It's a strange feeling, this being content... Not an emotion, exactly, though it does manifest as deeply iridescent bubbles that break through and tickle my heart from time to time.

Emotions. I've had plenty of those over the past few days, weeks, and months. Anxiety, discouragement, pain, fear, hope, joy, love, betrayal, depression, doubt, relief, courage... the list goes on and on. My emotional life tends toward the turbulent. Even these past few days, I've swung over a pretty good area of the grid.

This "content", though... it's different. Associated with emotions, but not an emotion in and of itself. It's like, even after watching the movie and going through the inevitable "bad" feelings... the content was still there, underneath. It's like... I'm happy with my life. I like where I'm at, I like where I'm headed... I'm happy with the way I'm handling life...

I am having such a difficult time putting this into words!! That's unusual for me.

I guess it's just that I believe I'm making good decisions with my life, I deep to my core believe I'm doing the right thing, and maybe that's a little unusual for me to have that certainty. One of the worst things about Christianity was the whole "following God's will except that you don't actually really know God's will and you have to walk by faith but remember that the devil is walking about like a roaring lion and tricking people so be careful because even if something seems to be the right thing it may actually not be and by taking a leap of faith you might actually be playing right into Satan's hands but you still need to be in God's will so just... pray" thing. I was literally paralyzed with fear over doing the wrong thing. All the time. I couldn't make a decision in my life, hardly, and if I did I was consumed with worry that I'd done the wrong thing until something amazing happened that would reassure me that I had aimed right. It felt like trying to throw a dart at the period at the end of the sentence from eight feet away.

But now... now that I'm thinking through decisions myself, weighing the pros and cons and taking responsibility for the future consequences and ramifications of my actions, well... it's freeing, really. Going to school is a good decision. Being with C is a good decision. Marrying him is even better. You know what? Leaving church was a good decision. I know, I know. Heathen. Going to hell. Whatever. If you look at the fruits of a decision, you see whether it was good or not. Setting boundaries, interpersonal relationships with people of different convictions, examining my relationship with God, study about what and why I believe, re-examination of my self-worth and relationship to performance... contentment. Contentment that I didn't have while I was "in the faith". Fear robbed me of that. Fear and uncertainty. Fear of doing wrong, of being wrong, of rejection. Boy, have I ever had to face up to those fears! Seriously. When you're paralyzed by the thought of making a mistake and an entire subculture will unanimously stand up and declare you to be making a mistake, well...

No, I didn't leave church so that I could party without feeling bad. I left so that I could live my life without feeling bad, I think.

And thus I am content.

Bad stuff will continue to rock my boat. Stress sends me limping to bed some days. Finances leave me curled up and sobbing on the bed from time to time. Nightmares and flashbacks wind me up to tense and raging.

But underneath that all, once the storm clouds blow over a little... I still like who I am. And I still like where I'm at. And I still like who I'm with. And I still think that God and I, we're going to be okay.

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