The Heartbreak of Watching Friends Walk Away From Faith

Image by designbywas

jillianchan asked a question:

As someone in ministry, have you seen many people fall from faith? If you have, how do you handle it?

Hey dear friend: I’ve been through this too many times to count. It’s happening now, too. It’s always heartbreaking and always a punch in the stomach. To be truthful, I still grieve for so many friends who went their own way and chose self-destruction. I still lose sleep over it. It’s something you don’t really get over, and something I pray about every day.

I’ve blamed myself; I’ve blamed God; I’ve blamed bad influences; I’ve blamed the church. In the end, I know I can’t persuade anyone to stay faithful. It’s their choice and their autonomy.  I must respect that. As God respects our free will, so must we.

The only thing I can do is stay in touch. I text or call or email, at least a couple times per week. It’s difficult, you know. I feel like I’m being annoying or that I’m wasting my time (and theirs). I feel bitterness and disappointment and helplessness. But I want them to know: I’m still here for you. I’m staying. I don’t care if I look like an idiot. If it means my life, I’ll keep loving on you.

Continue reading “The Heartbreak of Watching Friends Walk Away From Faith”

Hijacking “The Struggle” and “Broken”

Photo from Digital Spark, Quote by Ralston Bowles

Words like “struggle” and “broken” and “weakness” (and process, progress, victory, sobriety, and recovery) are often abused to water down very real selfishness.

I do believe that brokenness is real, of course. I think addiction can be a near-impossible monster to overcome. Anyone suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts or anxiety shouldn’t have to constantly explain themselves. We can be broken by traumatic events or sexual abuse or catastrophic changes. Which means that the word “broken” has even more reason not to be twisted for obvious agendas, because then we would be diminishing the truly broken.

The thing is: I don’t ever want to be fake or inauthentic about my “struggle.” Yes, we do struggle. Yes, we have hurts and holes and leaks in our souls. Sure, many of us will limp across the finish line. But I don’t want to sugarcoat my motives with a bunch of soft talk that enables me into a smaller version of me. I need the kick in the pants; I need the initiative and the drive to become all that God has created me for. I do need to relax on many things, but I don’t want to let my guard down. We just get the one life, you know. I’m not going to pamper myself with a lot of fluffy wordplay to stay comfortable in my dark artistic corner. That’s flaking out on life.

— J.S. | Mad About God