Between Faith and a Hard Place

02-20 Steeple

I recently found myself at a crossroads of sorts; sandwiched between my faith and a desire for freedom from my circumstances.  For many crushing weeks, I’ve wrestled with the rub of choices (mistakes) I’ve made. I’m coming to terms with my life being an “is what it is” situation, for now. I don’t see hope when I look forward, but I’m trying to have faith that God has more planned for me than what I can see. Some days it’s harder to have faith than others, but I take each day as it comes.

In the depths of all-consuming darkness, I came to a realization: rather than focus on what’s missing or what should be, I need to turn my attention to what I already am. It occurred to me that I’ve never depended on anyone to provide me with happiness, so why would I allow someone to steal it from me and disrupt my inner peace? My answer: I shouldn’t- and I have to change this.

I have obligations to keep.  Most of the time, the weight is too much to bear and I want to just sleep, but I can’t allow this to immobilize me any longer.  I can’t let my future to be so burdened by past mistakes that today is lost. In this moment, I see my life is worth more than that. Tomorrow, I may be snared once again by the trap of what isn’t, but I will try to refocus and remind myself that my success/failure is not dependent on only one aspect of my life.

I’m still surrounded by uncertainty, but if my state of mind holds, I hope to return to more regular writing – once a week for now. Thanks again to all the wonderful people (both online and in person) who have encouraged, prayed and otherwise helped me during this low period in my life. You are special to me 🙂

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69 thoughts on “Between Faith and a Hard Place

  1. joannesisco February 22, 2015 / 8:10 AM

    I find my thoughts too overwhelmed to write something meaningful and coherent. This is too big to comment on short of saying I’m encouraged by your words. You say ‘finding peace’ … and I’m hoping you mean “taking back control”.
    We can’t control the people in our lives, but we can control our reaction to them and what they do.
    I continue to wish you strength and happiness.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:09 AM

      I’m glad you are encouraged with this, Joanne. It’s always a hope that something I write will have some effect on someone who reads them. I don’t know if I will gain control or not, but I do intend to put in more effort in not feeding into the negativity. I have to find myself again somewhere in this 🙂

      • joannesisco February 22, 2015 / 11:50 AM

        Shedding negativity is work in itself but it’s worth the effort to refuse to let it in … there are so many wonderful things to take its place 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:31 PM

          Negativity is toxic, but the thing is, sometimes it’s so sneaky, you don’t even know it’s crept in until it’s too late. But now I know 🙂

  2. Timothy Price February 22, 2015 / 8:21 AM

    I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles. I can image what’s at the root and have some sense of the pain, uncertainty and your feelings of abandonment, because my daughter has recently gone through what are most likely similar circumstances. But you have come to the right realization and you need not let others steal your happiness. It’s a difficult road, but you seem strong and I believe you will overcome. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:11 AM

      Thanks for your kind words, Timothy. I feel more failure than abandonment, but it’s destructive just the same. I have half-joked that five minutes is future to me. It’s about all I can think ahead before the weight is too much. I appreciate you stopping by and I wish your daughter the best as she navigates her life 🙂

  3. Debbie February 22, 2015 / 8:38 AM

    Janna, I’m not sure what to say, other than to reiterate that I will keep you in my prayers. From some of the “hints” you’ve given, I’m guessing this situation revolves around your marriage (if not, forget I said anything!). Trust me, I’ve been there, done that. There is life on the other side. Not necessarily life as you imagined or hoped for, but life nonetheless. The decision is compounded when you’re a person of faith. It’s also compounded when there are others who depend on you for security. Remember, one can’t sit on a fence forever (hopeful, huh?!). Once a decision has been made, you’ll feel better for having a weight off your shoulders and no more fence posts sticking in your bottom!! Love and joy, my friend!

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:15 AM

      You are correct about your assessment of the situation. It would almost be easier if I didn’t have faith. Can I email you offline? I do think you might relate to at least some of what I’m going through, but it’s more than I care to put out here… for now at least.

      Thanks for reading and for your encouragement. Yes, I do hope to get off the fence before I’m impaled by the post 🙂

      • Debbie February 22, 2015 / 2:04 PM

        Absolutely, Janna. The address is on the left side of my blog, down below the copyright notice. If I can be of any help or comfort, I’m glad to do so!

        • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:35 PM

          Thanks, Debbie. I will get something together in the next couple days.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:15 AM

      Thanks, Nancy! I’ll check out your post when I’m back home tonight 🙂

  4. Gentle Breeze February 22, 2015 / 8:51 AM

    Hello Janna,
    It is lovely to see you back. I have just published a post “Glory and radiance in the darkness”. It is letter printed in a prayer book which belonged to my maternal grandmother. It has helped me in times of darkness.I hope it might help you too.
    Julia

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 9:16 AM

      Thanks so much, Julia. I will definitely be by to read it. I appreciate your prayers and encouragement that you have offered.

      • Gentle Breeze February 22, 2015 / 9:18 AM

        What are friends for? Much love, Julia x

        • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:18 PM

          I appreciate it, Julia! I haven’t made it to read your post yet but will keep your comment in my email so I will remember to do so in the next day or two. I was visiting my parents this weekend and got home later than expected today.

  5. vishalbheeroo February 22, 2015 / 9:39 AM

    Keep the faith, Jannat. Life is unfair at times and let the storm pass. I am in this stage also but slowly improving my way out of it. Keep strong:)

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:19 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Vishal. I hope you are able to find your way, as well. Life can be difficult at times, but it doesn’t have to be completely miserable.

  6. Emilio Pasquale February 22, 2015 / 9:42 AM

    It’s difficult to know exactly what to say at times like these. Sometimes “have faith” sounds too simple or simplistic. In private I shared with you some of the failures and depths of my own life. It is now seven years later and I feel I am a different person than I was then. And I no longer blame myself for all the failures in my life. I tend to look at them all as parts of the whole person who I am, now. Sure I made mistakes. Everyone does. But you must learn from them, no matter how painful they might seem. As long as you live there will be more pain, more joy. Both are part of life. I’m not ready to give up just because of perceived failure. A great philosopher once said, “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.” I think it was Woody Allen! 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:24 PM

      Leave it to me to write an awkward post, haha. I know that right in the middle of a storm is not the time to claim understanding of it all, or share introspection, but I couldn’t resist sharing my glimmer of revelation regarding my happiness. Your difficulties and your current life are encouraging to me… proof that there is hope, even when it can’t be seen. So true that our mistakes make us who we are, and joy and pain are part of life. Thanks so much for the words of encouragement, Emilio!

      • Emilio Pasquale February 23, 2015 / 3:25 PM

        You’re welcome, Janna. As for encouragement, I just sent a new photo to you! Now, get to work!

        • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:12 PM

          Thanks, Emilio! I’ve looked at the photo a few times but no story yet. I need to find a time where I can concentrate 🙂

  7. M_Elizabeth February 22, 2015 / 10:48 AM

    Janna, I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a hard time. I’m no stranger to feeling low, caught in the dark, beating myself up about the choices I’ve made and the things I’ve done. The good news is, the light comes in again. Sometimes just through a crack in the door but eventually it grows and the only darkness is the shadow you cast. If I can ever help, say the word. And please hang in there. Better times are coming! We’re all human. We all make choices we wish we hadn’t. It’s ok. It will work itself out and you will find yourself right where you belong.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:27 PM

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your kind words to encourage me, M_Elizabeth. It’s always hard to see the light when the darkness is so thick. Things have been scary dark for me. I don’t like this place at all!

  8. chlost February 22, 2015 / 11:53 AM

    My job involved many years helping folks traveling the path similar to the one you seem to find yourself. I can only tell you that once they took control of their future rather than relying on others or even the advice of others who may have been well-meaning, their lives and the lives of their loved ones also improved. Only you can decide what is best for you and your family. Whatever your decision, you need to be strong in it. You need not justify your decision to anyone. You certainly may revise of even change your mind in the future, but it is only for you to make those decisions.
    Please know that things will get better. Your inner strength is already taking control. You will be in my thoughts. Take care of yourself.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:38 PM

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Chlost. The main conflict has been between what I feel I need to do and what the church says I should do. It has created an inner turmoil that has brought on other issues that I didn’t really want to deal with right now, but I have no choice in that.

