Through the Struggle
By Nate Gaunder
As a young Christian, I had a very poor, limited view of the world. I’ve been told that,
“This world is broken, it’s wicked, it’s lost, it’s sinful, it’s evil throughout. That is why it is ‘our job’ as Christians to bring the light of the lord to shine for all to see, for all to receive the fathers gift. To bring people to the kingdom of heaven.”
The more I spend time alone reminiscing on my young christian life, the more I realized just how much this ‘religion’ (theism) kept forcing me to surrender to it; emotionally.
You see, the quote stated above is meant to be empowering, its goal is to give you motivation and encouragement to fight the good fight. Any Christian would agree that it is “our job” to save mankind, to save people from their sins, save them from demons, the devil and all that is wicked. But what about us? What about our emotional growth? Until I stepped into ’emotional therapy’ about a couple months ago, I had no idea what emotions truly were. I thought it was just the way that you think of things, that it is a guide to help us with our ‘process of examining ones own thoughts’. I was wrong. Turns out, it’s ‘energy in motion’! It is something that is completely ‘unconscious’ to our state of consciousness. It can happen out of nowhere and it’s usually something that starts in your gut. It has nothing to do with the human mind at all. Once I learned this, I started to have a new outlook on my life, and not necessarily in the most positive light.
When I was young, elders, pastors, youth pastors, any church member really, would teach that us children are “weak” and that our human nature is “sinful” and that we are broken. Thinking back on this, it was as if it was necessary for me to feel guilty for living. I would have people pray over me, asking God to heal me, asking for the good Lord to have my eyes stay fixated on him and him alone. I was never encouraged to look within myself, to find the strength and power that had been hiding. Unfortunately, my view was distorted. Emotionally, I felt like I was beaten like a dog. To idolize something that made me feel less superior to anyone or anything else.
It’s hard for me to look back on my life, I get caught up asking myself questions: “How did I not know?” “Why wasn’t I aware of what was happening?!” Naturally, I would’ve had no way of knowing, I didn’t have the emotional tools, let alone the maturity to grasp the concept of it all. One thing is for certain, I had to stop blaming myself for not knowing! For two years I have been battling depression, feeling sorry for myself, not trying to ‘push for higher ground’. Over the past year, I’ve been trying to rise above my anxiety by writing what I can, when I can. At times, it does help, but other times it causes me to be more and more depressed, especially now that I allow myself to ‘feel’. It is hard, some days are good and others are shitty, but with each passing day, I feel as if I learn something new about myself, whether if it’s a strength or a weakness. Either way, I learn something.
The whole point of Christianity, for the most part, is to simply bow down. To ‘bow down’ is to ‘surrender’ and that is exactly what it is. To surrender your mind, your heart, your spirit, it is about resigning your humanity. To give all your praise and glory to an idea, an idea that ultimately is you, in order to save yourself from your sinful nature, which is simply being human. The great irony in all of this is you must save yourself, from yourself, by accepting yourself as yourself (you being god). But if you give into yourself, you will lose yourself, you’ll become selfish, greedy, lustful, angry (you being sinful). The truth is that over time, it all becomes you, the bible stories, God, Jesus, it’s all you. Such irony, if only more people could see that you are all you need to be. No higher authority required.
Everyday is a struggle, I have plenty of days where I still feel like I’m being judged by ‘the man upstairs’. I still feel worthless, sinful even. I can’t help but feel that I still don’t deserve this life. I constantly judge myself. It’s as if I am in Christianity all over again, this time though, there is no God to take it all away. So what do I do? Just admit the inevitable? That I’m powerless? There is nothing that I can do, no one to turn too, no one to save me. There is just me, only me, and me alone. I need to push through the struggle that I’ve gotten myself stuck in. I need to learn to believe in myself, to love myself, to not be so harsh on my thoughts, needs and wants. I know I’m not the only one, letting go of my faith and all, there are more like me. Together we all can do it, we all can overcome our struggles, fears, anxiety, our anger, and our pain. After all, we are all “the way, the truth, and the light.” I believe I can do it! I believe that we can do it! Life is too short to constantly dwell in the past. The future is much brighter and I can’t wait to see what I (all of us) will and can do. The future is now!
P.S. If anyone is struggling with depression, anxiety for any reason, please seek help, don’t beat yourself up over it. You may feel like you are the jailer, but know that you are the key!