I’m going to be real with you…

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There’s a lot I need to get off my chest right now which has been simmering away in my mind, unspoken, unshared, for years. It’s time to share it all. By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you will understand me as well as I understand myself. That’s how honest I’m going to be.

I had a call yesterday from the council. The accommodation in London where I live is supported by my local Mind (a mental health charity here in the UK), which means that the council, who oversee housing in the borough, pay Mind to support me. This support normally takes the form of a monthly meeting with a support worker who focuses on helping me with any mental health concerns (plus any housing concerns).

Inevitably, this call from the council comes once a year, and I always dread it. Allow me to explain a little about why…

My rent is paid (by me) to a housing association (my landlord). Normally the rent and bills would be covered by state benefits for someone in my situation, but I inherited some money from my grandparents which meant I had to come off benefits. A lot of people try to play the system and if they inherit money they will conceal it from the government, but that’s not my style at all. I like to keep a clear conscience and be able to sleep at night, so I declared the inheritance the moment I got it. The money I inherited is now running out, so within the next few months I will need to either be working or will have to go through the process of attempting to claim state benefits again, so I can afford to pay my rent and living costs.

There’s part of me that would love to work, as I’m a motivated person and earning money is always very satisfying, but there are some health reasons why I don’t think I can work, and I’m not sure whether I will ever be able to work again. I have a serious problem with my heart which I have been unable to get a diagnosis for, despite going to the hospital Accident & Emergency department on one occasion a few months ago when I was experiencing severe palpitations. I also had some tests done, including a 24 hour ECG, on another occasion.

It took a lot of courage for me to seek medical help for my heart, as the thought of operations has always terrified me. In any case, the doctors who I spoke with didn’t take my concerns particularly seriously, and rather than persisting with trying to get a diagnosis, I gave up. The reason why I gave up is because my experience with the National Health Service (NHS) was terrible – my local hospital feels more like a torture house than a place of recovery. Staff are terribly overworked (and, in my experience, very unprofessional in many cases), departments are underfunded, and due to numerous bad experiences I honestly don’t trust doctors to give me a correct diagnosis, and I certainly wouldn’t trust them to operate on my heart. A lot of people exercise a kind of blind faith in the medical profession, but I’ve witnessed too many horrors to be so naive. Of course, I’m not saying all doctors are bad, and many health professionals are very well-intentioned and do amazing work. But things in London at the moment are not good at all.

As well as my problems with my heart, I have a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder (a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). I believe this is an appropriate diagnosis that reflects the symptoms I experience when I’m unwell accurately. Some readers will be shocked to learn of this, as I have been told I come across as very ‘normal’, but believe me, I’ve had some pretty intense episodes of mental illness. And despite the fact I haven’t been admitted to hospital for around 5 years, I experience residual psychosis on a daily basis, which manifests as paranoia, anxiety, minor delusions, and minor obsessive compulsive disorder. These symptoms are another reason why working could be problematic.

Despite my mental health problems, which are not insignificant, I’m fortunate to be very capable – I have had a good education and have good job experience and am able to function pretty well the majority of the time. Medication (which I take in the form of a monthly injection, as well as some tablets) seems to play a role in keeping me from experiencing the more severe effects of psychosis. The trouble is, when I take on stress, as would inevitably happen were I to start working, it aggravates my heart condition (I start to get severe palpitations), and I also get stress-related panic attacks. So, realistically, as much as I would like to, I don’t think I can work.

In a country where doctors are treated as saints, how am I supposed to make the council understand that I don’t trust the NHS to sort out my heart problems? To be entitled to government support I need to justify why I am unable to work, but I fear the council would not take my concerns about the state of the NHS seriously.

The lady from the council who phoned me yesterday wanted to set up a meeting with myself, her, and my support worker from Mind next week for a review of the mental health support I’m getting and my accommodation. We have a date and time in the diary (next Tuesday at 11am). I love where I live, both the flat itself and the local area, but there’s a certain amount of confusion over whether I can stay here long-term. When I first moved in, I was told it was permanent accommodation, but in my annual reviews with the council they are always trying to ‘work towards move-on’. It’s really confusing because, from what I can gather, if they ‘move me on’ it will just be to similar accommodation with another housing association, only without the support from Mind. I have tried to insist that this would be an unnecessary upheaval, and that it would make more sense for me to simply stay here (with or without the support from Mind). I’m a good tenant, I have paid my rent on time every month without exception, and I don’t bother anyone. It’s very unsettling feeling that I may have to move out at any time.

