DDGBD #7 / Going to Church

3 10 2010

Goals to accomplish by December:
Finish trek tri in under 2 hours (done)
Dead lift 150 pounds (done)
Consistently run 10 minute mile (done)
Get into size 12 pants (done)
Make my bed everyday (on going progress)

It’s time I come up with some more goals. Let me get back to you on that.

I’m in a rough place emotionally as I write this post (not surprising I guess) so am having a difficult time coming up with a proud moment. Let me get back to you on that.

Need to work on the following:

Not pushing myself to the brink of pain and then getting angry at myself when I can’t “perform” to the best of my ability (another post, another day).

___________________________________________________________________________

Today I’m going to do something I haven’t done in over 19 years: I’m going to church. One of the things I NEVER expected to happen while on this LCJ is to discover my need to examine my spirituality. I thought I’d lose some weight, run a few hundred races over the course of my new found life and be happy with all that I’ve achieved.

Something is missing.

I don’t know what that “something” is but I am about to begin another portion of this journey to find out. I’ve never been much of a religious person….Okay let me rephrase that: I’ve never been a religious person. When I was a kid, I was such a loner and needed attention so badly that every summer I would go to three or four different vacation bible schools just to hang out with other people. When I say kid, I mean I started going when I was just a wee thing of 7 (all my decision to go, walked myself there, never told my mom – who didn’t pay enough attention to me to even wonder where I was going) and continued to do so until the age of 12 or 13 when messing around with boys gave me all the attention I needed.

Fast forward to being 20, coming off of meth and watching my mother die of cancer I turned to the church again. The man who ran the drug and alcohol pre-treament house I was living at was a very quiet religious man and I admired him immensely. He would take us all to church on Sundays. We were a retched group of people but he didn’t care. He was one of us (recovering drug addict himself) and wanted to show us there was life after drugs. There was life after death. There was life. I had the religious epiphany I think many recovering drug addicts have when replacing one addiction for another. I threw myself into the church the same way I did when I was a kid except this wasn’t for a week during the summer. This was everyday, praying to something (or someone) I didn’t understand. Going to a church and blending in but feeling way out of place. Listening to people “speak in tongues” and then asking “God” why I couldn’t do that and did it mean I wasn’t good enough. I began to ask questions that no one was ready to answer (Why am I a drug addict, why am I queer, why am I not being filled with this Holy Spirit you speak of, does “God” hate me, how do I know this entity exists, what the hell is faith).

Eventually I stopped going.

I never stopped thinking about my spirituality. Always in the back of my mind I wondered “is there something more”. I’m a very scientifically based person but something else inside of me wants to believe that even that scientifically based info comes from a different beginning. I believe we are all connected. I believe the worm I save from being stepped on after a long rain is just as important as any human that walks this earth. I believe that the tree I hug in my backyard has feelings and it knows me when I touch it. I believe that when my dog Penny looks me in the eyes she’s actually trying to make a connection to my soul and more often than not, does.

I can’t deny that in the last 9 months on this journey, something wonderous has been happening. For so many years (my entire adult life) I shut people out. While it’s true I was afraid to let them in and see me for who I was, I was more afraid to let ME see me for who I was. As I began to lose the weight, I began to shed the fortress that surrounded me, protected me and kept my eyes from seeing the possibilities. As I began to lose the weight, I began to open up my heart and I’ll be damn if I didn’t start thinking about my walk with God. Is this the same epiphany I had 20 years previous? No. Did I immediately run to my local meglomaniac church and proclaim myself Born again? No. Did I throw myself down at the mercy of God and cry for his forgiveness? No. Did I quietly begin to contemplate my journey and begin to wonder if there was more to this LCJ than losing weight and running races? Yes. In doing so I’ve met some pretty awesome people who are on their own spiritual journey and more than willing to share the path with me. People I had no idea they even went to church or believed in God. When I shared my decision to go back to church and begin my exploration they said “We’ve been praying for you”.

I don’t know what this portion of my journey will look like. I’m not sure of what answers I’m looking for if any. I just know that there is a something pulling me to walk down this new path and if there is one thing I’ve learned…

You should never be too afraid to take that first step.

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20 responses

3 10 2010
Josie

Tara, I can relate to this on MANY levels. It’s weird that a journey to change our physical self morphs into something SO MUCH BIGGER, but it has.

I’ll be thinking of you as you venture outside your comfort zone today. xoxo

3 10 2010
Jules - Big Girl Bombshell

Tara..You have come so far…There is a difference between spirituality and religion…In my book….Spirituality honors the spirit within… whatever YOU believe in…Religion is the teachings of others.. In my humble opinion…I believe in a LOT of the same things you do….

But what I am discovering most of all is the three! Mind, Body, Spirit….is the basis of the spiritual journey…you need to honor all three….

Incredible POST!

3 10 2010
SeattleRunnerGirl

Boo, I think it’s awesome you are following this lcj wherever it leads you. And I don’t know all the answers, but I do know this: God doesn’t hate you. He loves us all. Oh, plus I know that I love you!!

3 10 2010
Molly

I’ve grown up in a Cathloic home. My mom is hardcore Catholic- at first when I was little I hated going to church. I asked many questions like you did. As I got older though, I enjoy the sense of peace that I have while at church. When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, I went to God. I prayed he would make my mom better. She is doing extremely well now. I recently have gone to him on this journey. I have been trouble losing weight at a consistent pace and I recently was told I need to go on my second treatment of Accutane. I know my emotions will change when I go on it and I pray that he helps me stay strong. God loves everyone. He is there for you through thick and thin. Great post Tara.

