I connected with Melody through Tribe Writers - like Clara, Becky, Tristan, and Jerry. This seems to be the week of Discovery, brought to you by Tribe Writers. Maybe Jeff Goins will give me a shout out for all the mentions.
When Melody sent me her submission, I was first heartbroken over her experience as a pregnant teen in the church and then curious about her definitions/understanding of the soul and spirit as two separate entities - or rather two distinct essences of who we are. I'm more of the belief that we are souls with skin; spiritual beings with human bodies, often with our minds and our hearts in a (sometimes playful) tug of war. This is why the core of my journey is to become my whole self, a goal I'll never achieve this side of eternity. Being someone who likes to make lists just to cross things out, you'd think I'd go for something a little more tangible in this lifetime. I'm a seeking thinker, I like logic, but the blood in my veins pumps from a nomadic heart bent toward the illogical. My soul guides me to mystery and whimsy, stretching my brain to use my imagination and dream, rarely supplying me with any answers to my questions.
But... I digress. This is about what Melody believes, not what I believe, and I couldn't be more grateful that she has willingly shared her process of discovery with me - and now, with you. Melody lives in Texas with her husband, youngest son, and two dogs. She writes at truth&ink, where you can read a brave admission about why she voted for Trump.
Responses by Melody Dowlearn
What do you believe, and why?
I believe that we are each created with purpose, gifts, and a very unique destiny that is our mission to discover. I believe that when we are walking toward our destiny and our Creator, we will find the highest truth available for our lives. There are levels of truth to be lived out, and we only find them if we are moving forward on our journey. I believe this because this has been my life experience: moving forward, falling down, getting up, moving forward again; it's all about discovery and finding new truths as I am able to receive them.
How did you discover your beliefs?
Experiential living. I have been most open to the truth when I am desperate and vulnerable. I also had to be willing to lay down religion to find truth, and it has been the greatest exchange of my life - walking hand-in-hand with Jesus versus just knowing about him.
I was brought up in a very strict Christian home; there were more rules than grace. When I was 17, I got pregnant. It was a disaster, especially in my family and the church. When my pastor found out, he brought me, my boyfriend, and the entire youth group into his office and shamed me like nothing I had ever experienced. It was an awful time. My parents didn't handle it well either. I insisted on marrying the young man against their wishes, and I ended up divorced after a year of abuse and being cheated on.
I spent the next five years wandering through college as a single mom, collecting more bad relationships and succumbing to an eating disorder. I eventually learned how to rebuild myself through a relationship with Jesus dependent on the Holy Spirit's guidance, instead of trying to do everything "right". Freedom replaced rules. When you hit rock bottom, you start to examine how you got there and often become open to trying something new. This part of my journey was worth every step; it made me who I am today.
How do you interact with your beliefs?
I am my beliefs. Beliefs aren't something I do, they are something I continually become.
What do you do when you doubt your beliefs?
I believe the person is a "triune" being: body, soul and spirit.
- Your body is your physical self in the natural realm.
- Your soul is your ego comprised of your emotions, thoughts, experiences, and memories.
- Your spirit connects to the supernatural realm.
Our soul holds us back while our spirit moves us forward. Holy Spirit always speaks to our spirit, not our soul, which is why we sometimes cannot do the very thing we know we are supposed to do. Our soul dominates our spirit. The one that is stronger dictates where we ultimately end up. Our spirit is the essence of who we were meant to be, our persona. Our soul is the essence of where we are up to this point in our life. They can be very different entities until we allow our spirit to lead instead of our soul.
I believe truth is a journey, not a destination. It is a journey to live more in the Spirit realm than the physical/temporal realm. I have a long way to go, but I have also come a long way. My soul doubts when my spirit disconnects due to distractions, busyness, disappointment, etc. But my spirit never doubts, and "doubt" is becoming more and more a distant memory.
To read more My Discovery Process submissions, you can find them here.