The spiritual journey is different for everyone. This page is about mine.
Again … I really debated with myself about whether or not to include this portion of my story into this website. I have seen many debates about religion in online forums, blogs, and comments within several online communities.
If my own spiritual enlightenment had not had such a huge impact on my mental and emotional development, I really wouldn’t bother including this information.
I find the constant battle between the different religions and even within the same religion heartbreaking and pointless. I’m not here to preach, or force my spiritual point of view on anyone. I would appreciate it if those of you who are not interested in what I have to say about it would just
return to the home page of this website,
and direct your attention to another topic.
What I am about to share with you is only MY personal spiritual experience and opinion. Please keep that in mind.
There was a time in my life when I had no peace. I would spend most of the day in turmoil… usually about things that had already happened, and I couldn’t do anything about. Every morning I would wake up fearful. Thinking that I was at the center of some horrible conspiracy.
I felt that everyone, including God himself was angry with me. I would spend much of my time sitting and rocking back and forth, or pacing around, trying to figure out what I had done to deserve what I was experiencing.
I felt that I needed to do something to make up for whatever I had done, but I didn’t know what exactly it was that had caused so much anger to be directed at me.
It seemed that all I ever felt from other people in my life was anger and secretive hatred. I felt as though people were saying things to me and doing things to me that I had said and done in order to remind me of what a horrible person I was, and show me how it felt. Most of the time, I felt these were petty things, and things that I has said or done for good reason, but it was being taken out of context and interpreted the wrong way.
I wondered why they wouldn’t just admit that they hated me instead of pretending to like me while torturing me this way.
Things began to really get intense for me, when I would not only notice this happening within my family and circle of friends, but also with complete strangers. After awhile I also began to see this happening in television programs, movies, books, and in the music I listened to. This gave the idea that it was a spiritual matter, but wasn't sure why it was happening, or what kind of spirits were behind it. I thought that maybe I was being attacked by witches because I had made someone that was into witchcraft angry.
I would walk down the street, and faces on billboards, and various other places seemed to be looking at me with expressions that seemed to either be mocking or angry. I couldn’t go to the store without feeling that the pictures on the covers of magazines were also looking at me.
I began to feel that the people who were conspiring against me had been hypnotizing me and planting the suggestion that I should see things that way in my mind. But I couldn't figure out how it all fit together so perfectly, so I would bounce back and forth between the idea that it was a conspiracy, and the idea that it was spiritual anger of some kind. Perhaps the ghost of my recently deceased mother or someone who had died coming back to haunt me.
I knew it was irrational but I would search the headlines trying to figure out what they were saying to me, and why there were angry because EVERYTHING seemed to be directed at me personally. Right before my last trip to the mental hospital I had to get rid of most of my DVD movies because I felt the faces on them were giving me dirty looks.
I bet you are wondering what this has to do with my spiritual journey.
While I was at the mental hospital, a pastor came to visit. I was sitting at the edge of my bed in turmoil again. He asked if he could anoint me with oil, and pray for me. I agreed to let him do it.
Before that time, I had been terrified of religion. I felt that God was a “tyrannical maniac” and didn’t want anything to do with him or religion or spirituality of any kind. But at this time I was scared so senseless that it no longer mattered.
The pastor prayed that God would heal my mind, body, and spirit in the name of Jesus. When he was finished, he asked me about my struggle. I explained as much as could … I had grown weary of trying to explain myself to the doctors, psychologists, and anyone else that would listen, but I decided to be as open with the pastor as I could.
When I told him about the faces, and the feeling that everything and everyone was angry with me, he simply said “God is trying to get your attention. He has chosen you to be one of his children.”
His statement would have normally scared the crap out of me. But at that particular moment I felt a rush of peace, and something in my heart told me that what he had said was true.
I told him that I had been giving the idea of going to church some thought. But that every time I had spoken to someone from a church, they either offended me, or tried to force my into their church and only their church, before I had even really made the decision of whether or not I wanted to have faith.
To this he nodded, and said “Seek him with all your heart and you will find him. He’s already seeking you.” I asked him why I was feeling so much anger directed toward me, and he told me that Satan and his demons were aware that they were losing their grip on me, and were angry about it. “It has driven many people to suicide.” He said. “Keep seeking the Lord your God, and he will protect you.”
After I was released from the hospital, I continued my search.