What complicates matters is that Mind have a contractual arrangement with the housing association. As I understand the situation, a certain number of flats are allocated to Mind by the housing association for people with mental health problems. So Mind have an interest in the flat where I live. I would like to just have a normal tenancy with the housing association, but if I were to do that Mind would effectively lose one of their properties, which they are reluctant to do. I have discussed with the housing manager at Mind the possibility of signing a new contract with the housing association that would give me a more secure tenancy, but if this were to happen he would want Mind to be allocated an alternative property to avoid the charity losing out, which I do understand (Mind are a very caring bunch and I do believe they work in the best interests of their clients). The housing manager at Mind tried talking to the housing association about this but they were unresponsive.

The only alternative to this housing muddle that I can envisage is that I enter full-time employment and move to a cheaper part of the world, as the area of London in which I live has really expensive rent. It would be incredibly difficult for me to rent privately anywhere, though, as landlords tend to steer well clear of people who have mental health problems (I have personally been discriminated against because of this), and as I have been out of work since 2009 there’s a long gap in my employment record to try to justify to any prospective landlords.

If I were to start work I could look into the possibility of putting a deposit down on a property and getting a large mortgage, but that would tie me into working full-time for the next 25 years at least, and seeing as I’ve had four psychiatric hospital admissions (being sectioned each time) since 2007, and have the aforementioned problems with my heart, I doubt I could even get a mortgage, let alone commit to paying one off for 25 years.

Despite my somewhat turbulent mental health journey, I have been blessed with an abundance of passions, interests, and skills. I love writing and have written two books and am working on a third book at the moment. The process of writing and self-publishing my third book is going really well and I believe the book has a lot of potential. I have studied philosophy and theology in some depth, and have spent a lot of time pondering and researching the big questions surrounding our existence. I believe I have something genuinely worthwhile to contribute to these fields. It seems to me that God gives everyone dreams and ambitions, and that every human life has a purpose, and I feel that writing about these subjects and sharing my insights into the nature of reality is my life’s purpose – it excites me, inspires me, motivates me, and gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

The final thing I want to write about in this post is not easy to discuss, but very important. I believe in God. I pray a lot about my circumstances and God talks to me (I wrote a blog post entitled Hearing Voices or Hearing God? which you can read if you’d like to know more about this experience). I make sure I have some quality prayer time every Sunday, and I ask God regularly if I should get a job, if I should start earning money, if I should move out, etc, and God promises me that I’m going to stay where I am and am not going to work again. Now, how am I supposed to explain that to the council? The council may offer me alternative accommodation, which to many people would seem positive, but the fact that God has spoken to me about this and promised me I’m staying where I am makes me feel I must trust what God is telling me and not pursue alternative accommodation, even if I’m offered it. I feel that having a conversation with God is a very private and personal thing and I don’t really feel like explaining it to anyone I don’t know really well, including people from the council, who as far as I know might be atheists and therefore would attribute every experience of this type to chemical imbalances in the brain.

All of the things I’ve written about in this post have been on my mind for the last few years and I have felt unable to talk about them with anyone (except God). If there are any atheists reading this, please know that there are very many people who hear the voice of God, even if there is a certain stigma around admitting it. I have been to churches where people talk very openly about conversations they have had with God and the things God has told them. For those who haven’t had this experience and don’t believe there is a God who communicates with humans, I understand – I have tremendous respect for atheists because I was one myself for many years.

So there we have it. I’ve come clean with you, and now you know 100% of what I’m currently battling with in my life. I know that compared to some people I’m incredibly fortunate and have a lot of positives in my life. I don’t take my abundant blessings for granted. I’ve had all of this weighing on my mind for a long time so felt it was about time I opened up and shared it. I believe in honesty, even when it’s tough.

If you’ve read the entirety of this post, thank you very much indeed. You’re welcome to leave any thoughts in the comments below, or just hit the like button to let me know you’re not going to disown me after reading all this! I’m very grateful for your time. Peace and blessings, Steven x

63 comments

  1. Steven, You sound a bit like me. In my late 20’s I started having severe heart palpitations. I’ve been told several different possible reasons for it but never got anything definite. I take a beta blocker pill to control it. It works pretty well but not perfectly and it has side effects. In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with severe depression. In my 30’s, Bipolar disorder (though I spend most of my time on the depression side). Like you, both of these issues are greatly affected by what is going on in my life…I don’t do well with any kind of stress…the heart goes crazy and I get severe anxiety/depression. Because of that I am unable to work and am on disability. It took me years to accept this because I , like you, liked to work. I am married and my husband works, so I don’t have the housing concerns you have, but I think I can understand some of what you are going through. I know it can be really hard. I will keep you in my prayers. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marcy! Thanks so much for sharing that, there are certainly some similarities in our health journeys. I believe there is damage to my heart because I can recall a specific incident when I feel it was damaged… and ever since that time I’ve had severe palpitations (aggravated by stress). I tried explaining this to medical professionals but they wouldn’t listen. I’m very sensitive to what’s going on in my body, as a result of several years of body psychotherapy, so I’m pretty sure there is a physical problem.

