Hiya! I’m staring a new series today. A mini-series if you will. I want to get very real with you and my hope is that it will bring empowerment and encouragement to you, if you are having a similar life experience.
Warning! This is going to be a long read, so grab a drink and get comfortable.
I came across a blog I wrote back in 2012. I resurrected it because it is relevant to my life just as much today as it was back in 1990 something. Will the madness ever stop? Probably not, but we can stop how we react and live our life around it.
Okay, it’s time for my disclaimer. As you continue reading you may find yourself feeling offended with some of the things I have to say. I realize you may not share my passion or my viewpoint about this topic. That is okay. However, if you are willing, I encourage you to hear me out.
Read on… Chapter One - Cutting Through the Religious Fog
Seems like most of my life I’ve been trying to find the right knife that will effectively cut away the religious crap that can cloud my experience of God. I realize that it has taken many different kinds of knives to do the job. Sometimes my experience calls for a butter knife, and sometimes it calls for a machete.
What do I mean by the term Religious Fog? Let’s just say it is a subtle shroud that quietly envelopes us. It somehow feels “right” because it is cloaked in the name of Christianity and religion. Keeping that definition in mind, read this story of Jesus and His experience with religious fog.
The religious leaders tried their best to box Jesus in. They tried to trap Him and convince Him He was doing something wrong because He wasn’t following the “law” or the “rules.” Here’s the story in progress…
Mark 3: 1-6 –The Message – italics mine.
Then he (Jesus) went back in the meeting place where he found a man with a crippled hand. The Pharisees (religious rulers) had their eyes on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction. He said to the man with the crippled hand, “Stand here where we can see you.”
Then he spoke to the people: “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?” No one said a word.
He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man,“Hold out your hand.” He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod’s followers and ruin him.
Have you ever been in a situation where it felt like you were being watched by “religious people?” That they were just waiting for you to mess up, to break the rules, so they could chastise you, fire you, smear your reputation or as it says in Mark, “ruin you?”
I remember a time years ago, in a galaxy far far away… oh wait wrong story! Brian (my husband) was called to a “meeting” with the “religious rulers” in the church where he was on staff. They had been watching us as we worked with the teens in our community.
They told Brian to stop working with those kids because it made the church look bad. They felt it told the community that this was the church that attracted all the “bad” kids. They wanted to be like the church across the street that attracted the “good” kids. NO I am NOT kidding or even exaggerating!
I can recount countless situations just like this that have occurred in my life over the years. All in the name of God, all in the name of Jesus and all in the name of Christianity. Ugh. You might be thinking, well if I were you I would have dropped God a long time ago.
Guess what? I did, for a time. At least I thought I did. I figured if this was what it meant to know God and if this is what Christianity looked like, then I wanted nothing more to do with it. I gave it a good go, I spent the majority of my early life trying to fit in. My Dad was a pastor and my husband was and still is a music minister for heaven’s sake.
However, there were several times in my life where I went berzerk and went off the deep end. It was my f#@% it all attitude. Yep, I still kinda have some of that attitude.
Even though I dropped just about everything and everyone during that time, God never dropped me. To be honest, at some of my lowest points I felt like He was not there, but I know now He was just patiently waiting for me.
Years later I saw that I was not dropping God, I was trying to drop anything that reminded me of the religious poison that I had been exposed to.
I needed to go through all this, so that He could cut away the religious fog that had subtly settled in on my soul and my life. Had I not gone off the deep end in my 30’s, I shudder to think where I would be today.
Would I still be sitting in the front row, in the first hypocrite church, doing my best to follow all their “rules,” as the fog continued to shroud in and the lies silently spun their web of deception around me?
Thank God He rescued me and showed me how to be free from this ridiculous nonsense.
Most of Jesus’s story is about how much He loves us. My gosh, why else would He have gone through what he did on this earth had it not been all for us? He wants to hang out with us. He wants us to just be who we are – real, authentic – not perfect.
I’ve had numerous friends and clients over the years who have shared their heart breaking stories about their experience with religious abuse. How it has tainted their perception of God, and worse yet, turned them from ever wanting to know God! This is not okay people!
I am sick to death of religion, I am sick to death of people trying to cram us into a box, all in the name of God. I am sick to death of hearing about what we should be doing, what we should be acting like, what we should be saying, if we are really “Christian.”
What I know now that I didn’t know then is that we respond or react to life based on our own perspective and experience. That means we can change our perspective and change our experience. But we have to be willing to be vulnerable, put away our pride of being right, learn how to effectively communicate, forgive and how to love each other well.
Does that mean I’m perfect and have it all figured out? Heck no! But God has taught me so much. It’s going to be a continual work in progress because we are all flawed humans. None of us are completely right and none of us are perfect.
Okay, I’m done for now. If you are stuck in this religious web and would like to get out before the spider comes and eats you alive, give me a call or email. I’d love to hear your story and come alongside you as you find the freedom that Jesus came to give.
Stay tuned for the Chapter 2 next Thursday! Till then, Peace, Pam