Chapter 3 - What Matters Most When Your Heart and Trust Has Been Broken.
We are on Chapter 3 today. "What matters most when your heart and trust has been broken. Specifically, when your heart and trust has been broken by the church and christians.
Go grab yourself a drink and sit with me for awhile in contemplation about this topic.
Okay, yes I’m still a little cynical. I came clean in chapter 1 that I still have a little bit of “attitude,” to put it gently. However, God has done some AMAZING work in my life in spite of the experiences I have had with the church. I can even say that because of my experiences, God has shaped who I am and my purpose on this earth. Nothing in life is wasted in God’s economy my friend.
So here’s the deal. If you feel you have been beat up by church leaders or as my dear friend calls them, “crazy ass christians;” what is it going to take for you to move forward in your life? Because I’m guessing that who you are showing up as and the filter you are seeing your life through is not working that great for you. This stuck place in your life may be causing you stress, depression, sadness, bitterness and even anger.
The thing is, if you are like me, I held on to the hurt for a long time. Sadly, I let it define me. I blamed the church for all my issues. I can still remember the day I bought the bricks and mortar to begin construction on the fortress that surrounded my heart.
I was in high school. My Sunday school teacher and part time youth group leader decided that this particular Sunday school gathering was going to be about confession. Okay, I think she probably used a “safer” word than confession. I think it must have been something like, “if you would like to talk about any problems you might be having, I am here to listen.”
On that bright and cheery morning in southwest Colorado, each of us took our turn sharing our teenage problems in a private setting with the Sunday school teacher. I unloaded my “problems,” my sins as it were. To her credit, she did a great job listening and making me feel safe and not judged until…
The “confession” time was over and we reconvened into the classroom. For some reason, the teacher decided that she was going to “air mydirty laundry” in front of the group. I never saw it coming.
Why did she do this? To this day I still have no idea. What I do know is that I was publicly shamed and that was when I began to build the fortress around my heart. I vowed no one in church leadership was going to hurt me again.
Sadly, as you know from reading the last few chapters that this was not a isolated incident. I have many personal experiences just like this one and have talked to many, many people that have the same sad story to share. I’m guessing you too have a story you could tell.
So what matters most when we find ourselves in this kind of experience in our life? What does it take to move forward? Do we allow these experiences to define who we are? Do we allow them to take root in our hearts and cause us to become bitter? I know I did. Do we continue to build the fortress around our hearts so high that we will not EVER think about trusting again? Yep, I did this too.
We can not live a life fully alive or enjoy the gift of freedom that God promises us if we are continuing to slap more mortar onto the bricks to fortify the wall around our heart. At some point we have to chip out a few bricks and make a peep hole.
SIDE NOTE: I am NOT by any means saying that in order to begin moving forward in life you have to crash the wall down with a sledge hammer and open your heart back up to anyone and everyone. Nor am I saying that you should dive back into relationship with the person/s who hurt you, acting like nothing ever happened and calling it “grace.”
I AM saying that what matters most is that we begin to do the work to heal. First and foremost to heal our relationship with God and then with each other.
As we work through the healing process we have to learn a new way of being and a new way of loving. We must learn new thought processes and new ways to respond to situations and people when they trigger and reinforce our hurts. We can not keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results.
We have to take a hard look inward. We can’t expect others to change first, hoping that if or when they do, that it will give us freedom that we crave. It just doesn’t work that way. It’s like drinking the cup of poison and expecting the other person to die from it!
The greatest and most freeing time in my life was when I came to the realization that God was not the church. But guess what, the church (even the leadership) is made up of flawed human beings. Just like the rest of us. And somehow God loves us more than we can wrap our minds around.
Looking back over the years, I believe that God allowed all of this in my life so that I would step into a great adventure with Him. The great adventure started when I checked myself into a treatment center during my “mid-life” crisis.
My quest … to find out who God is and what His relationship to me really looked like, without church, without christianity. And so began my great adventure toward healing and knowing God. Does that mean I don't go to church anymore or hang out with christians? For awhile yes! But not now. He continues to heal my heart when I find myself going to the store to buy more bricks and mortar!
I’m so grateful for the amazing help from my life coaches & spiritual directors. They helped bring me (and still do) through the stuck times in my life and help me wake up when I’m falling back into old, historical patterns.
I’m grateful for the quiet places we have here in Colorado. I love running away to the mountains and every now and then to the Abbey and Monastery. This is where I learned the value and importance of meditation, being still and reconnecting with myself, others and God.
I’m especially grateful to God for this journey, because I have the privilege of helping people who are looking for healing. Who are on a quest to experience God in a deeper way. Who are craving a great adventure in their life!
So, what matters most in terms of moving forward in your life my friend? Would love to hear your comments below.