I spent a long time living within a culture that demanded the exact opposite of everything written here within this meme.
A culture that exulted all of those who claimed to be humbly denying themselves the most…but was only really ever creating an exclusive race within the culture, to see whom could prove their loyalty and dedication the most.
I watched as the focus drifted from the mission of making sure EVERYONE knew that we were all welcome to sit and eat together at the table of grace…to aggressively (and as we’ve all seen…violently!) defending who and why only SOME were chosen to sit there at all.
Celebrating each other for an unrelenting denial and death of self…in the name of love?
But, that seemed to be the ultimate goal on that narrow path of faith that I had once struggled so hard to stay steady upon.
At 17 years old, I had found myself homeless, seemingly unwanted and alone, and was absolutely desperate to belong somewhere.
So, finding myself “welcome” in church culture felt like the TRUTH.
I struggled to stay within the strict parameters of what it meant to live a life that would be “pleasing” to God.
Even here in my earlier blog posts, you can hear the desperation in my writing to stay anchored to my faith and what I felt I had to do to continue to “belong”.
I worked hard on denying my own unique talents and abilities to try to make myself fit within the “quiet and gentle” template of what a young woman/wife/mother was supposed to look and act like.
Constantly denying my own feelings and emotions because we were taught not to trust ourselves or our own hearts, for the greater good of the “mission”. Since, it is written in the Bible (and OFTEN quoted and taught) that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
So, what could I possibly know, right?
Except, that same toxic pattern would repeat itself in various ways in my life over the past 20 years.
Leaving me in a constant cycle of co-dependency and people pleasing that left me numbing and soothing myself with food and anything else I could find.
Finding ways to survive the constant gas lighting and hurt I was allowing from others, and even doing to MYSELF!
It’s WILD to look back now on my journey.
Body, mind and SOUL.
My faith is much wider now…with plenty of room, acceptance and love for EVERYONE, including (and maybe even most ESPECIALLY) myself.
Which, in my opinion should NOT feel radical or controversial…but to many who knew me way back when…I’m sure it certainly does.
A slippery slope is what it’s called.
Don’t get me wrong:
I still marvel at the undeniable source of ALL.
The unexplainable, indescribable, supernatural, pure LOVE (that has SO many names) and somehow, keeps showing up for me every day…giving me the strength to keep going.
And, I will forever continue to express gratitude for the un-merited, and amazing grace and freedom that we are given each morning to CHOOSE how we get to show up to our own lives.
That is our BIRTHRIGHT.
But it means so much MORE to me now, without the contradicting strings and caveats attached.
The truth is, no matter how hard I try, (lol) Jesus will not leave me alone, and shows up in just about every weird corner of the world I seem to visit.
Showing me constantly that the love, grace, forgiveness and empathy that you learn to genuinely give yourself FIRST, is the path to being able to let it naturally spill out onto everyone else around around you.
It feels so good to be in a place where my worthiness and value is no longer up for debate.
So, there’s no longer a need to hide or apologize for evolving, because I understand now that when I love myself, I am loving GOD.
I’m not interested in theological disputes. I literally do not care, and will not respond.
I have no time for that because, what we focus on GROWS…and I am laser focused building the new world emerging around us instead of joining in tearing down the old one. ???
I dedicate this post to my LGBTQIA friends and family in honor of #PRIDE month. Thank you for showing us what it REALLY looks like to live courageously and authentically, and helping to show me the way out of my own closets. #LOVEWINS
#inwardandonward #spiritualclosetcleaning #comingoutofthespiritualcloset #loveyourself #bemagnetic✨✨