Dear Regina — March 7, 2016

Where am I

Right now I’m 25 without a lot going on for me. Like I said, I didn’t finish school, and it seems like I might not finish school any time soon. I have very little programming skills to show for after four years of community college, I can filter things and use VLOOKUP in Excel from two years of working, I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu last month, and I write really bad songs. For the most part, this is pretty much it.

I am not impressive. I am not a hard worker, and I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s a dangerous combination. I freeze up and disengage in most situations, like church.

I promised myself that this church school year I’d see things through and stay as hopeful as possible. There have been many times where I stopped going to church in the past.

Giving up

I always give up. Giving up ranks high on my top 5 skills I use to destroy my life. Starting in high school, I would periodically go on a month long hiatus from church because I was so done with it. I hated the way people were, called them fake, and thought the services were all a sham. What was the point of going to a church day in and day out without seeing any change in my life, my friends, or anyone else in the congregation? It was obvious no one wanted to really be there. No one was really excited about worshiping God. No one really cared about each other enough to do anything for each other. I noticed these deficiencies in church because I noticed these deficiencies in me. I held onto any excuse I could use to justify my unwilling and decaying heart.

Most times, I gave up on church because I gave up on me.

I plunged myself into video games, anime, and movies because I couldn’t will myself to do anything else (honestly, I still have a really hard time not playing video games). I agonized meeting new people from UCSD or SDSU and letting them know that I wasn’t doing anything with my life. College held so much prestige in my eyes. It meant a person knew what he/she was doing. It meant that person didn’t mess up their life as much as I did. People who went to church seemed so handsome and beautiful, where as I had acne/acne craters, horrible teeth that were broken/chipped/decayed (more on this later), and a lack of mental clarity from staying up late at night because I hated waking up to a new day. Sometimes, when I was Christian enough, I didn’t mind meeting new people because I was serving, being loud in worship, and “living” for God. But a majority of the time, and even today, I hated talking about my life. I bombarded others with questions and feigned excitement regarding their lives because it would diminish the chances that they would start asking about me. The less they knew, the better. The less I had to think about my life, the better.

When I stopped going to church for those month long spells, I didn’t shower regularly. I wouldn’t eat regularly. I wouldn’t sleep regularly. I would wake up, get on my computer, and go to bed. My mom would bring my food up to my computer desk because I wouldn’t even go downstairs. I gave up on life and let the worst parts about myself initiate autopilot. I lost a lot of weight, time, friends, and melanin.

One time, when I first got into World of Warcraft, the only observation of the outside world came through a window. Here’s how the days looked like:

[sunny, sunny, sunny, overcast, rain, rain, overcast, sunny, sunny, sunny] * 3 = 30 days of giving up. It felt like one of those time lapse montages documenting a season’s change.

People tried to reach me. They called and they texted, but what did it matter? I didn’t want to see them. I didn’t want to be seen. I appreciated their thoughts, but I had already given up. If I held out long enough, they would give up too.

Recently, I stopped going to church (the ALC/main service) because I don’t really understand the point of Sunday service. I’m not depressed or sad. I just really don’t want to go. I don’t get anything out of it.

Why should I have to go on Sunday morning when I’m going to church 4–5 other days of the week? Why do I need to go to a 9:30am service when I have to serve through another service right after, and then go to another service at 4:00pm? And honestly, why do I have to go when I’m serving and attending the extra meetings while 90% of the congregation can’t touch my church output? I know I sound like a pompous, self-righteous idiot, but no one has been able to answer my questions so far. I still don’t know why I need to go on Sunday morning if I’m getting everything that I “need” the rest of the day/week. And frankly, I wouldn’t mind going if the service somehow helped me in any capacity. But during worship, I don’t feel God; during sermons, I don’t hear God; and when I leave my pew, I am not empowered by God to live any differently than I am right now.

I guess it doesn’t matter anymore because I’ve decided to stop going to church altogether. No more LinC. No more Immanuel Church.

I’ve been meeting up with a youth student regularly, once a week, and going through discipleship with him. One discussion pertained to the idea of losing faith. He told me it’s hardest for him to hold onto faith when things start getting uncomfortably chaotic. He said he notices his lack of faith when he starts taking matters into his own hands because he doesn’t trust God enough to let Him deal with it.

I don’t remember what I told him. I’m pretty sure I suggested to stop reacting that way. I probably told him to have more faith. I guess I need more faith right now because I don’t think I can trust that God will take care of everything for me. I don’t think it’s smart to rely solely on God right now.

I’m panicking.

I can’t think of what else I can do. I know that I’m not wrong in stepping down from serving. I can’t stand before these youth students and their parents and pretend to model a Christian life. I can’t even stand before myself with my huge failure grimacing at me. I messed up, and I hate myself for it.

Pastor Dan told me to stick around and let the community be a part of the whole process. I don’t think he knows what it feels like to get someone pregnant. I don’t think he knows how I feel knowing that I can’t provide for you right now. I get that he wants to have this really nice picture of a church coming together to help me out, but he doesn’t understand how much it hurts to be with my church friends and family. I feel like I failed them. I have.

I can’t stay at church anyway. I need to buy time before I tell my parents. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t ever tell them and just have a day where I swing by with you in my arms. I don’t know how they’re going to react but I can’t bear the thought of it right now. I’ve messed up so many times, they specifically told me to not get your mom pregnant, and here I am. So right now I just need to work hard, save up, and find an apartment where I can move in with you and your mom. I’m pretty sure my dad is going to kick me out. I would.

I know I need more faith, but right now, I need money. We need money.