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1 Faith + 10 Years = 0 Life


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I finally gathered the energy and courage to post on here.  I also need to state that I'm literally too depressed to write a long and detailed anti-testimony so forgive me if this lacks emotion.

 

When I was 19 I was a socially award young adult with a low self esteem.  I worked in a restaurant at the time and I remember that one of the servers invited me to go on a missions trip to Bolivia.  The church which sponsored the trip offered to subsidize the cost putting it in my financial reach.  I suppose they felt the experience would save my soul.  On top of that I've always had a desire to travel and explore other continents so why not? The trip introduced me to the basic tenants of Christianity, Jesus dying for our sins, blah blah blah.  Needless to say, a few weeks afterwards I gave my life to Christ.  With this paragraph, the "1 Faith" part of the equation in the topic title is written.

 

What followed was a nauseating, vomit inducing, rollercoaster ride of emotions and disappointment.  I pretty much explored every single flavor of Christianity that there is.  I attended churches from the "fundy" side of the spectrum (Orthodox Presbyterian) to the "liberal Christian" side of the spectrum.  I suppose the first spark of doubt was realizing that my spiritual leaders where completely clueless on several vital issues despite the fact they've been in seminary for years.  I also met many unsavory characters along the way.  I understand that they where deluded, however they served to misguide me and sidetrack my life over and over again.  I should have focused this time on getting my life together, finishing my education, getting my career going, or at least knowing what the hell I wanted to do.  There was no god there to guide me despite my searching, just the cold silence of an indifferent universe and the ramblings of others. I made so many rather unwise choices that will stay with me for a lifetime.  I suppose I will get to post details about my experiences as time goes by here.  With this second paragraph, the "10 Years" portion if equation is written.

 

So 1 Faith + 10 Years and what do we get?  Well, I'm now 29 and I can safely declare my 20s a complete loss.  This is supposed to be the decade where you build the foundation for the rest of your life.  I build that foundation on something that wasn't even real.  It simply washed away when the tide of reality finally came rolling in.  Back in October I finally let go  and declared everything I've been taught bullshit.  There where many signs telling me it was bullshit but my logic was always held hostage by my fears and emotions.  I don't know how long the fallout is going to last.  As many of you know, breaking free means that you lose your Christian support circle and friends.  Furthermore I am in financial ruins and I'm back at my parents place even though I'm pushing 30.  I am taking as many measures as I can to try to rebuild my life.  However I have to do it with the weights of solitude and depression on my back.  The end result of the equation is indeed "0 Life."  

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Welcome to ex-C.  It's good to have you.  Sorry to hear about your life but it's a common experience from Christianity.  All we can do is start over.

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"I also met many unsavory characters along the way."

 

me too, and I had to consider them my "brothers in christ" and suffer their influence over me and feel bad for my perfectly sane and normal negative gut reactions against such people. At least now i don't have to suffer such people.

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Welcome to Ex-C!! I'm so glad you've found this welcoming and healing community.

 

You said, 

So 1 Faith + 10 Years and what do we get?  Well, I'm now 29 and I can safely declare my 20s a complete loss.  This is supposed to be the decade where you build the foundation for the rest of your life.  I build that foundation on something that wasn't even real.

 

Well, I really hear you. I was in my late 30s when it all came undone, after an entire lifetime gobbled up in JesusLand. Talk about socially inept! I went from a theory of everything to a theory of nothing. So, I completely know what you're saying.

 

That said, all is not lost. If I can give you a word of advice, try to consider the last decade of your Christian "walk" not as a waste, but as the scenic route, or a bad detour from which you are recovering. There is hope; there is a better life. You have not thrown your life away. Christianity is a bad investment, but it's not bankruptcy. So, take your remaining "money" (abilities, coping skills, dreams, goals) you've squirreled away under your mattress (find the 'eggs' of your life that you didn't put into the Jesus Basket) and start living your life.

 

Better late than never, friend. And that's coming from someone who is several years older than you! GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

 

Celebrate being out, friend! Keep us posted.

