In My Words: Turning My Back from Turning My Back on God (Part 2)

I’ve found that when I hope to encourage others, God often prompts me to share my less-than shining moments.

This is one of those times. On Monday, I shared the circumstances that cause my faith to founder — and the first mistake I made along my way to doubt: I lost sight of the truth of who God is.

Welcome to Part 2 of a less-than stellar season in my faith journey. It ain’t pretty, but it’s honest.

***

I made another mistake after we moved to Colorado: I isolated myself from other believers. Have you ever fallen prey to the “I’ll go it alone mentality”? From the moment we crossed the Colorado state line, we had problems. Major problems. I didn’t want to introduce myself to someone and say, “Hi, my name is Beth and my life is a mess.” So I went the “I’m okay” route, pretending life was fine.

I taught women’s Bible study — for a while. I attended church — for a while. My prayers became litanies of “What now?” complaints and cries for help that dwindled into “Oh never mind, God, you’re not listening anyway.”

And then I stopped praying altogether.

My closeness and passion for God were replaced by a heart-numbness. I avoided church, using my husband’s absence and my new baby as excuses.

As Proverbs 16:18 warns, my pride led to my downfall. I didn’t want to disappoint my close friends back in Florida. I wanted to “do them proud” — to prove I could walk all of these situations out in a manner worthy of the Lord. (Colossians 1:10) Ashamed and embarrassed, I stopped calling my girlfriends. If they called me, I kept things light and breezy.

My sin was nothing original. Satan’s lure was as true for me as it was in the Garden of Eden: Is God trustworthy? Just as Eve bit into the fruit, I took the bait and doubted God’s trustworthiness too.

The words the serpent whispered in Eve’s ear — Did God really say? — caused Eve to question God. I listened to the whispered lies of the enemy too: Look at what God’s allowed to happen to you: marital and financial strain, health problems, loneliness, unanswered prayer. If God really loved you, he wouldn’t let all of that happen, would he? 

And I doubted God too.

To Be Continued 

                                                                                                                                                  In Your Words: How has adult peer pressure — either perceived or actual — caused you to make wrong choices?    

When sin is nothing original Click to Tweet  

The danger of self-inflicted adult peer pressure  Click to Tweet

Entire “When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan” blog series archived Click to Tweet

2 bloggers like this post!
Be Sociable, Share!

Related Posts

In Others’ Words: Choosing Sides on Christmas

In Others’ Words: Choosing Sides on Christmas

In Others’ Words: Expecting a Miracle

In Others’ Words: Expecting a Miracle

In Others’ Words: Waiting for Christmas

In Others’ Words: Waiting for Christmas

43 Comments

  1. July 10, 2013, 5:21 am   /  Reply

    “my name is Beth and my life is a mess.” That’s exactly how I introduced myself to a church group after coming out of isolation–word for word, except for the ‘Beth’ part. I didn’t trust anybody, and I was especially suspicious of church people.
    However, there was always a core group of people that I didn’t want to let down. Still is. Could never stay in hiding from them.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:32 pm   /  Reply

      Dave,
      At times, I felt least safe saying “my name is Beth and my life is a mess” within the church.
      Sometimes the problem was mine … and sometimes I was picking up on the “Masks Required Here” virtual rule of some churches. I don’t believe that’s a God-given rule. He didn’t like it when Adam and Eve tried to hide from him in the Garden. he doesn’t want us playing hide-n-seek with each other, either.

  2. July 10, 2013, 6:48 am   /  Reply

    Beth, what I love the most about this series is the sheer honesty of it…and the fact that I believe every single person who reads it can relate. When my husband and I were first married, we moved 300 miles away from our childhood homes and went to college in Ames, Iowa. Not only was I miserable being away from family and friends, but someone very close to me back home said something that made it worse. I told her I was looking for a church for Dave and I to attend for the year and a half we were going to be there. She said: “You don’t want to get involved in a church (keep in mind she’s a believer). It will only make it harder for you to move away.” Sadly, she was talking through her own fear of us not returning to Minnesota. And I somehow saw the logic in her thoughts. So, for a miserable year and a half, I lived in a town with no friends. Thankfully it helped me to cling to my husband, but I look back and wish I had done things much different.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:34 pm   /  Reply

      Gabe:
      Sheer honesty scares me … even though it is one of my most sacred values. But this week’s series is all about God prompting me with “Be honest, Beth. Be real.”
      And me saying, “Really? That honest? Well . . . okay.” Pause. “You realize this is gonna make me look bad, right?” Pause.
      And then I got it: This week is gonna make God look good …

      • Andrea Cox
        July 10, 2013, 4:45 pm   /  Reply

        “This week is gonna make God look good…”
        Beth, I so love that! Every time we fail at something and learn from it, God shines brightly through us. Especially when we share our stories to help others see Him.