      Sorry you’ve had to go through all that but I’m glad you have the support of your husband, and the disability benefit. Thank you so much for the prayers, much appreciated! I will say a prayer for you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David! As long as I get this book out before I die that’s honestly the most important thing to me. Who knows, I might have a long life ahead of me, but the problems with my heart certainly keep things in perspective. Thanks for reading, buddy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Stephen,

    Your openness and vulnerability before your readers really encourages me and I’m glad you’ve chosen to come forward with these struggles. I feel for you, man, and I hope this whole thing gets sorted out. You’re a brilliant mind and I’m thankful to have read some of your writing this year. I wish you all the best.

    God bless,
    Nate

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh Nate, I’m really touched by your kind words and I really appreciate your comment. Thank you for your good wishes, and for following this blog. I think your life journey and reflections on ethical issues are fascinating and I’m intrigued to see where God takes you. Hopefully my heart will hold out for a while so I can keep reading your insightful posts! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Steven. Thank you for having the courage to share these very real concerns of yours. I will most certainly be praying for these various situations, and that the Lord will resolve each one according to His perfect will. In the meantime, I will also be praying for the Lord’s peace which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, David. I have to admit I feel more peaceful for sharing these things that have been weighing on my mind for so long. Very grateful for the supportive comments. I feel very fortunate and very blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Steven,

    I’m a lawyer — though obviously not licensed in the UK. It sounds like you need a lawyer.

    In the US, people who have more than $2,000 have to “spend down” to that amount in order to qualify for Medicaid. Why not spend your last bit on a lawyer? — then you would again qualify for state assistance AND would have someone to advise you and advocate for you.

    Tom

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Tom,

      Getting some legal advice is definitely worth considering, thank you.

      We have a similar system over here in terms of having to ‘spend down’ to a certain amount, although the threshold is higher here. However, the more savings you have (below the threshold), the less benefit you receive. So it’s means-tested, to an extent. The government are currently rolling out a new system which combines a lot of different benefits into one… but the rollout has been fraught with problems.

      I’m certainly going to take your suggestion of contacting a lawyer seriously, although currently I don’t think it’s necessary. If the meeting next week doesn’t go well, I might reconsider.

      Best wishes,

      Steven

      Like

  5. “I believe I have something genuinely worthwhile to contribute to these fields. It seems to me that God gives everyone dreams and ambitions, and that every human life has a purpose, and I feel that writing about these subjects and sharing my insights into the nature of reality is my life’s purpose – it excites me, inspires me, motivates me, and gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.” (Steven Colborne, 2018)

    Very profound words from an excellent writer and a talented soul. If God said it, that settles it. God keeps his promises. Steven, I appreciate your openness and honesty about the things that have been on your mind for some time now. You did well. God has given you a purpose, a platform, and a promise to keep you going. I regret hearing that you are experiencing all this distress.
    I will pray for you specifically on this matter. May the Lord strengthen and keep you in His pavilion.
    Thank you for writing consistently. I’m inspired by your commitment. Every blessing to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Steven…as someone who has been dealing with big issues with depression and social anxiety in way I understand. Can I just let you know that you needn’t step foot away from your computer to earn money? There are loads of jobs you can do online where you can work to live. Although London is as dreary as sh*t as way over priced. Solution: work as a copywriter and get paid for writing and move to somewhere inexpensive in the world in asia or eastern europe….you will be totally fine. I pretty much opted out in this way it totally works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya!

      I really appreciate the sentiment of your comment. It’s kind of you to share your thoughts and try to help. However, there are a lot of practical considerations. For instance, as I mentioned on the post, I have an injection every month. This seems to have been an important factor in my stability over the last five years. I feel that if I were to have a relapse in another country, where no one knows me, and I don’t know anyone, that would be 10 times worse than having a relapse where I am now. Also all the stress associated with moving to another country…

      You’re right that there are possibilities for earning money working from home. I’m aware of some of the things that I could do. I have worked in online promotion and digital marketing in the past so I know a bit about this. But as I said in the post, building an entirely new life, where I’m committing to a job, a mortgage, new accommodation, etc, with the health problems I’m experiencing at the moment feels like it would be an insurmountable task. I would probably die in the process.