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I am the same age and starting over a bit as well. I know enough active people at ages I once thought to be terribly old, though, so I'm glad I am 29 and not 69. Still relatively young. I'm working on the 'what do I want to do with my life' thing, along with the 'who am I' thing. I can really identify with all friends and relatives being Christian. Keep searching. You will find kindred spirits! All else fails there's always the internet. Despite my lack of ability to fit in with in-person people, finding people online is much easier.

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Positivist said it beautifully! The scenic route... I love it!

 

You are not alone, RC. I had a nice education and did a lot in my 20s. But as smart and worldly as I thought I was, in my 30s I was suckered into suffering through the same things you describe perfectly in your second paragraph. And I mean suffered! It affects a lot of us, no matter where we started from.

 

I turn 42 next week, so please allow me to give some loving words. I remember freaking out a bit at 29. The big 3-0 was looming, and I was taking inventory of my life until that point. My inventory was pretty good, but I still freaked out. But when the big 30 birthday came and went, it was no big deal. Being 29 was worse than turning 30! I wondered if I would go through the same at 39 with the big 4-0 looming, but no. It was fine. My point is: you are at a natural place for assessing your life negatively, but it will pass.

 

I've noticed that people "come into their own" in their 30s. You will too! And lucky for you, you no longer have the shackles and blinders of your former life to hold you back. You paid your dues and got all that bullshit out of the way. You are smarter than the vast majority of other people in that regard! You're way ahead of the game.

 

I feel your pain. I'm here to tell you that you will figure things out. You will get better. You will soon shine like you were meant to shine. I know 29 and 30 feels like a big turning point, but you still have at least 50 years (based on averages) ahead of you to build the life you want. Maybe even 70 years? It doesn't feel like it now, but trust me... Your life has just begun.

 

Let's move forward. You are free!

 

Peace and joy to you, my friend.

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"I also met many unsavory characters along the way."

 

me too, and I had to consider them my "brothers in christ" and suffer their influence over me and feel bad for my perfectly sane and normal negative gut reactions against such people. At least now i don't have to suffer such people.

 

Exactly. Same here. Punished for feeling bad about brothers in christ treating me badly. SICK!

 

Chikirin, reading your words is comforting to me to -- I was not the only one, and this is a universal problem -- I am not crazy or evil! But that realization also angers me. This shit goes on all the time. Lots of others are out there suffering the same thing. SICK!

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There where many signs telling me it was bullshit but my logic was always held hostage by my fears and emotions.

 

 

Welcome to ex-C, and also welcome to being human. Chiming in: your time was not wasted or lost at all. Instead, you've learned how to think critically. It sucks to feel that your score is "Life, 0" right now, but, on the other hand, you have the ability to rebuild, or build anew, and be the person you most want to be, not the person you are afraid you HAVE to be or else you will be punished by God.

 

And yes, for many of us, as you'll see from the posts, depression is part of this, and you aren't alone there at all. Where are you with that? Do you have any immediate plans or ideas? Even just a "Today, I will write an ex-testimony" is a step. Let us know how we can help, okay?

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"I also met many unsavory characters along the way."

 

me too, and I had to consider them my "brothers in christ" and suffer their influence over me and feel bad for my perfectly sane and normal negative gut reactions against such people. At least now i don't have to suffer such people.

 

Exactly. Same here. Punished for feeling bad about brothers in christ treating me badly. SICK!

 

Chikirin, reading your words is comforting to me to -- I was not the only one, and this is a universal problem -- I am not crazy or evil! But that realization also angers me. This shit goes on all the time. Lots of others are out there suffering the same thing. SICK!

 

 

I experienced the same thing. I can't believe there was a time when i felt bad about people at the churches i visited treating me like garbage, not to mention feeling sorry for them. It's beyond shitty.

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You're not alone, friend.  And the heavy burden of religious superstition has been lifted.  You will be better for it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't beat yourself up, brother. You've still got a lot of life left to live. Some folks here left much, much older. 

 

Have you ever listened to the Grapes of Rad? It's a podcast by two guys in their thirties who used to be missionaries for YWAM, and are now atheists. (Recently they added a third host, a guy who is a former Jehovah's Witness.) The show is 80 percent silly nonsense, but they seem to mention their religious days at least once a show, and every now and then will have a religious themed episode. Here's one I recommend:

 

Part 1: http://www.grapesofrad.com/2011/12/david-bazan-steph-drury-aka-the-super-mega-religion-show-part-1/

Part 2: http://www.grapesofrad.com/2011/12/david-bazan-steph-drury-part-2/

 

It's basically three hours of the two hosts and their guests (David Bazan and Steph Drury, who are awesome) blowing off steam about living and growing up in Christian culture. It's a great listen if you've been involved in church at all during the past 20 years or so. 