        I’m not so sure it makes you look bad, but rather… human. All of us make mistakes. There are going to be times when we don’t measure up. But, how do we react when that happens? What do we choose to do when we realize, “I really goofed”?

        Thanks for sharing your humanness with us in this blog series. It gives us readers permission to share our stories of failure and success too, which is awesome. We need to feel free to share our lives with each other. To grow and learn and support each other in God’s love is one reason we were made.

        Blessings to a wonderful friend,
        Andrea

      • July 10, 2013, 6:35 pm   /  Reply

        I love that Beth. Goosebumps ran up my arms when I read it. I’ve had so many experiences I don’t want to talk about because they make me look bad–I just never stopped to think how good they make God look. And I agree with Andrea–thank you for showing your human failings. It gives all of us the ability to be honest and vulnerable with you. You’re a jewel to me, Beth.

  3. July 10, 2013, 6:49 am   /  Reply

    Oh, pride is a difficult thing, especially for people who are successful at “doing it myself”. It is so hard to depend on someone, even God. Or especially God. But He has a way of bringing us to Himself and it isn’t always pretty. Great post.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:35 pm   /  Reply

      It’s funny how pride can become so comfortable. Actually, that’s a frightening thought.

  4. July 10, 2013, 7:29 am   /  Reply

    Being the people pleaser that I am, adult peer pressure has haunted me my entire adult life. From making poor choices in college, to being uber-worried about saying the wrong thing, I have struggled to move beyond trying to meet people’s expectations and trust that God’s words about me and to me are true. When I’ve tried to meet peoples’ expectations (real and perceived), I’ve always ended up stressed out and living in insecurity. Such a miserable place to exist.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:36 pm   /  Reply

      I talked about this on a radio interview last night: How we talk to our children about avoiding peer pressure, and then we completely overlook how much peer pressure hounds us as adults. We laugh about “keeping up with the Joneses” but it’s not funny. It’s a trap. A wretched trap.

  5. July 10, 2013, 7:34 am   /  Reply

    Thanks again for sharing your heart today, Beth. Looking forward to part three. Yeah, I’ve done the “I’ll go it alone” thing, too. Partly due to my own determination…okay, fine, stubbornness. But yeah, when I’ve tried that in the past, it’s led me down a lonely road…not a place I like or want to be again.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:37 pm   /  Reply

      Melissa:
      Isn’t it funny how we pretty up the word “pride”? Determination — now that’s a good thing, right?
      Nope. Sometimes it’s how we masquerade our pride.

  6. July 10, 2013, 8:22 am   /  Reply

    Yes. Just yes. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’m still there. We’ve moved too many times. I’ve started over in new homes and new towns too many times. My life during my pregnancies was depressing and difficult even though the pregnancies themselves were fine. Financially we’ve been all over the place–up, down, clinging, beyond blessed–it’s another constantly changing aspect in our lives!

    But when I was 17, God led me to a man who shared my faith and my outlook on life. We’ve weathered it all together. Sometimes we slink in our corners–sometimes for far too long!!–but we always come back out of love. Last year I was in an envious, ugly, discouraged, yucky place, but God coaxed me out. He reminded me that tough times and disappointments aren’t ALL He has in store for me. He’s just getting me to a stronger place. God is a good God. I’m so thankful to be one of His.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:38 pm   /  Reply

      Jill,
      Thanks for joining the conversation today — and for sharing honestly about your faith walk with God.
      I love how you and your husband have walked the journey together!

  7. July 10, 2013, 8:31 am   /  Reply

    This post hits close to home, Beth. I’m walking through my own season of doubt now. The only good thing is, I’ve gone from total silence to regularly telling God how much I don’t trust him. How is that possibly good? Well, he already knows and I figure communication of any kind is better than nothing.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:39 pm   /  Reply

      E:
      I love you, friend.
      Keep talking to God. He’s listening. He’s a forever kind of God — he loves your for keeps — the whole “never leave you or forsake you” thing? That’s his trademark.

  8. July 10, 2013, 8:39 am   /  Reply

    Beth, this hard-hitting, life-giving series needs to be permanent and always available. I’m proud of you all over again and every day.

    • July 10, 2013, 10:08 am   /  Reply

      I sure agree with that!

