Sunday, July 10, 2011

Faith After Crisis: Staying In It For the Long Haul

In crisis faith seems to come easiest, mostly because it comes out of necessity.  For me, in the darkest moments in my life, without faith I would have drowned in fear and sadness.  In those moments God’s voice was clear and sharp, and gave me hope that there was more beyond the bottom.

In my early years following the bottom, where I was re-initiating my relationship with God in an explorative and intentional way, I found myself aching for crisis to “feel” God in the way I had when life was at its worst.  It seemed my intimate connection with the divine had been most intimate when life was most painful.  In times of calm it was, well, just a lot more work.  Then again, in times of calm, I had a lot more internal resources at my disposal to do that work.  I was left in a crux of frustration and I could have gone one of two ways.

When I was a child I thought working at it was just too hard and my frustration led me to search somewhere else for God-type-magic, somewhere more flashy.  As an adult, having hit the pit of the dark and ugly, having spent 3+ years in the trenches of internal warfare that psychology titles PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), I had a bit more willpower in me.  So, I thought I would work at this inner spiritual intimacy with the same fervor for knowledge and application as I had with my PTSD recovery.  But it was a lot of work.

I wonder how others maintain everyday faith and the routines and regimens necessary to keep the muscles of the inner experience strong enough to connect–in dark times and in light.  I will admit, that even with willpower it is very difficult to maintain for the long haul.  It leaves a person wishing for a crisis every now and then, if only for a short-cut.  Then again life is full of crisis-on-the-brink, and when it comes down to it, they are never a short-cut to anywhere.

I wonder how other people maintain a healthy God-connection in the quietude of everyday life?  I wonder how other people have experienced their faith connections or God experience in times of trial or crisis?

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