skipping several chapters for obvious reasons ... getting closer to HOPE now! :)
It would be an easier and socially acceptable answer to leave my story as it was written above.
I could easily play the role of the victim and we could easily go into the whole “my religion is a crutch” argument; merely a self-help guidance to where there was no guidance before.
That would be a lie. It’s a smart and well-crafted lie. But, it’s a lie.
Although the circumstances of my past at this point had absolutely created walls and pain and vulnerabilities, the true reason for my fall from here was the rebellion against God and, more specifically, my personal rebellion against my true nature in Christ.
I no longer considered myself a beautiful creation. I no longer considered myself worthy of respect or love or sobriety. I no longer held standards that I once had. I cast myself aside as useless and dirty and unwanted. I exiled myself from the calling that God had placed on my heart.
And, I suppressed the truth. I suppressed it mostly with alcohol and, in turn, in the arms of men.
I was saying “No” to the grace of God because I felt I wasn’t worth it.
I was saying “Yes” by dichotomy to the wrath of God, and my circumstances would soon show it.
By refusing to align my life and heart with the Biblical teachings that I once sang about in my young classroom’s I was positioning myself in the only other category, by self-condemnation, to live without the Good Shepherd.
God did not ignore me. I ignored Him.
God did not forsake me. I refused to be saved.
Without the wrath of God there can be no grace of God. We cannot be saved if we have nothing to be saved from.
Human “fallen-ness” and depravity is human nature. If we’re truly being honest with ourselves we, daily, are unable to live up to our own expectations, let alone any divine entity’s.
The “wrath of God” is one of those topics that even mature Christians dislike tackling head-on.
It’s not “pretty.” It makes (under the wrong lens) God look like a really scary “Thor-type presence” with a lightning bolt on hand to zap His creation into submission.
But, what really, is the “wrath of God?” Biblically, it’s merely the absence of His grace.
If we are not under His wing, we are destined to be out in the wind.
Now, to clarify, my actions did not subject me to the wrath of God, rather my inaction to call on God and to trust in Him, through faith is what subjected me to the wrath of God.
There have been entire careers spent unraveling and thousands of really intense books written on that simple truth. I can’t say that I’m educated, nor experienced, nor entrenched deep in theology enough to expel much more account.
I’ll say it this way, because, quite frankly, it makes the most sense to me:
Then they asked, “What must we do?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe on the one He has sent.”
Because I was not living under God’s law as His child, I had no other turn of course but to align my life with what all my friends, all the world were offering.
In general, our society will tell anyone who will listen that as long as it’s legal and consensual, then it’s “healthy.”
Really when you pick this apart it falls quite quickly. However, have you ever heard the phrase, “Anyone will believe anything you say as long as it’s a compliment?”
In other words, we as a society are quick to assume this postulate of accepting norms and behaviors if there is no blaring contradiction: if it’s easy, if it feels good in the moment and if no one is “getting hurt.”
This ideology is not in direct refutation to our nature, in fact it indulges it, and ergo, it is easily accepted.
Society says that as long as sex is consensual, then it’s perfectly fine. But, again, if you’re being honest, immediately that warps into just this huge mess of “What is okay? Exactly?”
I don’t find that worldview really answers any of that. It just kind of lingers in this “journey of sexual exploration” phase never to settle on a direct course to really experience what sex, at it’s core, is really about.
If sex is truly “a unification,” on some level, of two people (and most people regardless of class or creed will agree with this) then how can ANYTHING consensual whatsoever all equally contribute to this unification?
It just doesn’t hold.
For those who are truly seeking the logic is unsatisfactory.
Os Guiness wrote:
“One less-satisfactory perspective is the attitude common…that the search is everything and discovery matters little. Often expressed in such phrases as “The search is its own reward” or “Better to travel hopefully than to arrive,” such attitudes fit in well with modern skepticism about final answers and the modern prizing of tolerance, open-mindedness, ambiguity, and ambivalence.
For the serious seeker this view quickly proves unsatisfactory. An “open mind” can be an “empty head,” and “tolerance can be indistinguishable from believing nothing. These are no help in finding honest answer to honest and important questions. To think that it is “better to travel hopefully than to arrive” is to forget that hopeful travel is travel that hopes to reach a goal or destination. Self-condemned to travel with no prospect of arriving anywhere is the modern thinker’s equivalent of the curse of the “flying Dutchman,” condemned to perpetual wandering.”
To be fair, Os was talking about the search for spirituality in general, but this concept is extremely applicable to my journey at this point.
Without clear guidance for how to obtain what I was looking for: i.e. love, acceptance, etc. and with the ideology that any path was acceptable I found myself time and time again lost and broken.
When we look at what the Bible says about our body and how to express it we see in 1 Corinthians 7:11:
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Here’s where the real key came in.
No matter how “removed” spirituality and emotionally I was from a sexual partner, I always felt a bond to that person that had to be broken with rejection and/or ambivalence.
I was repeatedly bringing myself under the power of many.
As I did this, I lost any sort of control or power over my own body.
I could have really used this verse whacked upside my head in college!
The Bible is totally rejecting the world’s postulate here. The Bible is saying, yes, it’s legal (or “acceptable”) but is it helpful: is it freedom creating or freedom prohibiting?”
This behavior would lead me to be intimate with a man and then attempt, based on nothing else than our intimacy, to try and create a relationship from that tie. The act of sex is tethering.
Again, most people in society agree with that statement.
You have the choice then of unification (rare) or, of tethering that tie yourself through self denial or through rejection of the other party.
I would venture to assert that neither option is especially helpful nor “freedom creating.”
Even when I did forge “relationships” out of “intimate moments” (i.e. “hook-ups”) they were extremely unhealthy.
"Relationships" were often violent (which we in our immaturity mistook for “passionate”) and a variety of psychological and emotional abuse would stain my heart for years.
Whenever I got close to leaving a relationship with an ounce of self-respect bubbling, one man in particular would tap into what I wasn’t prepared (yet) to affront: “Do you know how many men you’ve been with Kaitlin? And you want a Christian man? A church-going man? Ha! He’d never want you!”
And, logically, I believed him.