      Beth – this needs to be part of a book.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:40 pm   /  Reply

      Dee:
      Thanks for always encouraging me.
      🙂

  9. July 10, 2013, 8:41 am   /  Reply

    I want to be liked. I want people to want to be around me. I want to be the one they all think is awesome.
    I learned that the KISS of DEATH is “wanting to be”.
    Because it takes away from God’s plan of “this is who I made you to be”.
    I got caught up in having the who’s who of the women at church wanting to be friends with me.
    When I went through a dry season, I came out stronger, and with a very low quotient of “do you like me?’ . I came out of that time with my combat team stripped down to bare essentials and with only the true getting anywhere near me. I was indifferent to the shallow or consequential friends who only played when the sun was shining.
    NOT ONE of the woman I thought were important enough to follow around came anywhere near me when my life was in shambles.

    And honestly, I think when they see me now and wave and I keep going, it might even annoy them. Sure it kind of feels good, but so does being comfortable in my own skin and not worrying about fitting in.
    Yes, I still want people to like me, but now I’m pretty good at filtering who doesn’t deserve the emotional energy it takes to build a friendship.

    Oy, I could go on and on….

    • July 10, 2013, 1:40 pm   /  Reply

      “I learned that the KISS of DEATH is “wanting to be”.”

      Wow.

      That is truth you can mull over for days.

  10. July 10, 2013, 9:19 am   /  Reply

    I turned away from the church community rather earlier than my present crisis in faith.

    In 2009, a guest preacher came to our church, and talked about the peril of disobedience, using Saul’s decision not to exterminate quite all of the Amalekytes as an example.

    Extermination. Who has really seen it? Dead kids? People killed while pleading for their lives?

    I tried to understand, and talked to a LOT of Christians about this. The explanations given were, “They were like a cancer, had to be completely removed.” (Sounds rather chillingly like the Final Solution.)

    “Killing someone with a sword is really kind of merciful.” (Oh, come ON!)

    “The Holy Spirit wasn’t in the world full-time then.” (So none of these folks were quite human, as we know it?)

    As I asked, I noticed a hardness around the eyes of the people I spoke to – directed at me. Even to people quite close, suddenly I was on the outside. I was an infidel.

    You see, I have seen dead kids, killed in a cause that no one remembers now. I have seen people struck down with their hands clasped in supplication. Blood like a river.

    I don’t know what the answer is. But I can never worship again among people who nod with approval at something that brings me awake in the still watches of the night, screaming and screaming and screaming.

    • AJ
      July 10, 2013, 11:23 am   /  Reply

      I can relate to you both, Beth and Andrew. My battle is more of a philosophical one than personal at this point, but the cost to my faith seems about the same. Although isolation during private struggle is bad, discretion in sharing is wise. As you’ve learned, Andrew, many Christians are afraid to face issues they cannot answer, so they give pseudo-answers in order to repel the issue altogether. Humans naturally prefer to stick to what is safe (Think of Lucy’s reaction to Aslan the Lion: “Is he safe?”). As you’ve both illustrated, there’s a fearsome side to God that does seem untrustworthy. I myself am wondering, how can we embrace a God who may act or require us to act in ways that go against all that He has taught us to be good (another example: Abraham sacrificing Isaac)? And if He cannot act outside of Himself, then what does that mean about His relationship to evil? I don’t know if I’ll find a satisfactory answer to these questions. But one thing remains true for me: even though I am repulsed by what I’m perceiving in God, I remain nevertheless attracted to what I know so far to be the best Source of love life has to offer. It is the agony and ecstasy of my days. Where can I find relief? Beth, I hope you know you’re building up some big expectations in your story! ; )

      • July 10, 2013, 1:56 pm   /  Reply

        AJ: … stumbling over the phrase “building up some big expectations …”
        If nothing else, I am revealing my relationship with God, in all it’s frailties (which are mine) and who God has revealed himself to be to me …
        Have I always liked … appreciated … understood … accepted who God was? What He allowed?
        No.
        But … well … the rest comes on Friday.

        • AJ
          July 10, 2013, 2:30 pm   /  Reply

          It was just a lighthearted statement acknowledging your bravery in opening the box on these issues of faith.

