I have a split personality.
I know, I know. All the hype says that if you have a split personality, neither persona knows the other exists. Blah blah blah.
I’m talking about my spiritual person. My faith. Or lack thereof.
Some days, God is near and I can easily turn to him in praise, in prayer, in the Bible, and in the challenges of that day. He is easy to trust, to believe, to hope in. I want to please him.
Other days, God feels far away. The stories of Jesus sound like that — stories. I struggle to believe. I cannot praise. I read the Bible with eyebrows raised and questions on my lips, if I read it at all.
And on really bad days, usually triggered by hearing or reading manipulative and twisted interpretations or applications of Christian faith, I am almost overcome by a panicked urge to escape, to run away screaming, thoughts like “I want to shoot myself.” I think of quitting the church, leaving the faith, separating myself as far as possible from the grotesque disfigurations of Christianity that alternately terrify and disgust me.
I’ve wondered if there’s something wrong with me.
But I’ve been reading different Psalms during the last month, and I’ve noticed something. They include both confident hopeful expectant faith and desperate pleas for God to come near.
Psalm 57 starts out “Have mercy on me, my God” and then at the end, it reads “I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”
Psalm 42 (one of my favorites right now) swings from “When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'” to “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Ok. David and the other Psalmists don’t talk about leaving God or shooting themselves (impaling themselves with swords?).
But they do swing from faith that flows easy to faith they must eke out one word, one breath at a time.
Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought.
How about you? Do you experience spiritual split personality?