I sometimes think my attraction to religion is an attraction to an alternative me that I want to be. A me that gets up at the crack of dawn to pray, is calmly spiritual, devotedly faithful, peacefully mature. The real me has always fallen far away from that. The real me is stricken with worry, lurching from one crisis of faith to another, getting overwhelmed and losing all resolve. I am kidding myself if I think that I’m going to arrive at faith, make a commitment, and then it’ll be plain sailing. (Bear with me, there’s a positive coming 😉 )
This week for example, I don’t even know what’s happened, but after making strides with establishing a prayer routine, and even stepping out in hijab last weekend, it somehow became a real struggle. It might have something to do with other big stresses this week. I lost confidence, I lost patience. I guess I have been back at where I was when I stopped going to church – feeling like a victim and wondering why God doesn’t care. Astaghfirullah!
I need to drop any expectations of a quick fix. I am not going to get a personality transplant by starting to pray. I am not going to instantly have a deep knowledge of God. These things take practice. I really should stop thinking in black and white, stop pressuring myself, stop hating what I am. Otherwise I will be right back to resenting all religious obligations.
This is exactly applicable to other aspects of my life too. I resent work obligations, for example. I am just someone who worries about getting it right, and secretly strives and agonises, to the point of exhaustion and loss of hope and loss of care.
I DON’T WANT TO BE A NEGATIVE PERSON.
I DON’T WANT TO BE A DRAMA QUEEN.
I DON’T WANT TO BE PERPETUALLY UNHAPPY.
I know how I want to be, what the right way to be is. But perhaps I can only move towards it by first accepting what I am now.
The best idea I had yesterday was to begin by “counting my blessings” as the saying goes. It just dawned on me that by being negative and unhappy and always wanting things to change, I am being really ungrateful for the good things in my life, of which there are many. How sad would it be to get everything I wanted and then realise that I still didn’t know how to appreciate it. Life is short, too short to wait to enjoy it. Giving thanks might be the best way to connect with God and foster humility. Rather than trying to force myself to not care about the things of this life, I will work on mentally connecting them with their Source.
Just a small step to take, but small steps are probably all I can manage. I am interested to see where it may take me.
Likewise, there would seem to be many positive things about me in my work that I am completely sabotaging by being so negative. I have enslaved myself to “perfection”, disrespecting the natural characteristics God has made me with because of my fear of man’s judgment. I will try and start to remind myself of my strengths and attribute everything to God.
Any advice is appreciated… and don’t mince your words… sometimes I need a verbal slap 😉