Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Paradox

A funny thing has happened to me as I've grown in my faith.

Sometimes I feel worse.

Let me explain...

When I was younger, I would show up to Mass each Sunday, put my token offering in the basket, and smile on the way back to my real life. If someone asked if I was practicing Catholic, I responded with an affirmative "why, yes I am!  Just ask me on Sunday mornings!"

In retrospect, I was just going through the motions.  At Mass and outside Mass.

But I was blissfully doing so.  As far as I knew, I was acting just how God wanted me to.  In my own ignorant mind, I was an excellent Catholic.  Yup ... the Big Guy was surely smiling at me every day ... just pleased as could be.

Fast forward to today - and while I am certainly no model Catholic, I am light years ahead of where young Michael was.

Here is the irony though ...

The more I learn about our our religion and the closer I grow to God, the less blissful I sometimes feel.

Sure, there are times when I am the happiest person on Earth because I can feel God's love.

But there are other times when I sit there and ponder how much I have let Him down.  How far I must be from His plan.  How disappointed He must be in me every day.

And that is painful.

I didn't feel that way before my journey, of course.  I didn't know any better.

Don't get me wrong, I would never go back.  Just the opposite, in fact.  I'm going to keep limping forward on this long but beautiful path.

But the paradox of it all really hit me this week.

Have any of you felt this?

God Bless.


P.S.  In times like these, I like to remind myself how much God loves us no matter what.  And this song by Jason Gray is perfect for doing just that.  (Bonus points for being one of those catchy songs you can't help but tap your foot to as you sing along ...)






9 comments:

Shirley said...

Yep I know just how that feels. That is a beautiful video, thanks for sharing.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

The thing is ... we all feel like you've described from time to time. We feel distant, perhaps not living up to what He expects of us.

But as parents, don't we sometimes feel the same about our children when they let us down? Don't we love them all the same? Perhaps even more than before?

So does He love us ... when we fail Him time and again.

God bless.

Jade said...

I know what you mean! Ignorance can be bliss and awareness doesn't always make us happy or feel pleasurable to us...yet in my experience, awareness of my sins and faults have developed into a deeper relationship with my Creator, which brings much more profound joy. Sounds like you've come to the same conclusion. My prayers are with you, dear Michael :)

Kathryn said...

Michael, I completely can relate to this paradox you describe! But, like you, I wouldn't turn back either.

After those times of conversion in our lives where we feel the presence of God's love in our hearts, it seems as though there always comes a time later where we start to feel worse, but where God is building our trust in Him, and so we learn to keep walking in faith.

This is a great song! Thanks for sharing :) God always touches my heart through music.

Karinann said...

Michael,
I can definitely relate. I think that part of it is the stripping God does to us and for us, to help us see who we really are in His eyes. The truth of ourselves can sometimes be painful, but trusting in God's love for us will keep us going forward toward Him.
I love this song by Jason Gray; I have heard it a few times this week. Thanks for sharing it here.
God bless.

Daily Grace said...

Michael, I,too, can totally relate to your paradox. Every time I wake up I ask that I do it better today than yesterday.

Great post, great video.

Colleen said...

Great post. I think as we grow closer to God, we see ourselves more as sinners. The bright light of God makes the sins clearer to us! St Teresa of Avila used to say she was the worst sinner in the world!
And we go to church because we need to. Not because we are perfect.
We just need to trust that God loves us the same today as yesterday. His love for us never changes.

Michael said...

Thanks for all your comments! Always nice to hear what you are thinking.

And glad you liked the video!

God Bless.

Anne said...

Michael, just this past week I was crying to a friend because a few years ago he complimented me on my spiritual growth and I was sure he was right, that I had grown by leaps and bounds, but as I was speaking with him last week I realized that I was probably even further behind than I had been a few years ago.

I suppose it's impossible to ever feel that we are growing in holiness when we keep learning more about our sinfulness.

Your post here as well as all of the above comments are very comforting! Thank you for writing this!