  9. suzicate February 22, 2015 / 11:54 AM

    It occurred to me that I’ve never depended on anyone to provide me with happiness, so why would I allow someone to steal it from me and disrupt my inner peace? This is a responsible realization you’ve come to, and even so others involved must be responsible as well. Have faith you will be led where you need to be, but don’t allow the opinion’s of man to dictate your future. I realize religion holds people to standards, but know those are man-made. Your relationship with God runs deeper and is a personal relationship. Your faith in Him will supply you with the strength you need in making decisions. As bad as things may seem right now, have faith He has a bright future planned for you.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:42 PM

      I appreciate your thoughts, Suzicate. I didn’t seek church counsel, but it was brought to me of no choice of mine and has left me conflicted, as I’m left feeling like a failure and a disappointment. I do hope my path will become clear as time wears on, but it is quite foggy at the moment.

  10. shirleyjdietz February 22, 2015 / 12:58 PM

    I know you are probably trying not to be too specific so forgive me if you can’t answer. I know what faith is, but what is the nature of the hard place? The feeling of being in between puzzles me because it sounds more like your faith has been the foundation under you no matter what other things you find yourself between. Praying it will stay that way. Keep acting in faith no matter what the circumstances would do to discourage you. Love.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:46 PM

      I was trying to avoid specifics here, but I will explain further. There was a time in my life where I made decisions without paying any mind to God. For many years, I’ve struggled with the consequences of those choices. I’m caught between my faith and a hard place because what I feel I need to do conflicts with what church pastors have said should be done. Thanks for reading and questioning what didn’t make sense to you, Shirley.

  11. Polysyllabic Profundities February 22, 2015 / 1:39 PM

    Oh Janna….I wish I could just pluck you out of there so you can be happy. I just finished writing my post for tomorrow. I do hope you’ll read it and know that it was written from the other side of the experience you are currently in. If you want to read it before then….you can email me at carpedm@muskoka.com

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:47 PM

      Well, I got home later than expected from visiting my parents… you normally post pretty early, so I will definitely look for your post in the morning. Thanks so much for the offer to read early, though, Susan!

  12. Tessa February 22, 2015 / 5:20 PM

    Dearest Janna, I have missed you and posts fiction and otherwise. I have to say I can understand what you feel even without knowing what it is. The circumstances don’t matter, the feelings are sort of the same. I am making a more serious attempt at connecting to God. I have a copy of the bible for my kindle which means I can take it anywhere and I am working on learning to make a decent sounding prayer and not just demanding things. You have been an inspiration for this for quite some time and now is the time to become more serious in my spiritual life. Good luck to you and thanks. Will be glad to see you posting again even if it is only once a week or less. Love and peace!

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:55 PM

      Your comment means a lot to me, Tessa. I’m so glad to have been an inspiration for your reaching out to God (it makes me feel like my words are more than just entertainment… maybe they have a greater purpose.) I am also dedicating more time to my spiritual development. I do believe that God has plans bigger than I can understand, but I have to admit that when I’m in the middle of the chaos, I tend to forget that and instead, dwell too much on the misery of my current state. I’ve tried to pray differently, too. Rather than praying for specific things, I’m praying that he will lead me to follow his will, even if it’s not where I think I want to go, and that I will find peace in that path.

      I do hope you find that reading the Bible on Kindle works for you. I wish you the best as you seek God. I know you have had difficulties for quite some time and I would love for you to find peace in your life (and maybe inspiration to write more 🙂 )

      • Tessa February 23, 2015 / 4:03 AM

        “Rather than praying for specific things, I’m praying that he will lead me to follow his will, even if it’s not where I think I want to go, and that I will find peace in that path.” This is how I am praying also. I am writing again, but on a new blog http://www.tessacandoit.wordpress.com. It is about my personal struggles and hopefully will help others with theirs. Just posted it and have 5 followers already LOL!

        • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:10 PM

          I finally made it to read your blog tonight and noticed you have 151 followers – you’re doing well, Tessa! I’ll keep up with your new writing venture here.

        • Tessa February 27, 2015 / 3:48 PM

          Thanks Janna! Peace and Love!

  13. Imelda February 22, 2015 / 8:45 PM

    Janna, I can only say “Hang in there!” as I think of you during prayer time. May God sustain you during this time.

