Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On Being Quiet and Lies

I'm a talker.
And a massive over sharer. So much oversharing. Yeah I'm a bit deprived (and depraved) now that I'm back to full time staying at home (minus two days a week that I clean for a couple hours in the evening- that is over soon and doesn't truly count).

I'm also a Christian. I was raised Methodist, dabbled in Charismatic I suppose, and am back to confused and nondenominational. The thing that has me super challenged (SUPER) is this notion I keep reading/hearing about the power of the tongue.

I'm definitely not confused about the Bible's point on the power of the tongue- life and death is in the power of the tongue, it's the rudder that steers your whole body, what proceeds out of your mouth is what you are on the inside, etc. Got it. But there are so many (too many) pastors and speakers who talk about what I essentially believe is lying.

Now wait a minute, sweet Pastor isn't advocating lying.

Sure s/he isn't, sure. Sarcasm.

They are saying to speak positive words, to speak what you want your situation to be. My mother-in-law, when dying of cancer, would not discuss her sickness at all. She was being HEALED by the Lord and to say otherwise or discuss other treatments would be showing your doubt. And DOUBT means you WON'T get your HEALING. Sorry for the caps but this just was so upsetting to me. Not then, because I tried to be the good daughter-in-law. I prayed (boy howdy did I pray, like it was my job and rent was due), I spoke positive words, but I doubted. And for awhile I thought it was my fault that she died. Because I had doubt. I was the ship being tossed by the sea. I'm not so narcissistic that I believe that I caused her death, but I have a niggling voice that says it was my doubt that countered her wonderful faith.
Anywho, yeah I get easily derailed by that topic.
So these speakers want you to speak positive life-affirming words. No more whining, complaining, worrying. "Things may not be great right now, but the Lord is working on me and everything will be ok," is what we are supposed to declare.
That's a difficult one for me. I've tried to be that person, that positive person. Guess what?

Sometimes things are not going to get better. Ok sure, I guess my mother-in-law went to Heaven so things got infinitely better for her, but she still died and left her family here on Earth. We all had to deal with the blow-back from some incredibly faithful and hopeful woman not getting the healing that was promised her if she just believed with nothing wavering.
What hope do I have if the most Godly person I know followed that directive to the nth degree and still didn't get answers to her prayers?

And when are we supposed to get out of bad situations instead of praying and hoping and saying positive words to the world?

My aunts-in-law had breast cancer as well, and they took traditional medicine to treat it (radiation/chemo) and they are all alive. Joyce Meyer was in a bad marriage and got out of it before she married the man whom helped her with her ministry. When do we stop speaking these words of positive hopes for our lives, and start taking action?

Or the bigger issue, what if we can't get out of our situation (for whatever reason)? Are we not allowed a chance to talk about our problems, have fellowship with others, or do we bottle up our problems inside? I know I know, give them up to the Lord. Well let's say you give them up to the Lord but you are still miserable and there is nothing you can do. That is a tough spot indeed. I guess you must keep speaking words of positivity, even after years of no change, no forward movement. That is beyond depressing to me.

It seems like lying to yourself and lying to the world.  Look how together I have it!! Sure my husband is an alcoholic! Sure my wife spends all of our money! Sure my kids are living in sin! I will keep saying how well they will do in life, how much I love my husband, what a great financial steward my wife is. It'll all just be ok!

Or the alternative is just be quiet.
And hope all the pain and hurt and anger just stays bottled up.


  1. you take that label back, you take it back right now. (first one, obv)

    there was a writer who I really liked named David Rakoff - humor, essays, that kind of thing. He had lymphoma and passed away a few years ago. As he was in treatment he wrote a book basically saying how positive thinking is a total lie, there's research to show it has no effect on overall treatment. now granted, he wasn't a Christian, but he just said the only way he got through his treatment and dealt with his lot in life was by being snarky and joking and trying to live his life and enjoy his friends while he was alive and etc. of course whoever interviewed him was like "but wouldn't it have been easier on the nurses at least if you did have a positive attitude?" well yeah, I'm sure some of them hated him. My point has run off into its own tangent, but banking on God changing things depending on how much you pray/give to charity/volunteer/etc is turning God into a human, because that's how human love usually operates. (And believe me, I give myself grief all the time over the verse where Jesus says "you love only those who love you and benefit you? great, so does the tax collector" like no we should love our enemies too). God's will is outside of our own, and it's a mystery how He operates, and thus I have a struggle with the point of prayer. Someone pointed out to me that maybe God wants to accomplish things and part of the way He wants to do that is by us praying about it. I still don't see the point, most days, especially to pray for positive things, as I'm usually only praying against negative things. I also have hung onto the verse, esp. in the last year, that says "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

    What you're talking about is a works-based righteousness, and that was all taken care of through the grace of Jesus. so we are no longer punished for our sins by death and we are no longer rewarded for our devoutness/holiness with life. our only life is through Jesus.

    wow, how come I can't preach to myself about this stuff. I just get existential breakdowns instead. Love you - xoxo

  2. I feel like people are so effected by testimonies- "Oh I had no idea you were going through that!" Well maybe people should be more forthcoming about what they are going through so we can help them while they are in the "test" part of testimony. Instead, people always say "I was so alone, so I turned to God." Well its awesome you turned to God, but how much more awesome would it be that God would provide you people to help you get out of the situation, or to give you comfort that you could make it through the hard stuff, instead of having to get through it on your own until you get God's help? A lot of people can't make it to that point, and maybe there would be more testimonies if we were willing to speak up, to tell the truth, to say how offing hard it is to be a wife, a mom, a husband, a father, a daughter, employed, unemployed, etc? Instead we should bite our tongues and tell everyone how well we are doing, so that those who are struggling feel that they are doing worse than everyone else, since everyone else is putting on airs of having it all figured out. Or maybe it's just me.
    PS grammar and punctuation do not count in comments right? Right.

    1. effing not offing, thanks autocorrect

    2. I concur immensely. Even some close friends have told me things they went through, but only when they're on the other side, "trusting God" again. And I'm like, what about during the hard stuff? I need some commiseration that other people aren't perfect so I don't feel so alone. This is also why I read novels a lot, because those characters are sometimes more nuanced and real to me than people I interact with in reality. There's not a lot of space to honestly express ourselves in the world.
      ...And it's hard to be a human being, and it's hard as anything else ... (modest mouse)