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Entry 29 – In stressful times where do you go if you don’t “have God”?

July 21, 2010

The past three months since I’ve written have probably been the most difficult in my 39 years to date.  I’ve recently moved nearly a 1000 miles with my wife, little one, and cat to a totally new city to take a promotion at my work. 

I knew taking the promotion wasn’t going to be easy.  I didn’t have much supervisory experience, and I was going to be in a complicated area for doing fieldwork.  I thought my computer experience would more than make up for my lack of supervisory experience.  Man, was I wrong on that one.  My predecessor in the position set the “bar” pretty high for supervisory, technical, and computer expertise.  She literally is a legend in the agency I work.  Now 3 months into the job, and I’m still feeling woefully inadequate living up to these standards. 

I know, I can hear many of you saying something to the effect of, “This doesn’t look like a ‘Recovering Christian-esque’ post, TRC.  What are you doing?” 

The reason I bring up this lament in my work is to raise the furthur question of when you run into these “larger life issues”, if you will; inadequacy in your job, failing as a husband, failing as a father, failing as a friend, when you have no “Higher Power” to turn to, where do you go for help? 

I ask that question knowing full well that there are plenty of places to go: family, friends, therapists, boxing gyms circa 1980 Rocky Part Deux.  It’s just that in some respects I hate to hear from family and friends the,  “Hey, I told you this kind of thing would happen when you turned your back on God!”   I feel a certain amount of pressure to be this ‘cool as a cucumber’, ‘happy go lucky’, ‘somewhat put together’ athesit/agnostic.

So obviously the subtext of the above is that I have alot of pride when it comes to being able to handle the stresses in my life.  I want to be able to rationally get through the “snags”.  I want to be able to logically solve whatever dilemna I’m facing.  I guess in the end I don’t want to have to burden others with my problems.  I want to solve them on my own.  And actually THAT is probably the main part of my problem, all these “I” statements, trying to do this on my own.  I just REALLY have a hard time opening up to others, except what I can do in this semi-anonymous blog state as TRC.

I think things are starting to smooth out a little.  We’re getting used to our new surroundings, not everything is so hectic to figure out RIGHT AWAY, and my wife and I agree that we made the right decision to move.  Yet, I can’t deny that there is this part of me that longs to be back in the comforts of where I’d come from.   Grass is always greener phenomenon working in full force.

Are there others out there that are struggling with this kind of issue? I know I’ve been about as vague as a human being can in terms of my situation, but I hope you get the gist of what I am going through.  If so, what are some of your strategies?  If you are someone like me who really hates to ask for help, how did you go about getting over that ‘hump’ so to speak?

I know I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a job.  I have a family.  And I have my health.  I should be eternally grateful for those 3 things.  But I am human too.  I am going through a bit of a ‘dry spell’ and just thought I’d make this post a bit more immediate and a bit more personal than those of late. 

Thanks for stopping by,


12 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    July 22, 2010 6:56 am

    My friend, I KNOW what you’re going through. Here’s what I’ve done: (1) Gotten some mental-health therapy–my insurance covers a certain number of visits per year to a therapist, and I have used them; and (2) read and gotten into Buddhism, especially the meditation part. And don’t worry. One may certainly be an atheist and be a Buddhist; in fact, most Buddhists are.

    Give me a call sometime soon, friend.

    • Anonymous permalink*
      July 22, 2010 8:06 pm

      Thank you so much, Rob. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. You’ve always been my dearest of friends. Your words and thoughts mean so much.

  2. Linda permalink
    July 22, 2010 7:40 am

    I tend to think we all, regarding whethere we believe in a god or not, ‘survive’ difficult times in our lives… I think when difficult times arrise, we look for things to ‘fill’ the time with agendas that lessen our burden. Some people might exercise more, go to church more, watch TV more… some people it’s becomes a pivotal time where they trying a new adventure and ultimately bring it more into their lives (adapting, changing, growing)… for example, they take an art course and begin to lay a foundation of becoming an amateur artist… maybe turning into a passion….

    I really enjoy reading your posts… I think you could write a book that people would enjoy reading!!!

    • Anonymous permalink*
      July 22, 2010 8:08 pm

      Linda, thank you so much for your comments and kind words. There is definitely strength to be found in knowing others are ‘surviving difficult times’ as you put it. I like that, and will keep surviving, maybe taking up an art class as you suggested. Thanks again!