  14. Leigh W. Smith February 22, 2015 / 8:46 PM

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this personal adversity close to your heart and home, Janna. For what it’s worth, I was able to shed some toxic relationships a couple years ago; although I loved and still love the people, I couldn’t allow them to use up my joy and contaminate my well-being, because, as you know, that can project its negativity into parenting and a whole host of other things. Like you, I felt I owed it to my children, if not myself, to not be that angry or bitter or sad-sack person that they’d had a part in creating. Anyway, I wish you lots of strength and healing and peace in your life going forward. I am hopeful for you, and I hope that helps at least a little. Best wishes always!

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 11:03 PM

      Thanks, Leigh! I would have to agree that the negativity does impact parenting. For much of January and February, I’ve been emotionally absent from everything. I don’t want to be that way. I appreciate your encouraging words and I do think that at some point hope will reveal itself. I just have to be patient 🙂

  15. Paula J Wray February 22, 2015 / 9:33 PM

    Glad to have you back. I pray for you often. Your future? More than we can ask or think.

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 11:04 PM

      Thanks, Paula! I can’t see much beyond five minutes, so the future will be surprise when I finally see it. I really do appreciate the prayers.

  16. Widdershins February 22, 2015 / 10:11 PM

    Humans are the only creatures that consistently beat (and berate) themselves over the head about what has gone before. Which is not to say that we should not act without attention to the consequences of our actions, but that we learn the lesson, (and beat ourselves up only once!) and then move forward. Not an easy task, but it seems you’ve turned a corner… keep on keepin’ on, my dear! 😀

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 11:06 PM

      I have the repeat beatings down perfectly, Widdershins. In fact, I suspect years from now, I’ll still be tormenting myself with stuff that’s happening right now 🙂 I do hope the new perspective helps…. thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts! (Hope you are feeling better after your fight with the flu!)

  17. pattisj February 22, 2015 / 11:38 PM

    God can take you out of the situation, or provide grace to get you through. Draw nearer to Him, and trust that He has a good plan and purpose for you.

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:09 PM

      Thanks for the advice, Patti. I’m continuing to pray, although I don’t feel a definite sense of direction yet.

      • pattisj February 26, 2015 / 11:19 PM

        You’ll be ok, hang in there! Hugs!

  18. Michael Roberts February 23, 2015 / 1:28 AM

    During a perilous night there is darkness and though it may seem long, the morning will come.

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:09 PM

      That is true, and good to keep in mind during dark times. Thanks for the encouragement, Michael!

  19. philosophermouseofthehedge February 23, 2015 / 7:01 PM

    Hugs and warm thoughts. Storms are sometimes the best times to sort things out. Do you remember the old Ann Landers or Dear Abby who said to young teenager girls, “No one can be part of another’s life until they a whole person on their own”. So much easier said than done. And even later when one is with the “perfect partner” (so you thought) it’s so easy to let yourself slide away until you are almost gone. Breaking that habit and rebuilding is hard.
    You have purpose and worth. Never doubt. I find soothing outdoors, you may find it in other ways. I was raised with memorizing weekly Bible verses and all that. My dad, born dirt poor on a farm, always took a realistic view of religion. Maybe it came from WWi when he was a medic, in the Battle of the Bulge, and lost behind enemy lines for quite a spell with injured men. He enjoyed the singing but took the preachin’ with a grain of salt. First he always said “Religion and faith is probably good, but always remember churches were created by men and men are flawed beings.” He always said to pray for guidance and understanding…God’s busy and doesn’t have time to help with spelling tests. Do that on your own.
    Don’t know if any of this makes sense or helps, but maybe it will give you a smile. One foot in front of the other is all that’ required sometimes.
    (and one post a week is plenty. May head that direction myself. Time and energy – have to put that where it’s needed sometimes.)

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:15 PM

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Phil. Your dad was wise to note the flaws in churches because we are human and are flawed. I had to laugh at the spelling tests…yeah, I’ve prayed silly prayers like that, more in my youth, but still, rather short-sighted prayers. There is much here to ponder, which I will continue to do as I work things out here.

  20. Swetank February 24, 2015 / 3:30 AM

    Hi Jannat love your positive outlook.. ! Best wishes for your future ..!! I am on a same mission to help & inspire people, my Blog “Being Bettr” will help you out! I had already served many of them.. Looking forward for more of your stories!

