I’ve never been much for bible teaching tapes (do they still call them tapes? Audio teachings. Whatever.) But something compelled me to listen to “The Fight for Life” on Daily Audio Bible. The very first thing I heard was a man’s voice saying “Do you ever feel like life is just a constant assault?” And just then I opened the fridge and a box of cookies fell and hit me on the head. Message received!
It didn’t take me but two minutes of listening to that teaching before I was literally sobbing. Now, it might be because for the first time in three years I was no longer taking an anti-depressant, but I think it was a little bit deeper. It was the validation I was feeling. That I was not alone in this creeping terror that I felt. That there really was a lion seeking to devour me. That my soul would never be fully satisfied on this planet because I longed for a place that no longer existed. That my heart was in Eden.
It’s something that I tried to tell people…when I would try to pull myself together and I’d have a few days of things going really well and then BOOM. Down with an illness. Or BOOM. Down with severe depression. Or shoot, why not both? I have spent a decent wad of cash on vitamins and supplements and doctors and psychiatrists trying to figure out what my deal is. And while I respect the diagnoses I have been given…I would like to add another. Persecuted.
I used to have this Bible…I actually still have it, but I no longer use it. I got it at the Christian Book Store when I was about 16, and I decorated it. With wrapping paper and band stickers and funny decoupage. It even had one of those Ichthus decals for cars right on the front, and prayers and thoughts taped all over the inside. And at Cornerstone Festival my tent flooded and my Bible mildewed…and I honestly have hardly read it since. I had spent so much time underlining and highlighting and writing poetry based on the psalms…it hurt to have to start over.
And that’s what my whole life has been like. I let things like that take over. I don’t fight back. I don’t say no. When the voices whisper that I am no good, that I will never succeed, that I will never have control…I tend to agree. And I let my faith mildew like that Bible because I let a little bit of rain take me out.
I can’t do that anymore. I’ve got to rage against the dying of the light or I will be snuffed out, if not physically, then emotionally and spiritually.
That’s part of what this is about. That voice telling me that if I gave my money away…that my life would be ruined. That I’d never have enough.
That I’d starve.
Now, that’s a ridiculous thought! But deep inside me is the fear that if I do not grab and hoard and store, I will starve.
But we know from the Bible that manna rots…that each portion is for each day.
Not to say we are not to be wise. We should save. But saving and hoarding are two different things.
I have eaten my way to almost 200 lbs because of this fear. Hoarded myself into a house filled with junk (we are getting better but…old habits die hard!) Instead of having things I need, I have a bunch of physical and emotional weight that I don’t want.
Perhaps that is part of what tithing is. Learning to let go. By letting go of a portion of my money…I am letting go of the fear that I will starve and die in ruin.
I believe that with every check we write, the whispering will grow quieter and quieter until I won’t be able to hear it any more.