Last year I chose to be a Christian. This was not an easy decision to make. First of all, I had to find a church that I was comfortable in. By comfortable I mean that I had to go search for a church that I felt would teach me the word of my God correctly.
It was to say the least, a very perilous journey. It took around five years of searching from the time I started to finally find my way. I tried several denominations before finding the right one for me.
In my opinion this was God’s will for me. I believe he was testing me to see if I was truly seeking HIM and not just trying to join the pack. I have personal reasons for believing this. I also believe he was allowing the enemy to confuse me on my spiritual journey to see if I would give up.
I’m going to try to make a long story short here... It won’t be easy.
I searched through many books and websites on spirituality and religion. To me, they all seemed to be telling the same story with different names and details.
I finally ended up going back to the Bible to see if it would give me any clue as to what the RIGHT denomination was. I found a passage that mentioned children turning to their fathers. So I called my Father in law and told him that I needed spiritual guidance. He took me to his church and I accepted Jesus that day.
My Father in law lived two cities away from me at that time, and the Pastor of that church told me to find a good one in my area. After awhile, I had decided that I wanted to find an old friend of mine, because I had heard that she had become a Christian. I knew that if she had found a church I would be comfortable there too.
"The enemy" (who in my opinion, regardless of the name used to describe him,is the spiritual embodiment of temptation,addiction,anger,fear,and other destructive forces that are contrary to God's plan)tried everything in his power during that time to scare me, confuse me, and tempt me away from my search. But I kept searching.
Eventually God placed me on the path to my friend. I had no idea where to look for her, and even her family had lost contact with her, but every time I saw one of her family members I would ask again.
In the mean time, a mutual friend of ours was placed back into my life. Together we finally found her, and I started going to church with her.
I still feel as though I am facing opposition in the spiritual realm. But the enemy has lost his power over me. I see him for what he is. He comes to kill, maim, and destroy. But Jesus is here with me to bring me life, and life more abundantly.
And he really has.
Anxiety disorder often makes people focus on past events in order to be “prepared for our future”. Thinking that if we just remember what happened last time, we won’t open ourselves up to be hurt or fail again. Likewise, it can cause people to focus on the future that we can’t predict, and flood a person’s mind with worry about events that haven’t even happened yet.
It is very difficult to address this problem in our own strength. Often times a person with anxiety disorder becomes addicted to the chemicals produced by our brains when we are in this state of worry. This is where a higher power can help.
I have found that having my God has given me some freedom from the never-ending cycle of worry that accompanies my anxiety disorder.
The fundamental purpose of Christianity is to strengthen our faith that God is in control of our lives, and we can have our needs met when we ask in the name of Jesus, because it is God’s will to provide our needs when we give faith,obediance and praise in return.
I have found this to be absolutely true.
One of my biggest needs is that the mistakes I have made in my past be mended. This need is not necessarily based on logic, and is a result of the way I was raised more than anything. But it is still a very real personal need.
No matter how much I want to, I can’t possibly go back and change my decisions in the past. However, I have faith that somehow, God will clean up my mess, or give me an opportunity to do it myself. That faith alone keeps most of my anxiety at bay.
To me spiritual growth is not just about religion. Don’t get me wrong … as I stated before, I feel that having a higher power is VERY important to a person’s mental and emotional well being.
But spiritual growth is more than that. It is also about becoming “conscious”.
Aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc. And the idea that we are here for a reason.
We seem to be a society of escapists. We turn to habits and substances that help us to become Unconscious. As a result, that is exactly what most of us are … unconscious.
How can we possibly have a handle on our mental and emotional state, while we are always “half-dreaming”? That is why being clean and sober is so important. But drugs and alcohol are not the only method of escape that people use.
Escaping is not always bad. Sometimes we NEED to escape reality for awhile. But escaping, or being in a semi-conscious state for the majority of our time , is harmful to us, and to the people around us. So we also NEED to stay here and live in REALITY!!!
I found during my own introspection, that I am as guilty of escaping as anyone else. Maybe even more so.
During my “pacing rituals” That is exactly what I am doing. I am working on the problems that have already passed, or may be yet to come, so I don’t have to face the problems in the here and now.
Contrary to the advice of just about everyone who has ever cared about me, I never used to make the conscious effort to live the life that is happening right now. Getting a hold of the here and now is probably the most important step toward spiritual growth we can ever make.
When we try to live in the past, our present passes us by.