My life was turned on its head in 2019. What I held true crumbled around me. It’s been an unsettling period of growth. A period of learning while unlearning. A period of grief and healing. A period of seeing where I’ve been and rediscovering who I am, what I believe/think, and which direction I want to go.
My word for this year (2021) was HEAL. I have learned so much in the process. I’ve realized that it wasn’t just about digging deep into old wounds. It’s been about learning my coping mechanisms, understanding why I’ve reacted in certain ways, why my mind leans towards certain thoughts, and why I believe/believed certain things about myself and the world around me. It’s been about tuning in to my body, mind, and spirit. It’s been about listening to my inner knowing and recognizing when something resonates with me versus when something falls flat. It’s been about change, education, progress, and understanding.
I’ve had to disappear into myself. I’ve become nearly a hermit as I’ve not been able to face the outside world on a regular basis. It wasn’t just about social anxiety or the fear of catching a virus. It was hugely because I knew I was changing and that who I was is no longer entirely who I am. Growth is a part of life, and the past couple of years the growth process has been difficult to navigate.
And that growth began with grief. All the death I encountered in 2019 shook me up and left me questioning everything I thought I knew.
Five deaths. Five deaths between May of 2019 to January of 2020 (including my Nana & my Granny). And if I’m honest, it’s all I’ve been able to think about since. Not fearing death per se but realizing how quickly someone can be taken from this place. And the majority of what I’ve been focused on lately is what happens AFTER death. So much of what I’ve believed no longer resonates with me.
The more I research and learn, the more soul searching I do, the more I seek wisdom and understanding, the more I’m left wondering how it all really works. Because ultimately, I think we are ALL pretty clueless. We can only go off of speculation and what we’ve been taught to believe, but really, we have no idea, because we’re all still here!
So let me just be honest; Westernized Christianity is no longer where I stand. Believe me, it was much simpler for me when I thought I had it figured out. A huge part of me wishes I could go back, because it’s hard to be the odd man out in a place predominately driven by religion, especially in the Bible Belt. I’ve felt isolated and alone as I navigate through rediscovering God and our relationship.
Now, don’t get it twisted. Yeshua (Jesus) is where MY heart lies. (Friends of different faiths, this is NOT a conversion post for “nonbelievers.” Please keep reading.)
The works of men serving their own agendas by interpretating and compiling writings into book form is not why I call God by the name Yeshua (Jesus). Instead, I’ve had my own experiences where I’ve called on that name and have literally encountered unfathomable power and love during those times. I do not, however, think God is the same for all people. I will not condemn anyone else to a so-called “hell” simply because God chooses to talk to them in a different way than me.
I can hear family members, friends and some of my previous church members gawking at this and declaring I’m lost, and they’ll pray for me. Which is fine! I love prayer and time with God, so go for it! But I can no longer pretend to be a devout member of a religion to which I can no longer relate. Please know this is NOT to knock anyone’s religion. If that works for you, then wonderful! Whatever brings you peace is where you should be. But I personally cannot follow legalistic doctrine of any kind anymore.
Being in the room with my Granny when she left this world is an experience I can’t ignore. Granny was an earnest Christian. She loved Jesus with her whole heart, proclaimed the gospel to all she encountered, prayed without ceasing, read her Bible, could quote scripture off the top of her head, served others selflessly, and praised and worshipped like no one else I’d ever met. She was everything anyone within the Christian religion aims to be. She was all of that and yet tormented by guilt, always assuming she didn’t do enough, and wasn’t good enough (aka too sinful) to be deserving of God’s love and grace. I’m certain it wasn’t God who made her feel that way; it was the human interpretation of who God is and the teachings of how bad we all are, undeserving of finding favor in our Creator, so we must be saved from ourselves to make things right between us and God.
The presence who came into the room with Granny and me as she left her body was not the God who fits so neatly into who we try to put in a box. That presence was breathtaking, overpowering, and left me shaking in my own skin. I know some people who knew my grandmother probably think she would be so disappointed in the things I’m saying and the path I’m currently on. I know for certain—you are wrong. SHE now has answers to questions we can’t even put into words. She is now a part of things unknown to us and sees clearer that any of us. She certainly does not judge me, she is not disappointed, and I consistently feel her guiding me in love. She is never far away. She whispers in my ear when I’m fearful and comforts me when I’m confused. She cheers me on to keep searching and rediscovering the Creator and Lover of us all.
There is so much more I could say here, but I won’t because I’m no expert. I no longer have beliefs, only thoughts and explorations. I’m just a soul searching for truth and wisdom in a time where everything tries to distract us from doing so.
Anyway, I guess I shared all this to get it out in the open, because hiding it has been painful. I even thought about making a new blog to share this spiritual journey, but that’s not being true to myself. That’s just more hiding. I don’t want to hide. Our entire being is made up in the physical, mental, and spiritual. And since my focus is on mental health and self-love, then it would be doing a great injustice to try and separate my spiritual journey from the rest of who I am.
I feel this is a time of rediscovering myself by getting deeper in touch with the true me and shedding layers of expectation and conditioning I’ve acquired throughout my lifetime. I’m walking this journey with my eyes wide open, expectantly anticipating what my Creator/Love/Light/Life wants me to learn. I’m still growing and learning and changing every single day. I’m slowly rediscovering Amanda Jewel. What an exciting, tumultuous time it’s going to be.
Love, Light, and Peace to you, sweet souls.