A couple of days ago I received some questions by email about my spiritual journey and giving my life over to God, and the challenges I had to go through in the process. After replying, I thought it's interesting enough to post here.
"How did you make the shift in lifestyle? Was it uncomfortable/foreign for you to get more deeply involved at first? How did you deal with that?"
I wouldn't call what I did a "shift". Rather, it was/is a long and slow journey. There were days when I wanted to throw it all away, and there were days when I couldn't remember why I need it at all. Becoming an Orthodox Jew requires a good deal of adjustment in daily routines, as well as in spiritual outlook, and it didn't go without struggle. Uncomfortable? You bet! But at the same time, I felt this path is right for me - actually, the more difficult it got, the more right it felt. It kept me going.
"Did you miss some of the "old" activities?"
Don't get me wrong, I was never addicted to drinking and partying all night long. When I was younger, I think I did it more out of social pressure than for any other reason. However, when you realize something is forbidden, and you feel more and more restrictions being formed through your new way of life, sometimes you might have this almost unbearable desire to chuck it all out the window and just stop thinking. Yes, sometimes I wanted to go back to doing things without thinking whether this is right or wrong. Sometimes I wanted to go shopping for clothes without examining the length of skirts and sleeves, and just buy whatever flatters me. Yet, I kept reminding myself, did it make me happy to do all those things? No, not really. On the contrary, it made me feel cheap, miserable and used. So I knew, again, that I'm on the right path.
"How did you handle loved ones who have disdain for ANY religion let alone devote practice?
How about friends, which have been involved with you forever?"
Regular readers of my blog will remember that I mentioned I didn't exactly get much support from my family and friends. When you are making such a big change in your life, it is easily to be overwhelmed by the beauty and power of your new spirituality - up to the point when self-righteousness gets in your head. I must admit that in earlier days, I often found myself arguing my point - which, I now believe, is entirely useless. It's so much better when one lives as he think is right, and softly and lovingly sets an example. This has made all the difference in the world. For example, I was unable to convince my friends that my new dating practices (no touching, no being alone together) were any good. Yet seeing me glow with happiness on the day I married my husband was a more powerful message than any words I could possibly come up with.