become much more moderate even a liberal in some respects in recent years. While I still love the Lord very much, I don’t go to church any longer. The hypocrisy was something I just couldn’t bear anymore. I question myself a lot but the bottom line is I feel peace about being more accepting. Everyone has struggles. Who are we to dictate an agenda when we are all just trying to be happy and find our own peace. My God is loving. I refuse to believe in the condemnation and the judgment. Thank you for expressing what so many of us feel.

  • Diane

    November 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    You are definitely not alone. I grew up in a religious Catholic family and I’m the rebel. I’ve left the church I grew up in, due to my own inability to see things as black or white. I’m not capable of believing everything I was taught, just because the church says it is so. I cannot condemn others, based on the rules of the church. I just can’t. I have to follow my own conscience, what I know in my heart to be true. It’s hard, in both my family, my friendships, and my community. I stay quiet in FB about so many things, because I’m not up to fighting those battles. Be proud of yourself for standing up for what you believe in.

  • Thea Woodnorth

    November 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Ah, this is so good…you’ve put words into a lot of what I have felt and experienced over the last decade or so too. “I don’t think hardly anything on earth is a black and white as we’d like it to be. Because that would be comfortably reassuring, and we don’t live in that kind of a world.” From another counselor in training, thanks for this post.

  • Chelsea

    November 3, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    YOU DONT KNOW HOW LONG I HAVE WAITED FOR A POPULAR CHRISTIAN BLOGGER TO ADMIT THIS. You don’t know how MANY have waited for someone in that stratosphere to echo the exact sentiments they had. I had this exact convo with my best friend a week ago. So many are right where you are. I have been there for years and only recently have just thrown up my hands and said “hey, this is who I am. I embrace it. I am a pro-choice, marriage equality supporting left leaning woman and I can still love God, attend my church, seek His word, and not have to feel conflicted about it at all”. No shame in knowing your own heart. Thanks for being brave enough to post this. It gives me hope. I am sure you’ll receive backlash because that’s what happens when you express views that don’t conform but please hold your head high and know that SO many women are applauding you and that you are the voice we needed.

  • Adrienne

    November 3, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Oh, my dearest, I hear you. I went through a very similar process in my late 20s and early 30s and it was agony. I came out on the other side a progressive Christian with my faith very much intact and my relationship with Jesus more intimate and life-giving than I’d ever imagined was possible. Thankfully, God can totally handle all of our anger, doubt, worry, and questions, even if our churches often can’t.

    If you ever want a chat or if you want book recommendations, just say the word. I’ll pray that God pours love and light over you, and that you arrive at a new and deeper faith no matter what.

    Remember that positions, opinions, theology, hermeneutics and all the rest are at the outer edges of our life with God. The center of faith is the deep dive into the mysteries of the divine, where we don’t try to understand but simply bathe in God’s majesty, where we know we are soaked in God’s love in our very DNA. Whatever anyone may tell you, your quest is holy and God will bear you faithfully through it.

  • KAT Blank

    November 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

    It’s so disheartening to me, raised Lutheran in a rural community, that being a “Christian” comes with the connotations that you must be against all the things you listed or that you must be conservative. Jesus was a radical for his time! I have fallen away from the church for many reasons–what I see as hypocrisy, judgment, and as you say the “rules” that don’t fit my experience of life. My son goes go a daycare staffed primarily by Muslims. They are some of the best human beings I have ever known and I trust them with my son’s life. My beloved sister recently married the woman we knew forever that she was with. She is attending seminary to become a Lutheran pastor. Am I to believe she is less worthy of God’s love? This world needs acceptance and love. It needs thoughtful services for women’s health care AND for the children who are born in less than ideal circumstances. When I stand back and look at “both sides,” the liberals seem to the be the ones falling on the side of that. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Paulina

    November 3, 2017 at 9:27 am

    You are most definitely not alone. My heart has been yearning for someone to talk about this with. As you say everybody seems so sure that black or white is all there is, yet (after losing our son) I find myself in the gray just wondering if I can call myself a Christian anymore. Being accused of leaving God out of the equation of my life when all I want is to figure out exactly what I believe in and why. It’s so overwhelming at times I just give up on it all. My husband says I’m a hippie and I deny it as well because, as you said, good Christian girl. It is very lonely and depressing at times. Thanks for being brave and sharing this. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

  • Erin

    November 3, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Oh how I get this. It’s even harder to be aware of the gray of the world when the black and the white are so sure that’s all that exists. You are not alone in your journey. I think on this all the time. Good for you for getting Facebook and Instagram out of your conscience as they rarely help. I’ve been cutting back on how often I use them and wish I could just get rid of the one altogether, but i need it for my job.

  • Ashlee

    November 3, 2017 at 8:07 am

    I think it’s a good place you’re in…finding out for yourself what is true…having a reason for why you believe what you believe. I think the world is coming to an end and the “church” is falling away…hence all of the corruption and chaos. I think it’s hard not to get pulled away by those unanswered questions (that are indeed very hard to get past) and corruption and intolerance in the world today. And I think it’s okay to go through all of these things with the Lord in light of who Jesus is and how He loves us with a perfect and sacrificial love. And we can know that even in a broken, sinful world, Jesus is still perfect and holy and without sin.

    I read this devotional yesterday and it made me think of how you said God demands we obey. I’ll leave that here and just say that I’m praying for you…to find peace and rest in your soul 😊

    If you love Me, keep My commandments. —John 14:15
    Our Lord never insists on obedience. He stresses very definitely what we ought to do, but He never forces us to do it. We have to obey Him out of a oneness of spirit with Him. That is why whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an “If,” meaning, “You do not need to do this unless you desire to do so.” “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Luke 9:23). In other words, “To be My disciple, let him give up his right to himself to Me.” Our Lord is not talking about our eternal position, but about our being of value to Him in this life here and now. That is why He sounds so stern (see Luke 14:26). Never try to make sense from these words by separating them from the One who spoke them.

