I never thought my voice would fade.
The vigor, the passion.
I let someone
You’re too this-
Can’t you see
I’m tired of
Letting go of who
here I am, world.
Here I am, yet again.
Being a disciple of Christ can be one of the loneliest feelings. Simply put, you feel quite ostracized by society. Particularly in this day and age, and in meeting so many wonderful people, mentioning that you’re Christian feels almost taboo. It’s not that I don’t connect with non-Christians; it’s just that I feel that it’s a large part of my life that seems like a turn-off to many that I meet. So I either consciously or unconsciously keep my faith at bay, even when the Holy Spirit feels like it’s burning within me. Don’t wanna char anyone!
Religion is seen as archaic, and , well, the opiate of the masses. I suppose this is what lead me to meet my spouse on a faith-based dating website! (Well, that and Divine Providence!) In all seriousness, it felt nearly impossible to find a guy my age practicing his faith with equal fervor. At least for who I am as a person, it was so important to share that deepest part of me with the love of my life.
It’s hard to feel deeply lonely among your peers and most especially among your own family at times. The latter can really grate at your soul, and pierce you, because your family is who you love the most. I used to so fervently blog on my site “Catholic Twenty Something.” However, as the years passed, I noticed my vigor for writing about my faith taper down– sadly, almost to a trickle.
And after years of introspection and prayer, it finally dawned on me what had actually happened. I succumbed to bullying. I let a few angry, judgmental voices of individuals near and dear to me really erode my heart. Perhaps they did not know they were hurting me so. But in so many instances, it truly felt like they knew, and they simply wanted to have their word with me. By the grace of God, and truly not my own strength or willpower, I have forgiven them and moved on.
For NO matter the faith walk of those that I love, I love them because they are who they are– not because they do nor do not support my faith walk. Loving someone just because they make you feel a certain way or approve of all of the things you do and say– well, that’s probably a utilitarian relationship at best. I want to love like Christ loved. And he especially loves those who hate him.
But it’s true that those who you love the most can hurt you the most. And their words can break you. And my heart, well, it sank, and sank, and sank listening to such voices. Deeper and deeper into an abyss, into the darkness. Yet my eyes were always pointed to the light of Christ.
It just felt as if I had let my voice… drown. Under those who are so much more confident than I am, so much more approved by everyone else I know. But my life is not meant to be a sob story. Being a disciple of Christ is a life of JOY, at least in my own journey! And in this bullying, I found the deepest peace I had ever met, in the pierced heart of Christ Himself.
In these last few years of feeling like my zeal to evangelize was dampened, God actually did something amazing: He stirred that thirst for Him even more vigorously within, in a contemplative, meditative way. And He brought truth to my situation: (a) that the pain from this kind of bullying was stopping me from being the beautiful person that He made me to be!, and (b) that His love and approval is worth gold, and that the love and approval of the world is rubbish.
During these years, God has never ceased to send people to walk alongside me in my faith walk, with open ears and open hearts. I have so many strengthened relationships, and a much stronger marriage, because of this internal struggle. And step by step, in many ways– and this blog being one of them!– I hope that I can reclaim my voice that began to fade a few years ago.
Have you ever been in such a situation? I encourage you to take it to contemplation, meditation, and prayer. No voice deserves to be silenced. Wonder about how your feeling silence has strengthened your soul and made you a resilient person, with an even more powerful voice.