More and more often lately, I’ve been feeling out of place in my Bible study class. Sometimes the reasons why are evident… there will be a tangent (whether stated or implied) about marriage being one man and one woman, for example (with no other options possible). If you read my blog, you know that I don’t believe this. The notion of it raises my hackles, and leads to other debates about love and birth and God’s intentions, debates I am unwilling to engage in in the middle of a Bible study class. Even someone as stubborn as I am doesn’t want to beat my head against that wall. I am not here to argue about anyone’s else’s beliefs (unless someone attempts to legislate them… then you’re going to hear my voice loud and clear). That said, my own beliefs are quite strong. Nothing anyone could say would change them. When the topic does come up in Bible study, it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.
Other times, the reasons for feeling out of place are less clear. Maybe it’s just part of my general sense of out-of-placeness, which crops up all the time in a multitude of situations. Or maybe it isn’t. Lately, there has been a voice in my head during Bible study telling me that what I’m seeking isn’t there. There are those in my Bible study who would tell you quite seriously that the voice belongs to Satan. This might be part of the problem, because I certainly don’t believe that. Actually, my gut reaction when someone brings up Satan is to laugh. Do I believe in evil? Sure. I also think it’s almost always the result of human beings behaving badly. No, the voice in my head isn’t Satan. Maybe it’s my own, or maybe it’s the God of my Old Testament ancestors telling me that Jesus isn’t my answer.
After all this time, there’s still a disconnect for me whenever Jesus gets discussed. In the beginning (ha!), I went because I wanted to reconnect with God. I didn’t find God in a church or in the Bible, so maybe that’s why I’ve been struggling. Since it’s a Christian Bible study, Christ has been much of the focus. I believe in taking what I want and leaving the rest, but that has become more difficult. There are often questions that relate directly to my feelings about Jesus. The truth is, I don’t have any feelings; I am forced to leave the questions blank. I’ve been waiting all this time to see if I would start to feel something, but nothing has happened. I’m starting to feel like I’ve been “dating” someone I’m just not attracted to, and hoping the feelings would come in time because in theory the person might otherwise be a good match. Apologies if this analogy offends anyone, but that’s kind of how it feels. I kept thinking that if I went to enough classes, something would click. I’ve got nothing.
In general, the people in my group are not the problem. They’ve all been lovely and supportive, regardless of our differing beliefs (which I have never tried to hide) and I’ve made a couple of friends. Obviously, this makes my growing sense of unease more difficult. I like these people – they matter to me. I may not agree with all of their beliefs, but that doesn’t diminish my gratitude for their patience, understanding and support. I believe they would be sad if I left, and part of me would be sad as well. But the voice continues to get louder, and tougher to ignore. So now what?
I don’t have the answers yet. I suppose if the job comes through and I end up working Thursdays I will be given a pass on making any awkward decisions for the time being. This strikes me as something of a cop-out, but I don’t feel ready to make any permanent decisions anyway. My life has enough turmoil without letting go of something I committed to in August. There are just a few months left, so sticking it out may be the easier course. Again, assuming that the job doesn’t make my decision for me. Until then, I will just keep going forward, taking what I want and leaving the rest. I’m not ignoring the voice, really. I’m just telling it to be patient. Self-discovery takes awhile, and spiritual awakening? Sometimes it can take a lifetime. I’ve got time.