Monday, February 09, 2009

Spiritual Bankruptcy

I have a friend who is going through a crisis in her life.

She has had her share of depression, and whether it was post-partum, or a chemical imbalance, the result has brought on devastating, heart breaking consequences in her life and relationships.

Her depression led to two years of spending uncontrollably, using credit cards, checks, a second mortgage, or cash as a form of Novocaine... something that would provide a rush that would temporarily erase the feelings of depression or emotional instability. Later, prescribed medication would lead to thoughts of suicide (obviously the WRONG medication was prescribed), and she removed herself from it cold turkey, unknowingly throwing herself back into a vicious cycle.

Her husband, who I'm certain carries his own amount of guilt (as it does takes two to tango), recently informed her that he's had enough and wants a divorce.

This news has severely strained my friend emotionally and has pushed her beyond her own ability to hold it together. Irrational rationalization (if that is possible) about her mental well being and marriage has manifested, and desperation has taken over. She claims that if her husband would only "work on his spirituality," their problems would be solved, and their marriage would work out.

In some cases, that may be. But working on your "spirituality" isn't the sure-fire, fix-all remedy to heartbreaking circumstances in our lives. Whether is is disease, financial crisis, or marital crisis we face, "spirituality" won't cure the problem. Yes ... A personal and weathered relationship with God will make it easier to face the hard news, but it won't always make "it" go away.

You see... my friend "knows God" but doesn't "know God."

Faith to her is something you "do" -- work in a soup kitchen, recite some prayers out loud, give to the church and the poor, recite three things a day that you're thankful for ... very "Oprah-ish." And that saddens me, because faith in someones life... just for the sake of having faith ... is empty and useless

And now that my friend is financially, physically, and emotionally bankrupt, she is finding that she may be spiritually bankrupt, too. There is no backbone to her faith; no meat or substance that she can cling to in her hour of need, because all she's done is "do."

This sounds all too familiar, because I have been in her shoes, and have truly walked a mile in them, if not more.

My heart breaks for her because her heart is broken, and yet, she finds herself in a lonely place, and refuses to listen. She has many things she wants to say, scream, accuse, or cry about, but she doesn't want to hear anything about God's love, grace, and mercy. And that is fair. She's been dealt a hard hand. Anger is definitely one emotion she will need to work through.

This is why it is so important to develop our faith over a period of time and developing a personal relationship with Christ by reading scripture, having interactive conversations with God, worshipping, memorizing, learning more about the foundation of our "faith" - the creator of everything, the one who gives us peace, and listening. All this gives us a reservoir we can pull from when we are faced with difficult or hopeless circumstances.

Yes, there is so much more to establishing deep roots in faith, but friend, if you are barely teetering on the borderline of your faith, may I encourage you to just trust God and dive in? Begin pouring over scripture. Start talking with God. Take time to listen to Him. Worship him with your heart. Abandon yourself in his arms. Because what may seem like overkill now may one day become your lifeline when faced with difficult, stressful, and/or emotionally taxing circumstances.

If you're interested, read all of Psalm 27 it offers tremendous encouragement and hope and strength!


Donnetta said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend and pray that God, through his gentle and persistent bidding, will continue to reach out to her as she sorts through this all!

She's so fortunate to have you for a friend!!

Susanne said...

Very sorry for everything your friend is going through. Thank you for taking that experience and writing a powerful post.

justusseven said...

Thanks for sharing - I love your blog!

LvlyRita said...

How trying for your friend. It is too amazing that she isn't turning to the Source for life. We can make ourselves stay in misery, it doesn't need to be an outside influence.