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Am I the problem?

By Mark F

I always used to think that I was the problem.

Growing up I was always painted as something of an outsider. I was that annoying kid in youth group that always took the opposite opinion. I suppose you could say that I was always trying to be a freethinker, but over time the labels and the constant framing of me simply being combative and argumentative for the sake of it took it's toll.

Time and pressure and the ever growing need to prove – to overcompensate – led to extreme zealotry and a 5-year entanglement with the ministry of one Ray Comfort (sorry if we dare not speak his name here). At the time I genuinely wanted to save souls. Again, this part of my life took it's toll emotionally; trying to save the world from damnation will do that to you.

Fast forward to 2008. I had a hyper-manic episode and was diagnosed Bi-Polar. This rocked my world. The foundations I had built my life on were in a moment shattered. I didn't know if I could hold onto my faith through this storm. A friend of mine gave me a couple of Rob Bell books which created enough space for me to feel that there was at least some room for me in the Christian tradition.

This brings me to the present day, here and now.

I am slowly waking up to this overwhelming feeling that if I call myself a Christian or I don't, then absolutely nothing changes. Either way I still love my family and friends, I still want to work and contribute to the world in some meaningful way. I still want to be here.

One Christian trope that I am waking up is the utter bullshit idea that says, "Don't trust your feelings." We all trust and run our lives on our feelings. It's how we navigate the world and in some cases it's how we survive.