بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Stress has damaged my heart, mind, and soul. Too much stress in religion has made me miserable. Wanting some peace from religion is the main thing I wanted, but I am stuck dealing with the misery and the stress and pressure, which led me to a severely poor opinion of God. And it is incredibly hard to get out, and have hope in this spiritual depression I’m stuck in.
This morning, on the bed, I did have some peace and tranquility, but the amount of stress build up has made me very resentful and bitter. Religion was never suppoed to be stressful, but nothing has stressed me out more than religion.
This morning, as I was in the car, super exhausted from stress, I stopped to try to rest. But couldn’t fall asleep like usual. Then I decided to recite something positive, hoping for that tranquility that used to come alot and occasionally comes when I read, despite the most severely painful stress and emotions I have ever gone through. I recited one ayah talking about jannah and hoping for it.
جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ مَنْ تَزَكَّىٰ
Gardens of Eden, rivers flowing beneath them, abiding therin. And that is the reward for those engaged in purification.
The beginning was fine, but then the end triggered more stress and chest pains, and it was consistent after reciting it for about five minutes. Knowing that I need relaxation and tranquility and a way out from these stresses, the last thing I want to do is to feel more stress, where I have to explore why I am feeling stress, and what is causing me to feel this stress on a hopeful ayah of paradise. But in my severe despair depression, my irrationality has become so severe, it feels that I am getting so upset and irrational and more despair with even the Quran. The fact that I can’t just get peace reading so easily, and have to address stress sources, and work so hard, really adds to the demotivation and takes more away from any feelings of love that were once there for God and Religion. The fact that God didn’t put any burden in religion, yet I have suffered more feelings of burden in the name of religion than imaginable. It’s primarily surrounding the reading of Quran, and in outside life with extremely irrational thoughts and bad ideas aboud God and life.
But blaming and getting angry always makes it worse, So anyways, what is it about the verse that is bothering me? It’s the part at the end that brings up the despair. “That is the reward for those who are purifying themselves.“
It was enough for me to be promised Jannah, and to be accepted into it. That would be enough for my motivation. But the condition placed on it triggers the despair. The condition of those who are “doing” something. They are engaged in something. They are taking an action. They are doing. This hurts me for some reason. This demotivates me and brings up more stress. It makes me want to close the book and not feel more stress. But I’m stressed in life with irrational thoughts so there’s no way out.
Why am I so bothered by the condition placed on those entering jannah here? Because it involves doing, a major major cornerstone of my self worth. I still to this day feel so worthless if I don’t have something to ‘do’. If I don’t accomplish and get things done, then I’m not good. There is something so deep in me, that I have lost so much hope in myself over, that I have no confidence in myself if I don’t do. What I do, means too much to me.
When I am hearing the same thing in the verse, it strikes a deep wound inside. “Only if you do this, will you be accepted. Only if you are doing things, will I accept you.” Of course, the ayah is not supposed to make you feel worthless, but alas, my self esteem is based on “doing.” And I’m so exhausted from stress that I am barely able to “do” anything. So then in my depression, this “reminder” aggravates my self esteem, and makes me stressed.
Later on in the day, I rehashed this issue again after praying Asr. I felt so tired and exhausted, that all the Quran has been reduced to for me is, “If you do this and that, I accept you. If you don’t do this and that, you are rejected in Hellfire. And because of the amount of stress, and lack of spirituality, I felt no desire to worship with this concept of God with my life long self esteem void.
Where did this come from? Well If my heart truly connected to the root of this idea, or I could with my heart not believe God is basing my value on what I do, then I could make progress out of it. Because I superficially know that God values you for you are, and the fact we were created by Him, makes us valuable and worthy as human beings. And that fact alone, that we have a Rabb (caretaker, sustainer, and creator, gives us true self worth), that is the drive that makes us worship Him out of a true love, and drives us to worship Him truly. But these stubborn core beliefs are very irrational, and very hard to shake off.