I will not worry

A few weeks ago, I took my first yoga class. For years I have been fascinated by the idea of yoga, yet old habits die hard and as a recovering Evangelical Christian, I have been a bit fearful of yoga….looking back my fears were based on ignorance. Fear that my mind would be taken over by impure read um Christian ideology. Truth is my faith is strong and those were silly childish fears but I digress.

No, as someone who gets stressed to the point of anxiety attacks, I realized that with everything going on in my life, that I need an outlet for dealing with stress in a positive manner. A manner that does not result in a need for trips to the ER and a dose of Ativan to calm me down.

So I took that first class, I walked in skeptical but left feeling refreshed. The class I am taking is Ashtanga yoga which is a tad physical but still forces me to focus and not worry. However after the first few classes, I was still too wound up and decided to sign up for a Yoga Nidra class, which has no focus on the physical and is focused strictly on the mental practice of yoga.

Um….why haven’t I done this sooner? Seriously, it was an hour that was so needed. The class is a guided meditation and while it sounds hokey as hell, as of right now it works. As the hour progressed, I focused on my goal which is to not worry. I worry way too much, I wake up at 3 am to worry, go to sleep worrying. Truth is when I am engaged in intimate time with the Spousal Unit, I have a hard time turning my brain off. As you can see, I think way too much. Despite being strong in my faith, my human inclination is not to let go and let God but to pray and worry which really is a bad idea.

During my session as the layers were peeled off mentally, I entered a state where I found myself repeating that I would not worry but my mind started reminding me of my favorite bible passages that speak to not worrying. It was a truly cathartic and relaxing experience. In the midst of what some of my fellow Evangelicals would call an un-Godly experience, I felt God’s presence deeper than I have in a very long time.

Sometimes we all need to let go of the mental baggage we carry and open ourselves up to new experiences, as we might surprise ourselves with the new insight that we glean. As for me, this has been a peaceful week. I still have money woes and other trials going on in my life, but instead of worrying, I instead am choosing to trust that things will work out, that God is in charge and knows what I need.

So if you are a worry wart, I highly recommend taking yoga and specifically yoga nidra if its available to you.

Whose truth?

I was not raised in a traditionally Black Christian household, basically church was something we went to every few years, would have been even less than that if it were not for my Pops. My Mom was raised by her Dad who was an atheist and my Pops was a lapsed Southern Baptist. However when I was 17, Pops was diagnosed with throat cancer and given less than 6 months to live, on what he thought was his deathbed, he had a mid-life conversion and long story short he didn’t die and went to seminary and ended up becoming a minister and pastor much to my Mom’s dismay.

By the time he became a preacher and got his own church, I was already married with my own family, however I started coming to his church and ended up becoming a born again Christian. Its been many years and while I still have a deep and personal relationship with Christ, the truth is Christians scare me. I find Christians to be some of the most insincere and hypocritical folks around, I know that is a rather blanket and possibly offensive statement but after years of faithful church attendance and bible reading I decided a year ago to skip church and set  out to gain a better understanding of the word of God sans a preacher, admittedly I have occasionally used my Pops as a reference since he is a rather unorthodox preacher.

In the year since I stopped attending church regularly and stopped searching for a church home, I have immersed myself in the works of folks like Marcus Borg and many others and honestly I feel cheated. Like most faithful church goers who never go beyond what their preacher says, I never understood the foundation of how the Christian church really came to be, how Christianity stole from Paganism to create holidays that we revere such as Christmas. While I still believe that the Bible is God’s word, I am now aware that the words were written by men and also reflect the value system of the times in which the books were written. A point that never seems to get mentioned in many traditional churches, this is why we have Paul offering rules on women in the church, yet upon deeper reflection and research is it practical to say these teachings and advice should be applied in current times? After all how many women especially in the Black community are the true workers at the church holding it down while the preacher reaps all the glory. My Granny died giving all her money to a church that did nothing for her, when she needed a furnace, medications, where was the church? I suspect she was not the only faithful attendee who gave yet when she needed her community it was not there for her.

I also have come to face that the Bible has been misused to keep down and oppress others and as a Black woman, I grapple with that daily. Don’t get me wrong I have always known the bible was used as a tool of oppression but I guess it really hit home when I set my heart to truly grow closer to God and yet studying the bible have really thought how the biblical truths have been used to justify many wrongs.

 Right now I am praying for clarity, there are moments when I think perhaps this Christianity thing is not real but there are too many things I have seen and experienced in life that lead me to know its real.

What’s not real though is how people use the bible and God to create a false truth for their own purposes, be it to sucker people into their congregation or keep people feeling bad about themselves. In an election season we don’t have to look any further than the highly regarded Evangelical Christian vote to see folks who misuse God to create their own truth. These same folks get up in arms about abortion but I ask where is the compassion that Jesus showed on earth? Instead of getting up in arms about so-called liberal issues, if Evangelicals took that same energy and used it with a spirit of compassion maybe there would be less hungry and homeless folks in America.

Right now I am pondering my own journey which may lead me to seminary (talk about irony, another family mid-life journey) but I wonder am I the only one who ponders the issue of truth every day and wonders whose truth to follow?