The cry goes out in the blogosphere, ‘be authentic’. Readers want transparency and originality and I understand that. I would much rather read a blog that has authentic heart and a realistic personality, but then we hesitate on being authentic ourselves. I think many of us secretly battle with insecurity and fear rejection if people knew who we really are. We get tired of hearing the same ol’ Christianeze cliches and pat answers to life’s challenges and we eagerly grab at water hoping to bottle it up and hook ourselves up to get an iv drip of grace. Can we get a life of grace in the midst of reality while wrestling with fears of not being accepted and loved?
After leaving a cult my mind began to unwind and at times it seemed to unravel far too quickly and I thought I would lose my mind. Each morning I woke up with racing thoughts and anxiety plagued my soul as I faced each day with uncertainty. The years of hearing nightmarish tales of what happens to people when they leave ‘their church’ were horrendous. You see, I became accustomed to making the church life my anchor instead of Jesus. The empty promises of ‘do this and everything will be ok’ had come to a screeching halt and each day was met with wondering when the ‘lightning’ would crash down upon us. Then seeing how people within the church were still suffering from adultery, pedophilia, abusive marriages, and teenage pregnancy it dawned on me that the ‘church’ was not safe. Or perhaps it was just that life isn’t safe.
Life, whether in church or not, has no promises to bliss. Life takes us on twists and turns all the time no matter where we gather, fellowship, or worship, but the key to facing this unpredictable life is to discover how grace fits into the grand scheme of things.
My husband had finally arrived at home after interviewing for almost 3 weeks at a distance of over 500 miles away. I am so glad he’s home. We enjoyed Saturday evening and we were determined to sleep in a bit on Sunday and enjoy being together. What is it about the desire to sleep in and you end up waking up before the sunrise? I opened my eyes and lay there listening to my mind and I was at rest. I thought I might cry. I don’t know when the early morning anxiety and racing thoughts had ceased, but this was the morning that I noticed it. I sighed a deep breath of relief.
The last few years have been painful and relieving at the same time. It’s difficult to compose into words and yet journaling our departure has been therapeutic for me. The hard part is when my thoughts, questions, and biblical interrogation of cult teachings made my loved ones uncomfortable. Friends fled quickly and at times I felt more lost and alone than before I encountered Jesus. There’s nothing like having everything you hold as sacred and special ripped out from under you then to see your loved ones leave you to squander in the mess alone.
Do we really want to encourage people to be authentic, genuine, realistic, and transparent? If we do, then we had better be ready to support them as loved and accepted in the process. Being transparent can be a filthy mess and if we can’t figure out how to give a relevant Jesus to a hurting believer then we have missed the mark on being Christians.
Now we’re preparing to move to a new community and get a fresh start. Perhaps the past has finally died and the rebirth process is beginning again. Going through labor pains in life isn’t easy and it’s quite painful. To be birthed out of an enclosed and comfortable environment and into a new world can be frightening. Maybe this is why new born babies are born screaming and desiring to snuggle close to their mommas. We’ll be looking for community, a place to be encouraged and a place to serve others. I hope to be able to share more with you very soon. For now we’re totally going on faith…afterall..isn’t that what being a Christian involves?
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