God of Recovery
It’s weird waking up at 2:00 am because you feel utterly alone. You wouldn’t normally think something like that could steer you from the one thing you’ve done solitarily for your whole life. Earlier that day I was on the train home from work. In classic New York style, the train was packed and I was standing in a corner where I’m pretty sure the lady standing in front of me thought I was a part of the wall. I was trying to respond to the text on my phone that read, “Are you okay? You’ve seemed off lately.” I was looking for words to describe what was wrong. In the past year and a half, I had battled an eating disorder and constant anxiety, and up until those few weeks I had been doing pretty well. So how do I respond to “You’ve seemed off lately?”
How could I say that I felt lost, alone, confused, and depressed, because I didn’t believe in God?
I had been raised in schools that painted God in a very vengeful light. As I grew up, I couldn’t believe in a God that would smite someone dead for wanting something good to happen to them, or a God that hated you because of who you loved, or a God that didn’t line up with scientific evidence. I had always felt like an apologetic child of God, always doing wrong in His eyes.
Once I stepped away from the only side of God I knew, I felt lost. I had always believed in God, even with all the contingencies that came with it. I lived like that for maybe three months. I felt like nothing mattered, how far I’d come with my own mental health felt pointless -- I was still numb. I regressed back into my old, unhealthy coping mechanisms. I wondered if this was how everyone who didn’t believe in God felt. Was this just something I’d get used to?
For me that wasn’t the case. I accidentally found myself praying one night. I didn’t mean to, it just happened.
But in that moment I felt safe.
I felt myself being true to me, not what I think is rational, or practical, or modern, but true to me. For me, my spirit calls for a higher power to hear its woes. I understand that not everyone’s self calls for that connection, to each their own. I’ve still stepped away from the God of judgment, the God of condemnation, and God of anger. But now I feel the God of love, the God who’s there late at night when I feel lost or alone or being haunted by old ghosts. One of the largest hurdles I’ve faced as an adult has been recovering God, but for me, that journey has been worth it.