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Riven

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Everything posted by Riven

  1. @Jace Great question. I ask myself why it took me 25 years to get out. I stayed for a long, long time, having so many questions. I don't feel stupid, but I do want to know why. Why did the message of Jesus "work" on me? Why didn't I get out when I started seeing things I didn't agree with? For me, I think part of it was that the longer I was in that culture, the more stuck in I was. I didn't have friends from my formerly (sinful) life anymore. I was so indoctrinated into the culture and way of thinking, that I couldn't imagine starting all over again. The older I got, the more stuck I felt. Also, for me, I think there was a strong need to please my family. I was the successful missionary, worship leader, singer, ministry leader, etc., that my family could point to and say, "that's our daughter!" I didn't want to disappoint. In the end, I had to get out to save my sanity, and my own life. I do regret how long it took, but I guess I'm looking more for tendencies in myself (or weaknesses) that kept me hooked. I felt more weak than stupid. But I'm getting stronger all the time. Baby steps.
  2. Thanks for the warm welcomes all around! @LogicalFallacy - 32 years as a hard-core fundie.... I can imagine you are well-qualified to help those of us who are so much newer to this. My healing has come a long way. Most of the time I'm OK. I experience joy and freedom I never knew (that's pretty ironic, as that's the calling-card promise of most evangelicals), but occasionally when I least expect it, I get triggered to the point of needing to coil up somewhere in a ball and fight my way out of a massive emotional upset. Luckily, it's less and less. P.S. My aunt (now deceased) is from New Zealand! It's on my bucket list to get there one day! @disillusioned my son and husband left with me. Actually, my son was 12, and he was one of the catalysts that led us out. (There were other "done" moments too, but that was a big one.) I told my husband that I didn't know what upset me more: That he (my son) was starting to be picked on in youth group for having the "nerve" to be neutral politically, OR that he might eventually cave to peer pressure and turn out with attitudes about others that that I couldn't stomach. Kids that age tend to repeat what they hear at home, and it was pretty ugly. We needed to get him out of there. The rest of my family (extended) however, doesn't know. We moved, and they think we're "church shopping" (for almost two years now!) Honestly, I stopped talking politics or religion with my family long ago. They have one truth, and everyone else's opinions are wrong. It helps they live in another state. @Jeff, @Geezer and @JenniferG - thank you for the welcome! It's been a long road out, but I guess it took what it took. I'm just glad I don't have to live up to anyone's impossible standards anymore. I'm free to figure out who I am, after so many years inside the crazy world of evangelical Christianity!
  3. @Joshpantera thanks for giving me the best laugh I've had in a while! Completely epic reply! I appreciate your observation! I guess I've still got dem blues in me!
  4. Riven

    Bitter

    I think everyone has to find their own way out of bitterness. I can share what worked for me. My done moment was about a year and a half ago. I went through a very dark time, where I was incredibly angry. That anger turned into bitterness, and it came out in so many areas of my life. One day I was thinking about how bitter and angry I had become, and I was looking for a way to get out of it. I thought for a long time about it, and decided that if this life is the only one I get, then I was allowing what happened to me to have way too much ongoing power over my life. It was like I woke up every day angry and bitter at what had happened to my life, all the wasted years in the church, etc., and I realized that it was me that was keeping me stuck. And if I had the power to keep myself stuck, I had the power to allow myself to move on. I guess my way out was just figuring out that I wanted to do the most I could, with the time I had. I had wasted so much time in the church, but if I continued to stay stuck, then that was on me. I don't know if that helps, but it's how I came out of it. I can still get very bitter and cynical about things I read in the news, or if I see certain bible verses, but I catch myself, and don't allow myself to stay there for long.
  5. Hi everyone. I actually signed up here in December, 2016, but haven't felt ready to start sharing. I spent a good deal of the past year or so dealing with significant emotional wounds, and I only now feel healed enough to be safe interacting with others. Hopefully this isn't as tough a crowd as where I came from. As for me: I spent 25 years of my life in evangelical Christianity. I wasn't fundamentalist, but the denomination (Baptist) was pretty conservative. I was one of those sold-out, all-in believers that signed up for every ministry, and every outreach. I headed up women's bible studies, did outreach to the homeless and did recovery work at rescue missions and the Salvation Army. I was also a professional (blues) musician prior to my conversion, so worship team and choir were also in the mix. During my time in the church, I "filed away" many things that either were "not OK to ask" or were "just the way things are." But cognitive dissonance as a coping strategy can only get you so far. Looking back, I'm amazed that I lasted as long as I did. Especially since I didn't come from a religious family upbringing. When I finally had my done moment and left, I'd been wearing a mask, hiding so many areas of disagreement with church doctrine or policy, that no one really "knew" me. I was a perfect little rule-follower, and as long as I did as I was told, or as I should, all was well. Except for all was not well with me. My husband and son and I had moved up to the Pacific Northwest from California, and our entire social life was wrapped up in this church. When we left, I lost every friend I had. Worse, after 25 years, I literally had no idea how to make friends outside of belonging to a church. It's been a long, hard road, but I think I'm going to make it. I look forward to sharing my ex-timonial at some point soon, and thank you for being here for those of us who arrive as walking wounded.
  6. Riven

    My Voice

    My Voice Have I ever had a voice? If I ever did, it’s been long since silenced. Beaten down. Ignored. At one time, I’m sure there was someone alive in there. Burning need, desire, ambition; longing to be free. But my voice is now a mere shadow of itself. A glimmer, a memory, a thought of someone I could have been, might have been, way back when. But still, the seed of me, of who I can be, it burns, it needs, it longs. My voice: it is not dead, merely crushed. Unrecognizable even to me. But the faint echo of promise has stirred within me. I will speak.
  7. Thank you, Joshpantera! I'm getting close... I signed up some time ago, but couldn't even post. So, progress.
  8. Thank you, disillusioned. I appreciate that. (For the life of me, I can't figure out how to "like" or "thank" a post...)
  9. Jace, I'm with you. I've struggled so much with this. Part of me would like to know if I could be thrown away so easily by my family, and part of me never wants to find out.
  10. Welcome, Jace! I too, am in the deconversion process, which started for me in late 2015, after 25 years in evangelical Christianity. And, like you, I have a husband that still believes, even though we exited our evangelical church together in agreement. He still wanted to have a connection to the church, so as @Geezer said, I agreed to attend, if it were a place that was accepting of all. We landed at United Methodist, and the pastor knows of my beliefs. It's working for us. Good luck in your journey!
  11. I would actually take it as a compliment if someone was interested in my profile. Especially given I'm so new, and have worked so hard to find non-Christian friends in this very Christian area where I live. But, I like that you are sensitive to what others might think. I tend to be that way too about way too many things. Actually, it's that personality trait that probably kept me immobilized inside evangelicalism for so long.
  12. Thank you for sharing your story! I have not posted my ex-timonial yet, but am getting close. It's helpful to come here and read others experiences. Thank you. I hope your growth towards wholeness and freedom continues!
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