When I grew up in church, there was a lot of talk about Jesus filling “the hole in your heart.” The implication was that before becoming a Christian, you were empty inside, and after, you became full. This is an incredibly dangerous theology, because it is absolutely not true.
In middle school, I went through a period of pretty significant depression. I would pray for God to kill me, because thankfully I was too scared to do so myself. A lot of my pain came from the fact that I carried an enormous amount of guilt. I was a Christian, so why wasn’t I perfect? If God had filled me up inside, why did I still want so much? Why did I long for a perfect life, perfect relationships, and perfect experiences? If Jesus was the answer to everything, why did I still feel so empty?
I wrestled with these questions alone, because I worried I was the only person thinking such things. My doubts seemed to fly in the face of the salvation narrative I had been taught, so naturally, I thought perhaps I was not saved at all. The combination of adolescence, evangelical guilt, and suffering alone put me in a very bad place for a couple years. And honestly, I didn’t heal so much as I ignored my doubts in favor of legalism and distraction. Continue reading