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I'm Still The Same Girl




blog-0446609001334935398.jpg(This is a portion of a "coming out" letter that I wrote to a dear friend.)



A year ago if anyone had told me that this was going to happen – that I would lose the faith I’d had my entire life, I would have NEVER believed them. In the past when I heard of anyone I knew leaving the faith I could not understand it. I would feel so sorry for them. I always felt like unbelievers must feel so lost and so miserable (even if they didn’t know it). And yet, here I am now…an unbeliever. And I am not lost and I am not miserable. In fact I am more at peace and more happy than I’ve ever been.


Last October I had gotten to a place of absolute misery. I really felt like I was losing my mind. I had trusted and deeply loved God for many, many years. I’d come to know him as my father and closest friend. I believed in his absolute goodness. I believed what the Bible said and placed all my bets on it. I went all in, no holding back. You know me well enough to know that this is the truth. I fully believed God was healing me, and had this confirmed by several other believers. But I wasn’t getting well. No matter how much I believed it and “lived above it”, I was getting worse – not better.


I got to a place that I could no longer deny the reality of what was happening. It was my denial of this physical reality that was making me crazy. And I have to clarify that I wasn’t denying my symptoms b/c I thought that’s the way to get healed. I wasn’t trying to do the “word of faith” thing. And I was not “anti-doctor” or medical care, I was just following what I truly believed God was saying to me and to others about me. I lived so completely in the “spirit reality” that I believed my body would respond and become healthy purely by God’s love and grace for me. I genuinely believed in God’s goodness – I really believed I just needed to rest in him and trust him. But I could no longer rest in his goodness when my body was screaming at me that I was not ok.


So, back to last October. My symptoms had become much worse and I could no longer believe I was being healed. I had become depressed and so confused. I lived in this frustrated and confused state because what I believed to be true and what was actually happening were so completely opposite. I continually asked God to show me, to help me understand. I cried out to him, I so desperately needed him to intervene. But again there was nothing. I could no longer just go on a feeling or a word. I needed him to actually DO what I believed he’d said he had done and would do. I needed a tangible thing to actually happen. But there was nothing.


My choice was to double down for the hundredth time, to surrender my frustration and suspend my judgment once again despite all evidence…or to really question. I could not bring myself to surrender again. I literally felt like if I did I would lose my mind. I had to allow myself to really question what I believed, to allow myself to look objectively at my situation and to use my brain. I fully believed that this questioning would actually lead me to a greater truth – I believed there must be a missing link or revelation I just wasn’t getting. In my mind, I was the only variable – god could not possibly be the problem. I questioned while asking god to please show me, to reveal to me what I must be missing…to meet me in this place of confusion.


But to my astonishment, as soon as I really questioned, things started to crumble right before my eyes. It was like I realized I’d been living in Narnia and found myself back in the coat closet, only to realize there was never really a Narnia at all…I’d just fallen asleep in there and dreamed it all up. I asked god to take me back there, to make it all real to me again. But it was gone and so was he. It reminded me of when I was around 9 or 10 years old. I tried playing with my Barbie’s and realized I could no longer pretend. I knew they weren’t real and couldn’t make up their imaginary world anymore.


I realized the god I’d been worshipping was a god I created myself. He was what I wanted him to be. He really was amazing and wonderful, but that’s because I painted him that way, not because it was what the Bible portrayed him to be. (The fact is, the Bible does not actually portray him to be that loving, but explaining that is not the purpose of this letter.) I then created this whole world that revolved around my perception of him. My RAS was set to only see him that way, and to only see evidence to back that up. But that only worked as long as I didn’t expect evidence that was tangible and unexplainable by any other means. When my image of him grew more powerful (based on New Testament Biblical accounts) it fell apart.


At that point I could no longer go back. I couldn’t go back to believing in “the Kingdom” the way I did before. Maybe to you this was me making a judgment or a choice not to believe. But I am telling you, I had no other choice. Once I saw it, I couldn’t un-see it. At that point the only way to go back would have been to somehow suspend all logic and reason. So I guess if choosing to remain sane and use logic is “making a judgment”, then maybe that IS what I did. I couldn’t subject myself to believing something that I knew wasn’t true. It was literally hurting me emotionally, mentally and physically to keep believing.


No, this was not a choice that I made. Why would I choose this? Why would I choose to leave the dream world where everything is promised to turn out great in the end? Why would I choose to walk away from a whole community of people who believe the same way? Why would I choose to leave friends who love me? Why would I choose a life of having people misunderstand me? Why would I choose to believe differently than my family, friends, and let alone the majority of my country? Why would I choose to give up on the hope that my illness would be miraculously cured? Why would I choose to walk away from believing in an all-loving, all-powerful god who I was my friend?


Who would choose any of that?


I didn’t. I simply had to accept what I knew to be true, no matter what the consequences were. That being said, even though this change in my beliefs has come at a cost to me – I do not regret it. I am being true to myself and I’m genuinely happy with where I am in my life.


I have to admit that not long ago if I were reading this I would think that the person writing was just mad at god and hurt because he didn’t heal her. That is not the case. I didn’t get to the point of “denying god” b/c of anger or being hurt. As I said, I got there b/c my experience didn’t line up with my belief system. The resulting cognitive dissonance that it caused made it impossible for me to continue believing. Further investigation proved to me that if I had continued believing it would have done damage to me and my psyche. And I should also say that am not being deceived by an invisible being who is messing with my mind and causing me to be too rational. wink.png


I could have included a lot more detail here about my journey and my reasons, but this is already getting too long. I just wanted to let you in on where I’m at. I wanted to convey to you that this is not something that I’ve taken lightly, and it has been my own personal path. This was a several month long process. While it has been difficult at times, it has been extremely liberating. The result has been that I am more at peace with myself and with the world.


My other purpose for writing to you is to help you see inside the head of someone who has walked down this road. It might be helpful for you to see unbelievers in a different way. I never, ever thought I’d be on this side of the fence. And yet, here I am. I just think it’s important not to make assumptions about people who have come to this place. I know I made my share of judgments of unbelievers in my day. I thought I had “grace” for them, but really I had no clue who they really were or what their journey was like. And honestly I don’t even think that it is possible for a believer to really understand it. But hopefully I have conveyed it in a meaningful way.


I do love you and I hope that you know I am still the same girl. I am still creative, imaginative, quirky, and fun. I still see the world as a beautiful place, probably even more than I ever have. I am still perceptive, compassionate and loving. I am still honest (maybe a little too honest!). It’s my hope that you will always see me this way. smile.png



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