3 10 2010
KCLAnderson (Karen)

It has taken me 40+ years to even want to believe in God and to finally find a “definition” that makes sense to me. I found it in the book Eat Pray Love: “God dwells within you, as you yourself, just the way you are.” I am not religious, meaning that I don’t align myself with any religion, and I don’t identify as Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan etc. There are bits and pieces from all religions that resonate with me so I can’t pick just one.

In any case, I am finding, like you, that the more I strip a way, the more I find…

3 10 2010
MsGigglepuss

I think it is wonderful that you’re opening yourself up and exploring faith. I was one of those kids who went to church school every Sunday and church camp every year to be with friends. After some horrible experiences, I avoided church like the plague. “Why would God let this happen?”…”Why does he hate me?”…all that junk. Lately, I’ve found myself having faith conversations with others, and it makes me want to get back to a church and building a relationship with God again. Thanks for making me think!

3 10 2010
Kate

You are amazing. This is one of the most inspiring posts I have read. I am so happy/joyful/proud that you have found so many parts of your self lost or previously hidden. And spirituality is a beautiful thing that does not require religion, but is a beautiful relationship with God/the universe. Good luck with everything on your LCJ and I am blessed to read your insightful posts.

3 10 2010
Ryan @NoMoreBacon

I love this post Tara! Good for you for seeking the missing piece. I have sooo many thoughts on this but many are too personal to just leave floating around the Internet. I’d be happy to chat about it sometime if you want to.

One thing I will say for sure is that we are all family, God is our Father, and he loves ALL of his children, regardless of mistakes we make, social status, or where we find ourselves on this LCJ.

4 10 2010
Donmarie

Tara- I have been following your blog for awhile now and find that it absolutely speaks to me and the journey I am on as well. I completely agree with your posting today that as you shed your outer layers you feel the need to explore yourself in a deeper way and spirituality, whatever form that takes for you is a huge part of this journey…..best wishes and keep the posts coming, I am ejoying them so very much 🙂

4 10 2010
Liz

Tara, this was a very inspiring post. I, too, have been struggling with many aspects of my life: weight, emotions, spirituality, blogging to lose, you name it. I am so very proud of you for making the progress that you’ve made on your LCJ. I look forward to reading more about your journey. Good luck and God Bless.

4 10 2010
ed

Tara, It is truley scary how much our lives reflect each other right now..Scary. Love you! There is so much that I want to say to you about this post, but I’ll have to save it for a more personal message or something.

4 10 2010
cindie

This is SO my favorite post I’ve ever read of yours! Now that u are at this part of your journey, you are gonna look back at yourself in a year and be amazed at the impossible strides you’ve made.
Tara I’m so excited to follow your blog!

4 10 2010
GeorgiaBE

WOW–I’m right there with you in finding the spiritual again. We found a small church where the people are friendly and the message isn’t rammed down our throats. I’ve been so awed and overwhelmed by some who don’t even know us but have come to hold our hands as we’ve dealt with serious hospital stays over the past few years…we don’t go regularly, we don’t participate enough. But as I’ve been changing my life, the life of my family is changing as well and we’ve been talking about finding the spiritual again (that we’ve somehow left behind as we pursued the rest of our lives). I hope you’ll write about what you find as you hit this part of your journey.
Oh, and I think we should form a club: make the bed club that is! Keep track and see who does it the most in a month! 🙂

5 10 2010
MizFit

Love this.
the older I get the more deeply I explore my faith and spirituality and FOR ME the more grateful I am to be of a faith which is soooooo varied and more abot the intellectual than the dogma.

5 10 2010
scalewarfare

It’s so great having been able to follow your journey from the begining. It gives me a peek of what my future will hold. The idea that the inside doesnt necessarily match the outside really resonates with me. Right now I feel like the outside is not a good picture of what the inside feels like, but when the outside changes will the inside still feel the same or will it still feel like it doesnt match the outside? Gave me a lot to think about 🙂

5 10 2010
Meegan (redstar5)

T – this LCJ we’re on is such an interesting process as it all unfolds.
I love that you’re bringing yourself back to realize you do need to set some more goals. Goals give us some focus and clarity somehow. Why can’t your proud moment this week being open to accept the challenge of looking to fulfil that spiritual curiosity of yours. Its a good thing, and definitely a proud moment.
How about your request of the GF to put you on scale restriction again, reconizing you needed that limitation is a proud moment for sure!

You’re reaching a whole new plane of work to be done. You never cease to amaze and inspire me woman! I seriously don’t know if all the work we’re doing on the outside will ever entirely catch up with our insides, but you know what, maybe that’s a damn good thing – we’ll always be cognizant of who we are an where we’ve come from.

xo – M

10 10 2010
jayme

tara, thanks so much for this post. good on you for being open to the yearnings of your spirit. i’ll be thinking of you as you take these steps to rejuvenate this part of you as well. i’ll be hoping that the church or community you find to nurture you spiritually will see your value and love you with abandon. and i’ll be hoping that God makes God’s self real to you in a way that provides you with comfort, challenge, love, affirmation and hope. looking forward to seeing wherever this journey takes you.

jayme

11 10 2010
shellibelly

Like an onion the layers reveal so much of our true selfes. You’re so brave. Follow your heart .

13 10 2010
Kyra

Tara, post after post you blow me a way. You have so much insight and strength within you. Continued blessings on you in your journey.

20 02 2011
Dear Tara… « Life Changing Journey (LCJ)

[…] you began to listen to your heart, you realized that it was time to take that physically fit body back to church. For a little over two months you pushed forward. Slowly watching the numbers on the scale move […]

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