 

Anyway, I guess I'm just trying to show you that you aren't alone in this, and you shouldn't feel guilty. You're out now, and you're stronger, and there are lots of people (myself included) who have been there and understand what you're going through. 

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I had a similar experience that robbed me of my 20s I feel your pain. I only wish I had any good answers for you. I'm basically starting over from scratch and I doubt I will ever  be able to catch up to where I would have been had I not wasted my 20s on bullshit. all I can say is just go after what you really wanted all along and don't let anything get in your way. that's my plan right now anyway.  I'm too old to let life pass me by anymore. 

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I echo the others who say that it wasn't entirely a waste of time. You learned how wretched it is to be in a mind-control situation and have come out stronger and more wary. I'm nearly 50 and I've gone through college multiple times, multiple kinds of jobs, thought I had a career in Information Technology, but got bumped out and now doing security systems. You'll be fine if you see this as a beginning and not an end of your life. Confidence can take you places you never dreamed of, but it may take a while to build it.

 

Religion robs us of it, telling us that we are bad and our desires are evil, blah blah. What would you like to do? Start taking steps toward those things.

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I echo the others who say that it wasn't entirely a waste of time. You learned how wretched it is to be in a mind-control situation and have come out stronger and more wary. I'm nearly 50 and I've gone through college multiple times, multiple kinds of jobs, thought I had a career in Information Technology, but got bumped out and now doing security systems. You'll be fine if you see this as a beginning and not an end of your life. Confidence can take you places you never dreamed of, but it may take a while to build it.

 

Religion robs us of it, telling us that we are bad and our desires are evil, blah blah. What would you like to do? Start taking steps toward those things.

 

Huh, guess I never really took into account that even if I didn't feel like religion had wasted a portion of life, there could have been someone else besides it that did (bumped out), but it is never too late.  Very good point. 

 

RC2k13, I understand what you mean. Sometimes, I feel like my life is in total shambles because of this dedication to this religion. But, honestly, I have seen some people who are in shambles and have never been religious at all. I guess it just really matters what we do now with what we know. It is still hard and frustrating, though, I'd never deny that. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The good news is we live longer than many of our ancestors, so your 20s isn't your whole adult life anymore. I also wasted my 20s on a twisted religion. I also missed out on the proper career and schooling, turned down women who would have made great life-partners, missed out on music and so many other things the list goes on and on. Messed up my life as much as a drug addict, with religion instead of substances.

 

The first day this life-killing thing is gone is a longer, fuller day than what came before. I'm really living again like I did before embracing that nightmare. My thoughts are free and unguarded, I'm not encompassed by "demons" (which were never there anyway) and every good thing in life is no longer seen as a trap to trick me into "sin". Just think of your life as a microcosm of the human journey- the Stone Age took a very long time and it was squalid but things progressed faster in the Iron and Bronze ages, and then into Steam and the Atomic age. It took a decade to crawl out of the Stone Age, but now life can really begin. (hope that makes sense- it makes sense to me)

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Feeling robbed of your twenties? I can relate. There are so many developmental experiences that I was so against in my twenties because of religion. I didn't date (because I kissed dating goodbye!), didn't drink, didn't watch movies, didn't club, didn't listen to secular music, didn't buy fancy clothes or purses (missionaries need our money!) and sex??? I didn't even kiss a man once in my 20s.

 

The year or two leading up to turning 30 was like me being a teenager trying to figure out how I fit in to the world. In retrospect, this was the time my deconversion began but church folks would see me put some thought into my appearance (like curling my hair and wearing a modest but fitted dress) and say "I hope you're still following the lord". Really, not "how are you?" Not even "that looks like a new hairstyle and dress". No, just judgement

 

Turning 30 sucked. Especially because my 20s was filled with missions trips, ministry, praying, fasting, singing to God, memorizing bible, doing devotions, listening to christian music, dressing frumpy (as to not cause men to lust), evangelizing, listening to sermons, reading christian books etc....yet with all my seeking, believing and praying - I was 30 with next to no dating experience, no boyfriend and the intense feeling of betrayal - god isn't going to provide. I was on the path to never be a wife or a mom.

