A wonderful moment to celebrate: noticing a breakthrough that has happened in the last couple weeks. I have successfully separated a sense of self from the role of pastor! I had learned to view myself as pastor and had begun to lose a sense of self outside that role. But now I can look back and see “pastor” as a job I held instead of who I am as a person.
My sense of self is growing: I’ve begun to see that I have traits that continue no matter what job I hold, no matter where I live, no matter who I’m with. Things like “warm and caring person,” “smart,” and “creative” are now actual characteristics of me instead of words or labels I repeat to myself to remind myself of who I am.
This is huge! And it turns out that all these months where I feel I’m doing nothing – tv, movies, sitting and staring, forcing myself to swim which is ultimately kinda boring – has been fertile ground for a sense of self to develop among the morass of brain cells that have been healing.
I still feel churning inside, and this is because of the sense of spirituality I’ve lost. The deep closeness to God and near euphoria I would feel from time to time turns out to have been symptoms of mania. Were they still real religious ‘highs,’ or only symptoms of the illness? I based my relationship to God, to Jesus Christ, to the Spirit on these feelings of closeness and specialness. Were they real? So, I still believe in God, but who that is has shifted, and I don’t have a feeling of relationship anymore. I’d like to be surrounded by people who do have that feeling, who do believe, but being at church is still painful as memories of my job as pastor flood in to overwhelm me.
I’m looking for a sense of community and of spirituality. Help!