      Also, as I said in the post, God has promised me I’m staying put, so I feel I need to trust in that.

      If I had no health problems, and my circumstances were different, a plan such as the one you suggested could be an option. My sister actually moved out of London to Manchester, and then more recently to Berlin, due to financial (and other) considerations. But I’m in a totally different situation.

      Peace and blessings,

      Steven xx

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh Steven, I had no idea you were going through all this. I’m glad you’ve shared it. I haven’t, as yet, read any of the previous replies so what I say is coming from me. I respect you for not ‘playing the system’ as so many seem to do. Someone like you could not do that, as it would make you feel uncomfortable with yourself and God, and you don’t need that kind of stress. Others who do play the system may seem to come out on top, but I think that’s just an illusion.

    You say you feel sure that God is telling you to stay put – is there someone at hand who you trust that you could discuss this with, someone of faith perhaps? It’s important to determine whether this really is what God wants or whether it’s yourself trying to convince yourself that this is what he wants. It may not seem like it just now, but he could have something different/better in store for you that you might not even have thought of. I do know what an upheaval it is to move, though, especially as you have concerns about being able to work too. Now that you feel able to open up, you could ask others for help – have you thought about going to the Citizens Advice Bureau? They’re well-trained and very sympathetic people. I think the main thing you need right now is support, so please don’t be afraid to ask for it.

    I do understand your concerns about people thinking you’re a ‘nutcase’ for saying that you feel that God wants you to stay where you are, so I think that speaking to someone of faith would be a solution and, perhaps, they could act as a mediator for you in getting your concerns over to the council.

    I hope some of this helps. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lesley!

      I respect you for not ‘playing the system’ as so many seem to do. Someone like you could not do that, as it would make you feel uncomfortable with yourself and God, and you don’t need that kind of stress. Others who do play the system may seem to come out on top, but I think that’s just an illusion.

      I couldn’t have put it better myself! Glad you understand 🙂

      You say you feel sure that God is telling you to stay put – is there someone at hand who you trust that you could discuss this with, someone of faith perhaps? It’s important to determine whether this really is what God wants or whether it’s yourself trying to convince yourself that this is what he wants.

      I’m not sure whether it’s possible to determine this with 100% clarity. It seems to me that the only way to determine what is true or not is what actually unfolds. It’s possible that God could be playing a kind of game where He promises things, and then does otherwise. After all, God can do what ever He wants, He’s omnipotent. It is very difficult to discern what is mental health related and what is God, and I pray for clarity about this all the time.

      Ultimately, I believe God is in control of everything that happens (you’ve read some of my arguments as to why I believe this in The Philosophy of a Mad Man, and there is much more about it in my upcoming book release – any opportunity to give it a plug! Haha).

      On the subject of getting support, I don’t know of anyone who I would regard as an ‘expert’ in these matters. I tried attending counselling again recently but stopped after 3 sessions as the counsellor was so young and I felt as though I was counselling him rather than the other way round. I’ve attended psychotherapy in the past which has been hugely beneficial, and I have also attended individual and group CBT, as well as counselling with a Christian counsellor. I have a pretty good ‘radar’ these days concerning who might be able to help me, and who isn’t equipped to do so. If I see anyone, they will need to have plenty of life experience! I’d love to find another great therapist (everyone can benefit from a good therapist in my opinion).

      Now that you feel able to open up, you could ask others for help – have you thought about going to the Citizens Advice Bureau?

      The CAB are wonderful and I have a lot of experience with them. However, I live in a busy part of London and it tends to be very stressful and difficult to actually see someone. I think if I need legal help I will have to pay for it.

      I do understand your concerns about people thinking you’re a ‘nutcase’ for saying that you feel that God wants you to stay where you are, so I think that speaking to someone of faith would be a solution and, perhaps, they could act as a mediator for you in getting your concerns over to the council.

      If I were a Christian, perhaps I could ask a priest. But I’m not, so speaking with a priest would probably make things worse. We would just argue about theology. Appreciate the suggestion, though!

      Thanks for your support, Lesley, you’re welcome to share any further thoughts.

      Like

  8. Wow, I was going to comment on your post but have to comment on your comments! You truly touch the hearts of your readers, including mine.