    The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny.

    -from Oswald Chambers “my utmost for his highest” Nov 3rd

  • Susi

    November 3, 2017 at 7:24 am

    This is truly a thoughtful and thought-provoking post and I applaud your honesty. There need to be more people like you who don’t just take things on blind faith and people who say, I agree to disagree. xo

    1. Karen

      November 3, 2017 at 8:02 am

      This “baby boomer” experiences similar struggles. Thank you for your honesty. I’m grateful that, though our friends may reject our questions & uncertainty, God never does. So, I continue to question, because you’re right…it’s a sinful, broken, sad world. I keep questioning & keep hoping for the better days to come. Blessings to you & your family!

  • Erin (thismommywrites)

    November 3, 2017 at 7:21 am

    It is so hard to put ourselves out there…such mixed messages of “be yourself!” but “be like everyone else like you”. I commend you for standing on your own two feet no matter how you were raised and for being brave to put those feelings and words out there- because I know people can be so cruel behind their computer screen. Why I love reading your blog will always remain the same …your honesty and realness and beautiful way of putting into words what so many of us are feeling. How lucky your girls are to have such a strong mama!!! (PS I deactivated Facebook last November before elections, I couldn’t take it…then I reopened a new account to follow organizations, hobbies and blogs(like you) that bring me joy. No friends allowed- LOL. It decreased my anger, depression and anxiety and I still get to be a part of the things I love.) Anyway thank you for this wonderful post and I hope you are feeling good about hitting “publish”!

  • Arie

    November 3, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Wow! It’s like you read my thoughts and put them on paper too! I adore this post and I love your heart Diana ❤️

  • Stephanie

    November 3, 2017 at 6:55 am

    I think what we forgot in all this craziness of our country today is that we don’t HAVE to identify with ANYTHING. We are all individuals who can think, research, read, explore, feel, and grapple with issues on our own. I don’t choose to affiliate with any party, but rather I stand up (sometimes loudly) for issues that are important to me. If that makes another person want to put me into a box, that is perfectly fine. I don’t have to own that box. I think the more people that stand up and say “I can think for myself, thank you”, the more eclectically beautiful and strong this nation will become.

  • Sol W. Soto

    November 3, 2017 at 6:39 am

    WWJD — no blind eyes— let us remember he ministered to all and was also the guy overturning the money makers tables. This was a powerful post. I see you. I hear you.

  • Megan

    November 3, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Yes to all of this 🙌🏼 Thank you for sharing. I often feel like if I wasn’t raised to go to church every Sunday that I would honestly stop going. I see why church attendance is on the decline. I get so tired of all the hypocrisy. And it seems so overwhelming to stay and help be a change. I appreciate your thoughts!

  • Kate

    November 3, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Best post you have ever written. I have never commented before, by the way.

  • areasonableadventurer

    November 3, 2017 at 6:08 am

    You wrote much of what I have been feeling. I was not a pastor’s kid but was raised rather conservatively in the church. My father and I are often at odds because I cannot swallow whole the theology thrown my way from the pulpit. Not much is black and white, as you say, and our Jesus certainly wasn’t. I, too, am a too-old-to-actually-be-millennial, and at heart, a wild child. Praying for you, fellow traveler and writer. I have been reading your blog for some time because I was looking for an insider scoop on how best to walk with my mama friends who lost babies. Keep writing and sharing some good with the world. Bless you.

  • Olivia

    November 3, 2017 at 5:21 am

    I’ve been a silent reader for a while, but can’t go without commenting on this post—I LOVE THIS. I love your honesty and openness and pure vulnerability here. And I 100% identify with it. My husband is in seminary, feels called to pastoral leadership, and we feel & think very similarly to you on quite a few (if not all) of the controversial points you mentioned. In the Deep South, it’s unheard of…church leadership is going to be an exciting and bumpy and scary road for us. It’s so encouraging to not only know that other people are saying the same things, but that they’re also willing to say them out loud. Thank you for writing, this and everything, and for me very shying away from pure honesty!

  • Carole Hanbury

    November 3, 2017 at 2:10 am

    Great post! If we could all just have real conversations and remember that we’re all humans with lives and stories that we’ve survived and thrived in, maybe them we could all be a little kinder. As I live and learn I’ve seen that despite our differences in upbringing, politics, race or religion we are all very similar.

  • Angie O

    November 3, 2017 at 12:45 am

    I am so impressed and proud of you right now. I don’t mean for that to sound condescending, but that I am in awe of your courage. It takes someone very brave and very honest to really deeply reconsider their beliefs when our foundations are such a big part of how we see the world. Regardless of religion or party or philosophy, I really respect and honour that decision.

  • ChrisB

    November 2, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    I understand and feel a lot of the same way. It’s a struggle to navigate. It’s a sad world right now. So much hate. Know you are not alone. You are not wrong in how you are feeling. Thanks for putting it into words. That was very brave. A fellow hippie.

  • Sarah

    November 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    It feels like you wrote out everything that has has been milling around in my heart and mind recently… I was raised similarly to you, and I never really doubted or questioned things. And then after the loss of my son I’ve felt like nothing is black and white anymore. It’s been unnerving but yet so important.

  • Val Keehn

    November 2, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    You just put into words, what I haven’t been able to to articulate. From one Jesus lovin’ hippie to another, THANK YOU💛

{Thoughts}

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