The journey continues: How I’m healing from spiritual abuse

Originally posted on Facebook April 20, 2018. 

So for those of you who’ve been around me a while know that I came out of a fundamentalist religious background and I worked for several years to weed those things out of my life.

Those old thought patterns were rooted in some people’s unhealthy desires to control other humans, planting fear where freedom belongs.

You also probably know that my journey back into doing church in a healthy way has been sort of like a long backpacking trip—sometimes the terrain was rough and there was a lot of asking myself things like, what do I think is a healthy way to be a person of faith, can I even do church ever again or is this just too painful, and can I trust anyone who identifies as Christian to be who they say they are and to not use faith as a tool to hurt me.

My friends remember me asking “is this normal?” often—sometimes I’m still asking.

I needed to talk to other people during this deconstruction process so that I could be finally find the healing I’d been seeking all along.

Many of you were part of that journey. ❤

The thing that drew me back to my childhood church was that they actually believe in community. Their home groups meet to discuss a few chapters of the Bible (not one of those rote, fill-in-the-blank studies that sometimes feel more like indoctrination than growth) and share a meal together, which felt more like what I’ve heard the early church must have been like than anything I’ve ever seen before.

I loved their emphasis on discipleship, building genuine relationships where you can be authentic even when life is messy and where you don’t have to pretend or worry that you’re not saying the right thing to make sure everyone knows you’re one of the “real ones.”

Open-ended questions are welcomed here, questions like “so what does this mean for us practically, if we’re actually living out what Jesus said” or just saying “sometimes I have trouble believing that God is good and trusting him since I’ve lived through so much betrayal.” There are no bizarre, specific rules like how many inches below your collarbone is your neckline allowed to be if you happen to be female.

This is not what most evangelical churches are like, based on my limited but varied experience, living in four different places during my childhood and attending numerous churches of various denominations growing up and with college friends.

So last week, I was in a video that my church made about our discipleship group and it actually turned out pretty well despite my awkwardness and I wanted to share this with my dear friends who have walked this path with me—some who don’t live here locally.

Maybe one of my biggest hopes (yes I’m aware that it’s overly idealistic) is that American Christianity will become more like this.

It’s been almost six years now since I moved out of my parents’ house, and almost three years since my cats and I moved cross country back to Texas.

I know this was a long post, but thank you for reading and sticking around while I live out my story. 💗💗💗

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