    Steven, I must agree with Thomas Alderman. Many lawyers here in NYC work exclusively in this area of rights for disabled. And remember, in cities where housing/real estate is so valuable, there’s a vested interest in evicting for higher rents.
    May the Lord speak thru His word to your heart and turn this trial into a personal revelation of Him in your life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Lisa, always nice to hear from you 🙂

      I hope it won’t get to the stage where I need to take legal action. In relation to the meeting next week, I currently have no reason to believe there isn’t good will from all parties. But if further down the line I do need to contact a lawyer, I will.

      in cities where housing/real estate is so valuable, there’s a vested interest in evicting for higher rents.

      Fortunately, in my part of London there is support for people mental health problems, but there is always a drive to get people out of supported accommodation and back into work, which creates constant pressure. My rent is relatively low for the area, but I’m not 100% sure whether this is due to obligation from the government or not. I would like to find out.

      Just as a side note, I’ve been watching a lot of videos from NYC recently as a YouTuber I follow lives there. For some reason I didn’t realise you lived in NYC. I have actually visited once, many years ago 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That is a lot to take in and process mentally especially by yourself. I’m glad you opened up. I’ll be lifting up your situation in prayer. Would you like this request to be added to the community prayer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi T.R.! That’s very kind of you. Despite the fact I don’t identify as a Christian as such these days, I do always appreciate prayers, because I believe there is one God who hears every prayer. So, that considered, if you feel comfortable adding this to the community prayers, that would be cool! Thanks again and lots of love xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absoultely! I’m not going to prevent requests for prayers due to separation or difference of thoughts. That’s not Christlike 🙂 Everyone deserves to go to Him. And we all need to lift each other up.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. You are amazing for going through so much, everyone has battles and some are easy won and hard losses. Keep believing, praying, and trusting he has got your back! I myself am going through a lot at the moment and this gave me even more courage to talk about it more with people! Thank you for sharing and being real!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Alexis! I felt so much better after posting this, even though it was very personal. These thoughts had been weighing on my mind for a long time, and it’s great therapy to open up sometimes, especially because my blog followers have been so kind and understanding 🙂 So glad that you’re feeling able to open up, too. Thanks for sharing that!

      Like

  11. Bravo for being comfortable sharing this with your WP community, Steven. Having been in not dissimilar situations, I finally realized how easy and significant it was/is to simply surrender my needs and concerns to Our Almighty. Sure the uncertainty associated with your circumstances makes you uncomfortable yet I sense (and believe) you already know His love and desire to protect us. I will keep this important matter in my prayers. In the meantime, please try to find peace and strength in His workings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eric!

      Thank you for your (as ever) kind and thoughtful comment. I do hope that God is working things out for the best, for me, and for all sentient creatures. I certainly feel He is merciful to me in very many ways.

      Your prayers are very much appreciated.

      Have a wonderful day.

      Steven

      Like

  12. Oh my – I am catching up on reading some posts and just came across this one today, Steven. I can see that there is much on your heart (and mind) at present.

    I will be praying for you, my friend. Please take care and remember to be gentle with yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Daily!

      Thank you for reading my unusually long post. I have had a lot of my mind that I hadn’t expressed. I’m very grateful for having this platform where I can do that! Everyone has been so understanding and supportive 🙂

      I hope you’re doing well!

      Blessings,

      Steven

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Man, I love reading REAL PEOPLE BEING REAL, UNFILTERED & RAW!
    Simply inspiring brother..you have gained a life long follower right here! Probably my favorite blog I’ve ever read up to this point..
    You definitely spoke to me through those words. All things you are going through I can relate to as well, and battling with undiagnosed borderline personality disorder (I have no health insurance and I will never trust free clinics enough to give an accurate diagnosis of something as sensitive as my brain)
    Ive often wondered if I have an entirely different disorder or combination of disorders..
    Anyways. You have a very rare ability to open up and show your vulnerability to your readers the way that you do. It makes the world more positive when we communicate,, with eachother, so we can all find balance and perception of our own life situations based off of the experiences of people just like us.
    I love it! Thank you for being you

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jake! It’s such a pleasure to meet you. Thanks so much for your kind comment.

      Mental health can be so complex. I hope you are able to get a diagnosis you feel comfortable with. Have you had much support in the way of talking therapies? (You don’t have to answer that, I’m just curious). Psychotherapy was one of the best things I ever did – a real blessing that has really helped me to cope with life.

