God is Water

I wanted to commit suicide. Years ago. Some time in the middle of my eating disorder, my will to recover gave out. I fell into this chasm of hopelessness.

I was wandering the shady paths of my University one more time before attempting to overdose, when I felt a sudden desire to go to church. I headed into the chapel, blissfully empty, and sank to the floor; I didn’t even bother to find a chair. I stared out the windows and asked God for a way out. I told God of my plans and explained the dark abyss in my head that felt like it was poisoning all the good in me.

As a sat there and poured my heart out I started to feel a strength building within me. A stubborn insistence that I did in fact have hope. I decided that suicide was an extreme reaction to the evil in my head. Instead of death, I chose cutting myself as a release of emotions.

Resolutely I marched back to my college dorm room and locked the door. I found my razor and stepped out of my pants. I stared at my pale legs. At the thighs I hated so much. At the physical representation of what I loathed: me. I took the razor and cut three straight lines down my thighs. I felt nothing. But I saw the blood and froze.

My mind started to race. This was not me. I was not someone who cut herself. I was not someone who gave up. I was not, I was not, I was not!

It was all a little irrational, but it woke something dormant inside me. I went back to the therapy sessions I had walked out of weeks ago. I called my mother and admitted everything. I handed my razor to a good friend of mine, who has stuck by me through many awful phases.

I did cut myself a few more times in the process of getting better. It was never deep and infrequent. It just wasn’t the method of self harm for me (the self-starvation of anorexia took longer to get over). But I truly believe God saved me that day by giving me the option to cut instead of overdose. God led me down a path that led me back towards a part of me I had lost ages ago. The part that felt I deserved to live, I deserved to become better mentally.

God alone did not save me. Nor is God always the answer to depression and mental illnesses. But for me, God assisted in my recovery, in part by giving me wonderful therapists, doctors, and nutritionists.

God replaced my self-esteem while it was missing. God has also been my partner when I live alone. When I feel sad, God gives me support. When I feel grief, God reminds me of all the joy. God is like water, God fills the gaps in my life.

Maybe that’s why more people go to church in times of crises and stress. When life is good, you have what you need, God has provided you with concrete things. But when it all “goes to hell in a hand basket,” we are given what we need through God’s presence.

I don’t necessarily understand or agree with the doctrine behind the Trinity but I think I can agree with its sentiment: God is more than a single entity. God is everything we lack in our lives. God can be in our parental figures (parent), in our human friends and family (son), and in our very atoms (spirit).

A Witness to the Word

My issues with the Bible are deep and I’ve been ignoring it in order to question other parts of my faith. But now I’ve come full circle. If I want to define myself as Christian I should probably see the Bible as my sacred center point. It is, for Christians, holy scripture.

However, it’s hard to see it as the be all and end all of God’s word in the modern world. We know it was written over many hundreds of years, by men. It wasn’t even solidified until certain men came together to codify it, task force style (I’m paraphrasing history pretty badly here, my apologies to the historians). Remind me why this is God’s word? Remind me how, as a modern female, I can bow down to some pretty harsh passages in the Bible?

My minister got me thinking when he said that for him, the Bible is not God’s word. Jesus is God’s word incarnate while the Bible is the witness to the Word.

This makes sense to me, the Bible is the different ways people over centuries, millennia, have witnessed God in their lives. How to live in God’s light and how to deal with God’s presence. They weren’t perfect and not everything that worked then is applicable now, but a lot of it does. Suddenly, I can see the Bible being a guide post, a place to look for God and for advice.

However, it should not be where we stop looking. What about all the new gospels that are being discovered? Most controversially, the gospel of Judas. I’d also like a few female witnesses, to even out the gender bias. How about all the new experiences of God people are having every day; have had since the Bible was codified?

For me, the Bible should be a diving board to reach deeper depths of understanding and faith. It is a tool, it is not God itself. Let us not build a false idol out of it. Let it be witness to God, to the Word, not God itself.