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.
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.