Own it Baby! Work it! *Snaps fingers*

Oh, lol… I do amuse me.

Digression done away with, I’ve been thinking more and more lately about walking away from Christianity. I realize one of the most powerful aspects of leaving my faith behind was finally being allowed to own my feelings. To experience them, keep them, work through them, etc.

What I mean by that is when walking the walk of an evangelical pentecostal Christian, every single emotion/inner experience that you have is given away.

For example:

Grief – say if you were sad because your Mum died – Aw hunny don’t be sad, she’s with Jesus, give your grief to the Lord!

Depressed – You’re not experiencing the victory of Christ! Grasp His victory on the cross!

Angry – The devil is aggravating you, trying to get you to sin. OR! It could be that you’re experiencing Righteous Anger and the Lord is prompting you to action! (You mean like shooting an abortion Doctor?)

Frustrated – Oh this one is fun. It could be because you’re being rebellious and not submitting to God. It could be because Gods put something on your heart He wants you to fix for Him in the world/church/neighborhood, etc.  It could be because God is making you aware of something in your life He wants you to fix about yourself.

Horny – TEMPTED! (If you can’t control that and stay celibate like Paul, then Marry! Marry quickly so you can get your rocks off!)

Happy – The Lord has given you joy!!! Be grateful!

Devastated – The Lord is testing you, but tut tut, take comfort, He’ll never give you more than you can bear.

Anxious – Whatever you’re anxious about you should be giving to the Lord for Him to deal with.

Connection with Something – God has put that something on your heart.

Desire or Yearning for Something – God has put that on your heart because that is where you can do the most good and honor Him.

Jealous – Satan is fuckinwitchu again.

See what I mean? And because you’re so focused on handing over your emotions, wants or needs to God or trying to decipher what God is using your emotions/wants/needs to tell you, there is probably little chance you’re actually sitting and working through any of them. You never fully FEEL anything. What does it mean, what does God want, what is God telling me with this, repent, repent – you’re tempted!!! Fuck that’s exhausting. And a fabulous tool for repression.

When your feelings, wants, needs, desires and thoughts are constantly being attributed to Satan or God or having to be handed over to God you never actually get to know yourself. You never actually stay with the any of it, unpack it, face it, confront it, indulge it, sort through it. And what is even scarier and more exhausting is that so many people claim to be authorities on these topics, you can literally go insane trying to find the “right” answer that you end up like an inbred pedigree dog chasing your own tail until you slam into a door frame.

But that, my non-as-of-yet-existent blog readers, is why so very many depend so heavily on God. He becomes the protective screen so nothing is actually felt or dealt with or even taken responsibility for. I can see why people need that. I don’t judge at all. I just couldn’t hack it anymore. Call me a glutton for punishment but I wanted the ability, better or worse, to experience all that stuff in it’s best and worst and work through it myself and make my own fucking decisions about what it all meant, if anything. And if God is real and I walked away, that is still going to be my answer on my judgment day.

Personally speaking I was overwhelmed but relieved to feel/want/need/engage. It was like getting my senses back. With that came my instincts. Oh how I love my precious precious instincts. The ones I had been taught and encouraged to ignore for years and years. The ones, when acceptable, were attributed to God and when unacceptable were attributed to Satan. “I like this church” “OMG God has led you here!!!” or “Dude I am getting a bad vibe about this” “Oh goodness, you’re Spirit of Rebellion is gaining a foothold!”

I call bullshit.

I have an ex (christian fundie) boyfriend who loved visual analogies. Because I was divorced and he was a crystal clear virgin, his analogy for our relationship was as follows: Mountain has a pristine white castle upon it with a road running away from it to a field which eventually got darker, wetter and muddier. Eventually it turned into a sticky, disgusting bog swamp. Him and his family were up in the castle. Me? I was roooolling like a pig in the mud in the bog swamp. I was tainted and dirtied in my pain, emotions, experiences and *gasp* my sins. He thought I was neat but was desperately trying to figure out a way to send in a hazmat team to extract me from my filth. You can see why this relationship didn’t last.

Still. I took something away from that. That swamp? Is authenticity. Now I revel in it. I don’t want that filter to protect me from feeling, wanting, needing, paying attention to my instincts, etc. Especially since most of it is someone elses projection onto you and how unhealthy is that when they’re filtering feeling anything themselves? It’s like a circle jerk of repression, control and manipulation.

I love the freedom of wallowing in whatever comes up out of me for better or worse. I love not having to try and submit it to God or repent for it or seeking some elder or deacon or pastor to interpret it for me. Because I don’t believe any of it is from God or Satan. I believe it’s just stupid human me with all my glorious experiences, wounds, feelings, needs, wants, conditioning, traumas, passions, etc.

It might just be the best part of breaking free for me.

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6 Comments

  1. Nekronaizzers said,

    April 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Yes yes and YES my dear. This reminds me of the Buddhist idea that you are responsible for everything. Literally, EVERYTHING. You have to own it all and not blame anything or anyone for how your life is or how you feel etc. It’s all on you. This is something humans are incredibly resistant to and it seems like blaming the bad on Satan or attributing the good to God is just another way to avoid it all. I love how you talk about it being a way to avoid feeling, especially because so many believers honestly believe that they are experiencing not only a full range of experiences and emotions, but they are experiencing more than you are.

  2. Christa said,

    April 3, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I know you said to stay away, but I’m like a moth to this controversial flame! 🙂
    But my perception is that you’ve allowed people to misrepresent the Bible or have chosen to do it yourself to validate your choice to be agnostic. Believe me, as a PK, I’ve learned I have to get the truth about God from the Bible, not what others tell me the Bible says, or how they live and act.

