The Most Unconventional Ways of Experiencing God
Day 1 of 7: For Addictions and Internalization
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind…”
-Job 38:1 (NRSV)
I remember pulling my phone out of my purse to check the time. 11:00 pm––music was blaring, folks were outside talking and laughing. I felt a sense of panic knowing that the bartender would shout out a last call in two hours. I only had two hours left to drink. I drank as much as I could in that window of time. I really didn’t care about making intimate connection; I cared about numbing the pain throbbing in my soul; the pain of loneliness, heartache, and depression. I was at a gay bar in West Hollywood with my Queer friends––the only people on the planet who knew and accepted my gayness––and I was broken inside.
By this time I had become so used to being around people while I was drinking that unlearning how to do that later in life was incredibly difficult. Drinking became the only way I could function in social settings. You see, I hated myself, and alcohol made it so that for a brief moment during the day I could forget that fact. I hated myself because of my being gay and what I thought that meant in relation to God and my faith.
Rigorous training and grooming by leaders in the Church made me hold to the belief that if I did something wrong, God would not speak to me. God would never speak to a gay woman. According to the Church, my whole self was wrong in perpetuity. As a result of this, I should never expect God to love me.
I could never experience God in the ways that the Church had determined or in the ways the Bible spoke of because the Church had already decided that I was deplorable––and I believed them. The way in which I had learned to cope with that fact was by drinking. My abuse of alcohol became so severe I began to have blackouts. I would lose track of major portions of the night before. I couldn’t remember things I had said or done. What alcohol masked temporarily suddenly became exacerbated by even more dread in losing control. I was a mess.
Because of this addiction, I lost nearly everything. It felt like chaos. It felt insurmountable and irredeemable.
It was then that God spoke to me in the whirlwind…
Beloved, nothing you could ever do would be insurmountable for God. Nothing in the world could ever sever or separate you from God or from God’s boundless love for you. In the times and moments of your life when you feel most alone, when you feel doubt, emptiness, and brokenness, God is ever present. It may not feel that way, and you have every right to feel frightened by the unknown. Lean into that ambiguity and experience the ways in which God surprises you and heals you by their presence.