          • July 10, 2013, 2:55 pm   / 

            Lighthearted … okay … I can take that …

            🙂

    • July 10, 2013, 1:43 pm   /  Reply

      Andrew:
      Once again, I am so thankful when you join the conversation.
      I appreciate your raw faith. Your honesty. Your questions.
      I’ve come to believe God is not afraid of our questions. Some in the Body of Believers might be … maybe because they are frightened of their own questions … but God welcomes our questions. He’s a big, big God. He knows that, for us, there are unanswerables … and that the leap of faith sometimes takes us to our knees.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:51 pm   /  Reply

      Andrew, I find it utterly loathsome and hypocritical of people who have never been to war to politely pat a warrior on the head and say “there now, let us explain to you how you should fit in so you can shut-up and stop annoying us with all that real world bother”.
      I do not have an answer for you, not would I pretend to try. All I can say is, I’m sorry you live with so many horrid memories, but I know there are probably people alive because you faced down the devil himself.

  11. July 10, 2013, 10:45 am   /  Reply

    Wel…being a recovering pleaser, I often cave to the expectations of others before I’ve even realized that perhaps it’s not best for me.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:57 pm   /  Reply

      Well said, Brill. Well said.

  12. July 10, 2013, 11:56 am   /  Reply

    Pride and isolation — you hit the nail on the head, Beth. The enemy uses those things destructively in our lives. I’m so grateful that God rescued you and pulled you back toward Him. Thank you for your vulnerability and gut honesty. Your words will … and have … touched lives, including mine.

    • July 10, 2013, 1:44 pm   /  Reply

      Donna:
      One of my favorite words in the Bible is “reconciliation.” God is all about that, isn’t he?
      Stay tuned for Part 3.

  13. Susan Tuttle
    July 10, 2013, 1:20 pm   /  Reply

    It’s so easy when we’re connected within the church to play that “i’m okay” game for all the reasons you said. I know I have. It’s hard to remember our weaknesses are where God shines because that’s so backwards to our human minds. Show our weakness? But I’ve found God’s way of thinking often takes me on a backward journey–does that make sense?

    Loving this series, Beth:)

    • July 10, 2013, 1:46 pm   /  Reply

      Susan,
      Thank you for the encouragement.
      I have to admit that there are times before I push “schedule” that I think, “What am I doing being this honest? What are people going to think about me?”
      But like I said: It ain’t pretty but it’s honest.
      And honest is scary at time.

  14. July 10, 2013, 3:45 pm   /  Reply

    Okay… Now, I’m hooked. See you tomorrow.

    • July 10, 2013, 4:36 pm   /  Reply

      You’ll see me Friday, Bill. 🙂 That’s when wrap this story up.

  15. July 10, 2013, 4:11 pm   /  Reply

    I always love your honesty, Beth. I had a similar thought before I pressed “publish” this morning, but I think it’s important that we can be transparent and vulnerable without “oversharing.” You’re always an inspiration to me.

    • July 10, 2013, 4:37 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you, Carla.
      Truly.
      Thank you.
      I am grateful we’ve become friends along the writing road.

  16. Andrea Cox
    July 10, 2013, 4:52 pm   /  Reply

    Going it alone… yep, I’ve tried that. It wasn’t pretty, but here’s the truth: Several years ago, I was frustrated at how my husband-to-be was nowhere to be found. Instead of trusting God to work things out His way, I decided to try to find the man myself. So, I filled out several online dating forms and met a couple of guys. Neither were the right one, and breaking up was so hard and stressful, I ended up having anxiety attacks! After that, I decided to put my trust where it belonged in the first place: firmly in God’s hands–and out of mine! I’m still waiting on Mr. Right, but I’m looking to God for guidance and trusting Him to lead me to the right place at the right time to meet the right guy. He will provide because He is faithful.

    Blessings,
    Andrea

    • July 10, 2013, 10:40 pm   /  Reply

      Andrea:
      He is faithful. Even when we are not … He is faithful.
      Thank you for sharing some of your story.

  17. July 10, 2013, 9:32 pm   /  Reply

    I sure relate to isolating, Beth. I was too ashamed to tell anyone how messy my life had gotten at my age. I was going through things that I figured most people worked through in their 30s and here I was 50 and depressed, unstable, crying all the time, and still talking about Mom. I mean, grow up, but I couldn’t until I finally got so low that I couldn’t not talk. I started opening my mouth and started getting better almost immediately. What’s that formula about? Guess I don’t have to figure it out. Thankful it’s working daily. Thank you, thank you!

    On the road on Friday to see how much daughter Kelly has grown one more time before baby Claire gets here, so I probably won’t get to read your post until I return. Bummer, but it builds anticipation. 🙂

    • July 10, 2013, 10:41 pm   /  Reply

      You and me — we keep having our “What, you too?!” moments.
      Enjoy your time with Kelly.
      🙂

  18. July 12, 2013, 12:21 am   /  Reply

    […] ← In My Words: Turning My Back from Turning My Back on God (Part 2) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*