    God created us with the capacity to experience the most incredible range of emotions. And the responsibility for said emotions. ! That is a huge part of why He created us, and a big difference between us and any other being. We FEEL and THINK and CHOOSE. I actually find the opposite as you… that the non-religious folk don’t take responsibility for their emotions, experiences, choices, needs, wants… they “can’t help it”, it’s “just natural”. Just because a person chooses to give thanks to a Provider for joy or turn to Him in sorrow for support, or obey a commandment, doesn’t mean they don’t “stay with any of it, unpack it, face it, confront it, indulge it, sort through it”. I FEEL. Everyday, every moment. It’s beautiful, painful, joyous, sad, angry, thrilling, passionate, and MESSY. There are religious types who live in white washed houses that don’t want to associate themselves with the truth. They pretend to be perfect and sinless. The Bible speaks against these folks. Have you read the Psalms? David was NOT emotionally repressed. lol. But he was called a man after God’s own heart. And He created us women with our big, beautiful, FEELING hearts in His own image. Why would He then suppress them?

    • April 3, 2010 at 7:01 pm

      lol if you can hack it and engage in dialog, you’re more than welcome ;c)

      Your perception is slightly correct but incomplete. There are many more reasons, which I am slowly getting down to blog as well. They include science, experiences, over a years worth of research, etc.

      I very deeply do not feel I am misrepresenting the Bible, but am addressing Christian cultures, specifically ones that I have come across or been involved in. For years I would have argued exactly what you just have, and to be honest I do not think what God says in the Bible is to repress our stuff. I think the humans in the culture do. And they use God and Satan as a filter from feeling. They use God/Satan as a tool for their own ends, if you follow what I mean.

      I very much agree that Noners do it too. My experience, though, was that breaking away from Christianity stopped this filtering issue for me. I was surrounded with expectations and teachings and spiritual advisors who instilled everything I said in the blog into me. It was further encouraged with that HORRIBLE emotional mask MOST people were wearing Sunday morning. The “How are you?” “Grand! Doing good, the Lord is blessing us today!” stuff when inside their like curled up in shock in the corner shaking and incoherent.

      I try not to generalize and that is why I can say I didn’t mean every Christian is like this. In fact the only ones I remain friends with are the ones who aren’t because I can’t handle cookie cutter emotions and masks and all the rest.

      Do noners fob things off and refuse to take responsibility for their stuff? Absolutely. 100% Humanity loves that kind of stuff. I found though, that Christian culture prevented me from even realizing I should be taking responsibility for my stuff rather than giving it to God or attributing it to Satan. There was a constant stream of books, people, elders, teachings, etc tell me what I should think, how I should think, who I should turn to and what my stuff meant and how it should be dealt with and that if I didn’t pay attention to all their noise, I was being a rebellious and disobedient Christian.

      I can say with a hand on my heart that I experienced this freedom I spoke of when I left the church and before I stopped calling myself a Christian. If your experience with the Christian culture wasn’t like this and I am so, genuinely, grateful for you. Mine was shit and spiritual abuse ran rampant.

      ❤

  3. Christa said,

    April 3, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    oh… haha… my experience with Christian culture is very much the same. My experience with God and the Bible, very different. Freedom is in Christ, not in Christian culture, for sure, for sure! 🙂 I mean, He came to bring grace and crush a religion that was about “the law” only, and yet so many churches and “christians” don’t accept grace for themselves or others. False teachers and gospels are EVERYWHERE, misrepresenting His name. I guess that is where it gets all confusing, right? “Christian” doesn’t really mean a true Christ follower anymore.

    If you are only dealing with christian culture, I actually agree that people and churches often use God/Satan as tools for their own end. It’s disgusting and manipulative. It breaks my heart. It’s religion and it binds and tramples and breaks. It pretends to be true, but it’s not the Truth.

  4. JulietEcho said,

    April 8, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Hey – I found your blog through a comment you left on Friendly Atheist. I’m actually the forum admin there, and it’s been a great way for me to explore topics without religious spin. I understand where the religious members are coming from, but I’m very empathetic (obviously) to the atheist members too.

    I grew up in a very conservative, evangelical home and community, and when I slowly lost my faith, I lost a lot that went with it (aspects of family, lots of friends, acceptance, etc.) But I gained a lot more, and that includes freedom from having to ascribe my emotions to the old God/Satan thing you describe so well in this post.

    One of the worst things I’ve been through was an eating disorder that lasted through most of my teens and throughout college. Simply having an eating disorder was referred to by some people at our church as “sin” and it was also largely attributed to Satan/demons, etc. My parents sent me to a horrific Christian counselor who seemed to think my main problem was not being close enough to God.

    Oddly enough, none of those experiences really made me question my faith (I had plenty of other reasons), but I feel sorry for the people involved now, looking back. They have such a narrow lens with which they view the world that everything must fit into their categories – would it be so unbearable to admit that sometimes shit happens? Or that bad things happen to good people, and sin has nothing to do with it?

    Anyway, I plan to drop in and read here more often 🙂

    • April 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

      Lovely to meet you ^_^

      I struggled with an eating disorder and while my family isn’t exceptionally religious, the community I had become involved in was and went through a lot of the stuff you mention here. I have epic empathy and at the same time am delighted you’ve broken free too. Shit happens, life is fucking hard, that’s the way it goes.

      Thanks for popping in – hope to see you around ❤


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