      I see you’re a musical creative, which is very cool! I’m really into music myself. I’m glad you are expressing yourself through music 🙂

      God bless and peace to you, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for sharing Steven, and for being honest about your situation.

    I don’t know you heaps well dude but there are some things I have found out about you through engaging with you here on wordpress..

    1. You have always shared openly about your mental health and living situation, and have shared a few times when things have got challenging with neighbours. Even though things have not always been comfortable you have sought to understand the bigger picture and have invited others in in the process.

    2. In the middle of when things are not simple for you, you reach out to God, you have a desire to continue abiding.

    3. you don’t let your circumstances overtake you

    These are my observations. I remember a year ago I think when something similar was happening and you called out and invited us to pray for you. Many did and you overcame, God delivered you!

    So I pray mostly that you would remember Gods faithfulness and his mercies that are new each day. And continue to trust him like you have been, even when things are sticky. Keep on keeping on dude and peace to you

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When talking about God and your perception of God’s will for you, maybe you could always say “I believe” rather than “I know.” If you openly admit that it is a belief, even the most hard-nosed person cannot really hurt you. We all believe. Even those who say they don’t, imo.

    (I could discuss this philosophically, but I think you get it).

    p.s. one of my favorite phrases is “I have reason to believe.” In other words, certain ongoing experiences and reflections appear to support a belief. Maybe not perfectly, but to a significant degree.

    Being able to communicate this effectively to different listeners is key. And that’s just practice, I guess. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there 🙂

      Thanks for your thoughts on this.

      I like the phrase ‘I have reason to believe’, because that is truthful. Simply saying ‘I believe’ always feels like a bit of a fib, because of how certain I do feel. It feels like ‘watering down’ my convictions, which is a kind of dishonesty.

      My main concern is to express myself truthfully wherever possible, as this gives me peace of mind, a clear conscience, and means I can be happy in myself and can sleep at night.

      I hope you understand 🙂

      Peace and blessings,

      Steven

      Like

  16. Yeah, I get it and I applaud your honesty. If I just say “I believe” it sounds like some kind of baseless thing. You know, I believe in tin foil hats, unicorns or that the world is flat!

    If I say I have “reason to believe” it opens the door for more questions, possibly discussion with others. It also doesn’t make me look like a kook in the eyes of others because if pursued, I can articulate a personally meaningful and coherent worldview.

    If I say “I know” others can put me in the camp of all those nuts who believe they know and go out and proceed to do bad things (often which they later feel guilty about).

    Not to say that we cannot have some knowledge of God and God’s love for us. God is home. We recognize home when we find it.

    I think you and I are not so different. I just tend to be shrewd – but not dishonest – about my beliefs.

    There’s a passage in the NT where the crowd, I think, tried to stone Jesus but he somehow slipped away from them. It wasn’t his time. So I have no desire to play the victim or be victimized. If God so wills it, fine. But I don’t run around with an unhealthy martyr complex like some Christians do!

    I’m glad your meeting worked out okay. (I read your more recent post). And again, I applaud your honesty and desire to do the right thing. It’s probably all a bit different for each and every one of us. We each have unique situations to deal with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m going to try to remember to use the ‘I have reasons to believe’ phrase, I think that’s such a good idea 🙂

      Your explanation was exactly right – I think when an atheist hears the phrase ‘I believe in God’ they just don’t take it seriously, whereas when I say ‘I am certain God exists’, that’s a powerful statement, and as such is more likely to be met with respect, as long as it’s a genuine expression (I’m sure there are many people who do simply believe in God, and aren’t certain about God’s existence).

      As you say, everyone is different. I haven’t always been this intent on expressing myself honestly. I’ve just found, through experience that this approach works best for many reasons. Perhaps there’s an element of the ‘golden rule’ in it – I always like people to be honest and straightforward with me. I also find that honesty leads to better connection with people, more understanding, and better relationships. When I’m not honest, it inevitably comes back to haunt me in the future.

      Having said that, honesty isn’t the same thing as 100% transparency. For example, it is honest to say ‘I don’t want to talk about that right now and I have my reasons as to why’. There are circumstances in which I can say that with a clear conscience.

      Good discussion – many thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I pray God works out all the details of your life. I understand your situation. I have had to walk through similar circumstances, not medically, but decisions that need to be made. I am trusting God with my future. I don’t have a choice but to trust. And I often speak to the Lord and hear his voice in my heart. Many people will not understand that, not just unbelievers. God will direct your path. Congratulations on your books.

    Liked by 1 person

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