 

I know I'm ranting...it hurts to know I gave my ALL and finished my 20s with a deep sense of EMPTINESS.

 

What I can say is that I am grateful we got out when we did and still have a lot of life left to live authentically and happily. I try to remind myself that I made those mistakes back then and have learned from them. This is why I'm not where I was then. I'm making new choices so I don't repeat those mistakes. I'm carving a new path for myself :)

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Welcome realitycheck. As you can hopefully see, you are now among friends, so share as little or as often as you like. We will be here. You may also have noticed that you will find more true acceptance here than you ever did at church. We are not perfect, but we also have no hidden agendas. smile.png

 

You can add me to the 'church stole my 20's too' list. I lost a lot of my thirties too. Some of what I experienced was emotional/spiritual abuse so it really messed me up. But I can say a year down the track I am feeling much more stable and hopeful for my future. I'm damn angry too; almost hoping for the Mormons to hit my door so I can fight them, lol! The most enjoyable surprise since deconverting has been discovering who I am and exploring the world around me without religious goggles. It ain't all grief ahead of you. Plenty of fun too, hopefully!

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Feeling robbed of your twenties? I can relate. There are so many developmental experiences that I was so against in my twenties because of religion. I didn't date (because I kissed dating goodbye!), didn't drink, didn't watch movies, didn't club, didn't listen to secular music, didn't buy fancy clothes or purses (missionaries need our money!) and sex??? I didn't even kiss a man once in my 20s.

 

The year or two leading up to turning 30 was like me being a teenager trying to figure out how I fit in to the world. In retrospect, this was the time my deconversion began but church folks would see me put some thought into my appearance (like curling my hair and wearing a modest but fitted dress) and say "I hope you're still following the lord". Really, not "how are you?" Not even "that looks like a new hairstyle and dress". No, just judgement

 

Turning 30 sucked. Especially because my 20s was filled with missions trips, ministry, praying, fasting, singing to God, memorizing bible, doing devotions, listening to christian music, dressing frumpy (as to not cause men to lust), evangelizing, listening to sermons, reading christian books etc....yet with all my seeking, believing and praying - I was 30 with next to no dating experience, no boyfriend and the intense feeling of betrayal - god isn't going to provide. I was on the path to never be a wife or a mom.

 

I know I'm ranting...it hurts to know I gave my ALL and finished my 20s with a deep sense of EMPTINESS.

 

What I can say is that I am grateful we got out when we did and still have a lot of life left to live authentically and happily. I try to remind myself that I made those mistakes back then and have learned from them. This is why I'm not where I was then. I'm making new choices so I don't repeat those mistakes. I'm carving a new path for myself smile.png

 

Preach it, sister! 

 

I also thought I was on the path to being a wife or mom and it took me awhile to realize how futile it was. Losing my virginity to a Christian asshole was actually one of the final catalysts that led to my de-conversion. He was so concerned about my Biblical beliefs but didn't seem to care he was treating me shitty. 

 

It's okay to rant, let it all out! LOL! One good thing about this site is people are really understanding especially when it comes to the disappointment relating to religion. 

 

And, hey, at least you didn't wait til you were single and 50 to realize it. But, still, it sucks, I understand.  Or at least you didn't have a spouse suddenly convert on you after twenty or so years like some unfortunate souls on here. 

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I'm glad you found your way out before you reached 30. I have to tell you, though, that the 20s are tough no matter what, for many people, and as far as I'm concerned the 30s were the best decade. If I wouldn't have been a Christian, the 30s would have been even better!

 

You are truly arriving at a great time in your life, so don't be discouraged, just figure out a direction to go, and GO! You can even change directions later, it'll all be good experience that will help you along later.

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I am so sorry that you wasted or feel like you wasted your 20s on religion but the best thing to do is chalk it up to experience and use it to learn. It's ok that you learned your lesson in your 20s. Your thirties will be awesome!

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