Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Faith in God: I has it. Part I.

In addition to posting Deep and Meaningful Thoughts(tm) on Facebook, I also post them in the comments on Jezebel, a feminist website.

A week or so there was a post on how some blogger supposedly overcame her rheumatoid arthritis by the power of Jesus alone, and was walking around in high heels. She also told rape/molestation survivors that all they needed to do was put their faith in Jesus, put on makeup, and wear high heels in order to overcome their trauma.

Some people were trashing on the woman for being so dismissive of, and giving such harmful and insensitive advice to, rape/molestation survivors. There were the requisite "Jesus HEELED me and saved my SOLE!" cracks. And some people were trashing on the blogger's religion.

One of the commentators posted that she was always irritated that religion only seemed to come up in derisive stories, and as she was basically Christian, would love positive, interesting stories from people of other faiths.

This is an edited-for-the-blog version of what I told her. It's going to be a series. Her reply will follow, and mine after that.

This is a line of thinking I take that helps keep me (reasonably) calm during a really emotionally stressing time.

I remember (or try to remember) several things:

1. The Qur'an says that God doesn't burden believers with more than they can bear.
2. The Qur'an says that God helps those who help themselves (won't change the state of a believer until they change it themselves, but it's same idea).
3. I know how out-of-control my emotions get, and that when I'm up I don't get why I was down and when I'm down I don't get why I was up.
4. I made it through the worst of my period of mood swings (teens through mid-20s).

So, I have the mindset that even though I want to curl up and die at the moment, I know how it ends, and even though I'll think I was stupid for freaking out over something "tiny," it's not tiny when I'm experiencing it and it's perfectly fine for me to be upset, to let the emotions happen and remember that it is going to get better and I will wonder why I was so upset. But I know the reason I was upset, even if I forget the trigger: I was so upset because at that time, it was important to me.

Add to that my knowledge that God's not going to put me through something that I can't handle. I may not think I can handle it. I may not handle it well. But I can handle it, because no matter how much faith I have in God during any particular crises, God has more faith in me, and knowing that someone, anyone, has faith in you during a tough time is incredibly helpful.

And then, God helps those who help themselves. By taking deep breaths, by allowing myself to not just feel a negative emotion, but to also make sure that I understand where it's coming from and where it will likely go, and remember that I've been there, done that.

On Monday I was ready to kill someone. It wasn't anybody's fault, and nothing I could have done anything about, and it's entirely possible my blood sugar was really low because even after eating I was still starving and bitchy.

I stopped at Chipotle and bought food, reminding myself that I do need to eat, that yes, I was angry, but I'd feel better soon and I knew that I'd get over it. I was friendly with the staff (fake it until you make it, y'all) and gobbled my burrito down, and didn't leave until I felt well enough to face the world. I was mad, I was frustrated, I was stuffed full yet still starving, but I was going to be all right because I knew how to deal with the situation, and by not beating myself up over being angry at something stupid (that was going to be fixed the next day), I saved myself even more anger.

As it turns out, I was perfectly in time to the train stop to hop on the train just as it pulled up, and I got my bike and I situated such that I was just about to sit down when the train pulled out --- I was horrendously pleased with that, but in an extremely difficult emotional situation, any triumph is a ray of sunshine. And it didn't start raining except for a few drops, so my laptop and camera didn't get wet on the bike ride part of my commute home.

So, did God reward me for helping myself by giving me such exquisite timing with the train? Having such awesome timing certainly cheered me up. Was I rewarded for my patience and attempts to help myself by my roommate mentioning my blood sugar as a possible cause of my anger? Or was it all just random chance?

Well, it was random chance in my favour, and thank God everything turned out well.

My point (probably) is that religious faith can encourage you to help yourself, rather than live in denial. It can urge you to be more assertive of your health, especially if you hold the view that your life is precious to God, and you should do what you can to make it a good life. Not seeing a disconnect between faith and science also helps.

I'm going to attempt (emphasis on attempt) to hold to a bi-weekly posting schedule, God willing. I'm thinking Monday/Thursday. Whichever two days I manage to post next week will be the days.

1 comment:

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