Recently, Easter has become a difficult time for me.
Identifying God’s love through the events of Holy Week and Easter is a challenge for me.
Finding God’s love and receiving it are things I’m not all that gifted at in general, though I have had small numbers of breakthroughs over the past several years.
A lot of the struggle is self-inflicted. I have a hard time letting go of pain and, when I do, I very easily pick it back up. I’ve lived with my life perceptions for well over 25 years now, so even when I consciously choose to look at life differently, the old patterns easily and subconsciously slip back through.
My primary struggle as far as that is concerned is with the constant need for repentance for those things. It’s comparatively easy to repent of obvious sins, but it wears on me to repent of how I perceived my experience as a child because it feels like I’m admitting that was my fault.
The difference I imagine is that the “fault,” as it were, is in my continuing acceptance of that view now, not then. But that’s not what I hear when I hear “repent.”
I’m beginning to wonder if a good bit of the dissonance is connected to my desire for a nurturing father-figure. And I wonder if that isn’t true of most of us who wrestle with receiving God’s love.
It’s difficult for me to see God as nurturing and loving. The male love I’ve received in life has been of the “tough love” variety, quick to correct and point out flaws, but slow to invest quality time, intimacy, and compassion.
For a long time I’ve wanted an older male figure who’d be willing to mentor me, to father me, really, for lack of a better term, in the Christian faith.
As I understand the New Testament, that is the meaning of discipleship – to be trained up in the faith. To make a disciple is to help mold a person into a new way of living, and that isn’t done simply by sharing ideas and wise teachings, but in sharing life.
I suspect this is a major deficit in the Church today, due in large part to the Western emphasis on “individuality” and the overall lack of emphasis on discipleship in general.
All this to say that I believe God Himself is able to disciple us if need be, but I think the primary way He chooses to do so is through other people, and it’s people who have been dropping the ball.
I find little movement in my heart at Easter when it comes to Christ’s death and suffering on my behalf because I have a tortured concept of what Christ’s heart for me actually is.
I intellectually know the right answers, but in an emotional and experiential vacuum, the right thoughts in my head have little impact on my heart, and my heart thus rejects the thoughts.
It is bittersweet for me to watch people be moved by Christ’s sacrifice. It’s difficult for me to understand how the Cross is more touching than the sacrificial death any number of humans have died for others, even while knowing that this death represents a Holy God lowering Himself to be part of His own Creation.
I hate admitting that. It’s antithetical to whatever is perceived as a normal Christian response. But I hope that in admitting it, I’m able to start moving away from it.
I think there are likely other people which this is true, Christian or not. It’s likely an impediment to belief for a great many people.
Know that you are not alone, nor do you have to struggle with these emotions by yourself.
One of the ultimate hopes of Easter is that Truth saves us if we cling to it no matter how we feel about it.