  3. Cale Johnson permalink
    July 22, 2010 5:17 pm

    It sounds like you have plenty of people telling you to return to God, ask and he’ll provide. I can only tell you…. they’re right. I know you don’t want to hear it, you may have wandered for what you consider good reasons. All I’m wondering is, was God a wilderness to you? Did He not come through for you on some occasion? Or is this simply that you wanted to do it on your own? Whatever the reason, as God’s children we do need him. Just like our children lean on us, we need to lean on God too. Look back at your life, what have you learned in the last 10 years, 5 years, 2 years? We are constantly changing and learning because we never really STOP being children. God’s word really is the best outline for life, and it can relieve sooooo much stress to let Him carry us now and again. And there’s NO shame in that. I know you’re probably at a place you don’t want to hear what I just wrote, but I fully believe it. God picks me up quite often. Let Him help you too. God bless TRC.

    Cale S Johnson

    • Anonymous permalink*
      July 22, 2010 8:40 pm


      I really appreciate your thoughts and taking the time to stop by and read my recent post.

      Regarding your question of God being a wilderness to me, I honestly have to say that my time believing in the supernatural was in a matter of words, quite blissful. I can’t deny that. It truly was. And while I do sometimes long to be back in those types of friendships and communities of faith and belief in an all knowing ‘God’, I know that I wouldn’t be acting in the true nature of what I have come to know about life through my experiences.

      It sounds like your faith is very strong,and you have found a path that works for you to handle stress and life’s pressures. I respect that, and applaud you for finding the right ‘toolset’ so to speak. Obviously I haven’t found that right ‘toolset’ for myself just yet. But I have hope that I will.

      I mean this respectfully, Cale, and please don’t take this as an offense in any way, but I really don’t have any interest in going back to a “supernatural”world view where a ‘God’ is involved in every detail of my life or any detail for that matter. It’s not anything out of anger (I don’t think anyway), it’s more out of my own experiences in terms of what makes sense to me.

      I certainly don’t fault you or others for choosing a world view where a ‘God’ directs everything and knows your every thought. Who am I to say you are wrong in this regard?

      We all have to pursue what we believe to be true. And what I have found in my experience to be true is that the natural world is all that we have. I’d really like to believe that there is more out there than what we can see and feel, and touch, but I don’t have anything in my experience yet on the planet to point toward a world that is above the natural, or supernatural.

      I think in the end, you and I will just have to agree to disagree on this issue. But again, I really do appreciate your thoughts and kind words. I wish you all the best and that your faith remains strong. I truly do.


      I’m not saying definitively that there isn’t a supernatural world, no one can disprove the possibility that there is one. I just have chosen in my

      • December 9, 2010 11:45 am

        This is an excellent response. I have a hard time being both so forthright and yet gentle and gracious at the same time.

  4. July 28, 2010 3:16 pm

    So glad to see you back. Nice posting by the way.

    Please don’t think you always have to post poignant articles about atheism or agnosticism and the like.

    Sometimes just an honest injury into what others think about such common or not so common occurrences makes for a great discussion and post.

    It also helps to turn a gaggle of semi-anonymous personalities into more of a community of, dare I say, friends.

    All the best in your new job.

    Gene S.

    • TRC permalink
      October 26, 2010 5:57 am

      Gene, I just realized I never responded back to your comment from months ago. I am a lame friend in that regard. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and your kind words. I’m now just over 6 months into the new position and things are getting better. I’ve taken the advice of my friend Rob and gotten in a few visits to a clinical psychologist, started in on some meditation exercises, and made it a point to hit the gym at least 3 times a week. I may be turning a corner. I hope I can have the opportunity to meet you one of these days. I was thinking of attending TAM next year in Las Vegas. Is that something you regularly attend or would be interested in attending? Thanks, TRC

  5. April 11, 2011 6:12 pm

    Good on you mate for being so honest. Can relate. More of a Gnostic Agnostic Pantheist myself recovering from a clergical family upbringing. I believe HP resides within.
    Meditation is key for me. Deep relaxation, accessing calm wise inner resources and intuition for big picture perspectives without reactivity creates evenhanded responsiveness. HP is your Soul whatever you take that to be. Could be a high functioning brain in deep meditation. Thoughts create life in ways we only begin to inderstand. Thanks again for your post
    With Metta
    Gregory Goodluck

    • Anonymous permalink*
      April 11, 2011 8:31 pm

      Thanks, Gregory, for your comments. Really appreciate you sharing that. I have recently started doing meditation on the advice of a good friend, and it seems to be helping immensely. I like how you phrased “accessing calm wise inner resources”. Going to have to remember that. Again, many thanks!


  1. Entry 31 – In stressful times, go for ‘Overkill’… « The Recovering Christian

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