As the name implies, this is regarding the article I had written back in 2018, which I called “Is What I’m Feeling Okay?”, which was slightly controversial with a few perspectives that did raise some eyebrows about my current state regarding the church as a whole. I continue to reference back to this every once in a while, but now I feel like there’s been enough change in my life to address where I’m at now, how I’m dealing, and what the future holds.
First of all, I want to start out this by saying that I am in no way going to say what I was feeling back then was ever wrong. To answer past me’s question, despite some opinions that had been thrown my way within the journey, yes, it is absolutely okay to feel as you do about the church controversy. And yes, I know you weren’t using the word because you didn’t feel like it was dramatic enough to be considered an actual problem, but you were in a cult and were dealing with some sense of emotional trauma. And that’s okay.
Past me had a lot of issue trusting, especially when 13 years of trust gets crushed within 3 months time. It’s funny how long it takes to gain trust with someone but it can literally be taken away in a moment’s time. Sometimes that’s just how it is, and as human beings with emotions, we must figure out how to deal with this when we become the victim of trust issues. I had mentioned multiple times that I had become hard to very specific doctrines, and it definitely did not help that when I opened up about this, more of those doctrines were pushed onto me. Watching Christians online either lash out on others for their beliefs or being misguided, or witnessing them purposefully putting people down for their struggles through the Bible was not a good part of trying to heal. They pushed for only their doctrine being correct, and eventually people push so much you’re literally trapped back into the hole you tried crawling out of.
I was also dealing with a lot of anxiety issues, but I think this was prompted by the friends I had and the fear of being in a new state, since then I had moved from Indiana to Florida. I was away from the cult, from what was intending for harm, but I was now in a new atmosphere and didn’t know anybody or much of even where I was, so there was a lot of anxiety placed within that. It got pretty bad until I did finally warm up to everything and began to start fresh.
Time does heal wounds, but I’ve had to make a consistent effort regarding that, because I found that sitting and hoping that the pain would end didn’t work. It was depressing and lonely. So I opened myself up to research and to people specifically, lending an ear to anyone who just needed to vent about their own issues within the church. I was told that I needed to fix myself before I tried helping to fix others, but do you really know WHEN you’ll be fixed? No. I’m not sitting around and waiting for that. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. That’s God’s timing, and my responsibility to focus on healing.
I found a lot of healing in the people I met. It opened me up to a lot of other perspectives and views, which in turn, allowed me some clarity on my own end. It breaks my heart when people talk about their own horrible circumstances within the church, because either you’re instructed to trust these people to a certain degree or it’s just natural. You’re supposed to be worshiping the same God. That has some sense of trust involved. So therefore, when someone breaks that trust and you begin to realize maybe you weren’t worshiping the same God or even that you thought you knew the same person, it gets difficult very easily. I got to find out that I had a lot of similarities with the people I met, and I made a lot of friends through this.
Community has also been a huge part of healing, and something I’m still trying to work on. This is the part where I’m more working on gaining trust than anything, but I’ve also found being able to connect with people again has been a major part of working past the issues. Is this the cure? No. And to be honest, I was never really told what the cure to this sort of emotional trauma was. I literally found a sense of peace through prayer, people I love, and God. I’m not cured, but I am at peace.
Some days I spiral back. I often ask myself why I’M the one who has to bear this pain? It’s painful for myself to see other people being able to live normal lives without the struggles of these emotions. There’s people who don’t have to bear the pain of exactly the same issues as me, and I envy that sense of freedom. Maybe it’s selfish. But as someone I dearly love once pointed out to me, maybe I’m supposed to be carrying this experience so that I can be able to reach out to someone else. And I think they’re right.
This post is probably the hardest to journal on moving on from the church because I’m not as open about sharing my own experiences as much as I used to. More than likely, the belief I came from will not be viewed as cult anytime soon if at all. I don’t think I have any control over that, but what I can do is be open to other people and to love them as Christ loved me.
I think one of the hardest struggles is the spiritual struggle. It’s literally a battle of the mind and soul. People need loved through this struggle, to be told that it’s okay to feel what they feel and that better things are coming, and Someone loves them. In the end, it’s not about who was right or wrong. It was about what difference we were making.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9