, , , , , , , , ,

The ART of Finding God in THIS cloud – Ambivalence

Warning! Not for the faint of heart!

am·biv·a·lence  n.

  1. The coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings, such as love and hate, toward a person, object, or idea.
  2. Uncertainty or indecisiveness as to which course to follow.


I sometimes, almost jokingly, speak of the fluctuations in K’s moods, thoughts, and words as being schizophrenic – not clinically – but it certainly feels that way. I am often caught off guard when I am faced with his sudden changes in how he speaks to me or how he assesses the situation or whether or not he loves me or accepts my love for him and how he defines the expression of love and his expectations of marriage. I clearly see his contradictions. I feel the impact of his inner battle. I desperately desire to offer him a means for healing and a way to see life from a different perspective. And then I am once again faced with unreasonable demands and expectations and a complete disregard for my feelings or my value as a separate person.

I can tell you, that just sitting here and writing about it triggers a violent response in my gut. As we have walked and battled through the past two years, I have found it difficult to stay connected to my own feelings and understand myself, let alone his feelings and presence of self. Speck or log?

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.            Matthew 7:2-5 (ESV)

A minimum of 40 sessions in personal counseling is required of all those in the Counseling Psychology Program at MHGS. I am certainly grateful for the timing of that requirement. Even in counseling over the last 9 months, it has been difficult to process my own ambivalence in the brokenness of this marriage and to explore how my expectations and suppositions and definitions have contributed to the conflicts we face. But as my therapist and I have continued on and battled through my inclination to jump to the end (like: going straight to, “Oh well, it’s happening therefore it must be God’s will; what do my feelings matter?) and skip over the steps in the process of growing and learning and struggling to find truth and freedom (facing my hurts and failures and naming them for what they are, in order to find God in the midst of every detail). I have begun to find a deep sense of peace and stability in the processing of my pain and hurt and sorrow.

One of the concepts discussed in my classes this past year has been ambivalence. I think I am pretty consistent and reliable, and I had never really considered myself ambivalent before these discussions. But, it is true, I am ambivalent. I do hold both love and hate for the same person at various times. And sometimes I am ambivalent towards situations, towards myself, and even towards God. And, boy oh boy, does that cause stress and a desire to run away or just plain give up.

But, I am learning to slow down, to turn and face my fears, and to deal honestly with my own ambivalence. And in the turning, I am also learning to face the log that is in my own eye. Perhaps, some day, I will also be able to help my brothers and sisters to remove the speck in theirs.

Faith. Grace. Mercy. God’s provision for each of us! Even in our ambivalence.