    Swetank. Talk soon!
    Be Bettr, Stay Bettr! 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:17 PM

      Thanks for reading, Swetank! I’ll definitely visit your blog again. My online time is limited for a while, so I always seem to be a week or so behind, but I’ve left your comment in my email as a reminder, so I will get there again soon 🙂

  21. Kathy Combs (@KathyCombs16) February 24, 2015 / 8:13 AM

    I find that when I am depressed I can do little else but go back to bed. I literally have no words. I have battled away at depression for quite a while now and find little solace in writing anymore. Still I plug on. And when i can’t I retreat within myself and don’t do much else.

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:18 PM

      I’m sorry for your struggles, Kathy. I enjoy reading what you write, so I do hope one day you will be inspired to share more of writing. I hope you are able to find peace.

  22. Sean February 24, 2015 / 10:09 AM

    It is good to see you have decided to do a little writing. I’m sure that has been on your mind as well as everything else you have been dealing with. I think most people can look back at their past and see failures. It’s good to see that you are looking to the future even at 5 minute intervals. It is always a pleasure to see what you choose to write about and sometimes you give everyone a little glimpse into your life. I find it inspiring that I had to scroll down pretty far before I could respond due to the amount of responses that are already out there. That’s what I get for not looking at your blog yesterday or the day before. You are being prayed over and thought of by many during this time. Thank you for letting us know a little more about you 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:22 PM

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Sean. I have had a lot of support online, and for that, I am grateful. The only thing certain about future is that there is one. What it is, I don’t have a sense of, so I wait 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  23. agjorgenson February 25, 2015 / 7:30 PM

    Writing again seems like wise counsel. Sometimes we only move forward by doing what fuels hope, and for writers, that is writing. As for choosing between faith and freedom, I find that faith that doesn’t lead to freedom might be something other than faith in the God of hope.

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:24 PM

      Well, since writing this, I haven’t had much time to write, other than a few poems, but I do have some fiction on the horizon, so I am pleased to focus on that. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on faith/freedom, Allen 🙂

  24. GodGirl February 26, 2015 / 3:14 PM

    Still holding you in prayer, Janna. May your faith find a way to express itself in the dark places, and that you’d escape into God’s arms for comfort. May you rest with him as you wrestle with the heartache, the unknowns, and the questions… Take care x

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2015 / 11:25 PM

      Thanks, GodGirl. I appreciate the prayers and kind words 🙂

  25. imab00kworm March 11, 2015 / 2:01 PM

    I hate having to comment as a stranger as if I had been there because I haven’t and I know that, I can only tell you what I’ve felt and I’m well aware that it’s not the same. I’ve felt as if I were lost in that hole and every time (thankfully not often) it’s a little deeper. The best thing to do is take a step back, or a few steps back, mentally but sometimes also physically, just to have breathing space and a bit of calmness to figure things out. I know that sounds easier said than done and I figure you might have already tried.
    Another thing I do is write things down, my mind is often a mess (and that’s sometimes reflected in my writing) so writing things down (or even talking to myself) helps make things clearer. Write down a conversation with yourself. I don’t know but I guess you have a lot to figure out and it might help to keep track of things and untangle all those thoughts running around and bumping into each other and causing all kinds of choas and wreaking havoc and whatnot… or invest in traffic lights for your mind if you can find anything of the sorts 😉
    I’ve been away from writing for a while but I’m back and I kind of fell on this by accident, I hope I could help in any way even if I just made you laugh, I’ll be sending brainwaves of love and cookies and croissants from France, I hope you’ll receive them ❤ 🍪

      • jannatwrites March 12, 2015 / 9:48 PM

        No apology needed – I appreciate you saying what you wanted to share!

    • jannatwrites March 12, 2015 / 9:48 PM

      Mmmm… cookies and croissants 🙂 That was a lovely comment, Imab00kworm. And some great ideas for sorting things out. Time is helping with some of the conflicted confusion I had encountered, but things are far from easy. You are right – writing down thoughts does help. I have written a ton of dark poetry that will likely not be read by anyone…or if I do share it, it will have to be some time after-the-fact. Sometimes life does get messy and tangled, but with faith, I think the pieces can be arranged into something even more fulfilling. Time will tell on that as well. Thanks so much for stopping by- good to “see” you again 🙂

      • imab00kworm March 13, 2015 / 12:30 AM

        Good to “see” you too 🙂
        I hope you manage to put things in order, and “get well soon” I guess

        • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:06 PM

          Thanks, imab00kworm. Having more ‘better’ days so I’ll take that 🙂

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