trek of truth

My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone. 

Anne Lamott

By the way, she will be coming to Seattle First Baptist Church and speaking about her new book. Even though the event is sold out, you can still pick her book up here – Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

Do you ever just need to vent? And not just to yourself, but to a friend. As I was having one of those nights, I mentally went through the small Rolodex of friends I feel safe to vent to and ended up texting an old friend.

Because of the subjects on my mind, I knew that I couldn’t vent to just any of my friends because many of them are Christians. The issues I’m processing most likely would make most of my Christian friends cringe and they may panic thinking I need all of their “right” godly answers.

As I finger-tapped some of my thoughts to this friend on my phone, she replied almost immediately with sweet understanding and an open hand. She invited me to call anytime if I needed to talk it through. I put on my jacket and shoes, went outside, lit a cigarette and dialed her phone. We talked for 40 minutes.

I feel safe talking to her.

She supports me. She encourages me. She tells me of her own experiences. She laughs with me. She is honest with me. She genuinely cares for me. She holds my vulnerability with immense mindfulness.

I feel validated.

We talked about my “crisis of faith” and she shared her stories of feeling the same when she and her husband were going through it 10 years ago. She said that she felt nervous and scared many times in her “searchings”, which were broad in the eyes of the Christians they hung out with, but she had always felt loved by God. She explained that the ironic part is it’s her love and longing to know God that keeps her seeking that which others would judge her for.

Her words felt like a warm bath.

I feel God’s love and presence with me on this journey, but I also feel many people (Christians) in my life will misunderstand me or express their concerns and worries over my processing and questioning. The thing that I keep coming back to is that I’m not questioning whether I believe in God. I’m questioning what I have learned and blindly believed my entire life. I want truth to be mine, not someone else’s passed on to me.

This to me is the only journey to become truly authentic – which is one of my greatest desires.

Photo Credit: Patrick Lanigan

Photo Credit: patricklanigan via Compfight cc

For the past 9 months, I have been extricating and clearing the slate of my mind and soul. It has helped greatly that I have not been attending church for over 4 years. I have nothing against the bride of Christ, but the institutions that claim to represent his Church, have not helped me in my walk of faith. They have done more harm than good. I’m not saying I will never be involved in church again, but for now, I am on an offbeat path and it has been vital to my faith.

I am so very grateful for friends that have been a part of this unconventional journey of mine. I have come to understand what true friendship and love is, as I have been vulnerable and have exposed my struggles to those I know are safe for me. True love has revealed itself in these safe relationships receiving me with kindness, acceptance, validation, warmth, laughter and understanding.

I only hope that I can extend true love and authenticity as deeply as I have received from God and others.

What does it mean to you when a friend validates, accepts, and understands the authentic you?