Thursday, March 4, 2010

Junk in the trunk.

This is not an easy conversation for me to have on my blog. In fact, I wrote the majority of this post nearly a month ago, and I've just been sitting on it, making sure I want to put it out there.

But ultimately, after having a good amount of time to mull it over, I've decided it's going up because is something I feel really compelled to write about. To be honest, it's probably more for my own therapeutic benefit than anything else, but also because I think it's really important for us to constantly be looking at our lives and making sure that we're dealing with our "junk" because when we carry around things that aren't resolved, it starts to affect our lives in ways we'd never imagine.

For years, I've been able to fly under the radar without these particular issues not seeming to affect my life all that much. But, I can now see that ever since Kaylee was born, these issues have been trying to push their way to the surface. I have this fear that the same things that happened to me, the same harmful ideas and concepts that were ingrained in my head as a kid and young adult, will somehow get to my child as well.

For now, I'm keeping things pretty general. Maybe down the road, as I figure things out a little better, I'll share more, but I figure this here is a good place to start.

About a month ago, I wrote a post about how I hadn't been sleeping well. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why, until I had two pivotal conversations - one with my mom, and one with a friend that prompted me to start digging a little deeper. She helped me realize that maybe my brain was literally giving me a wake-up call in the night, saying, "Yo! Sera! There's stuff in here you need to deal with!" She thought that maybe, if I could pinpoint whatever that was, I might be able to sleep better again. And she was right, because I've been sleeping like a log ever since I figured out what was bothering me.'s the post I began writing on February 9, 2010.


I think I've finally figured out what's been keeping me up at night for weeks on end.

After talking with my mom yesterday, it seems that I can pinpoint the time when the sleeplessness began, and now it's all making sense to me.

Not long after Kaylee's ear surgery, we made the choice to keep her out of the church nursery to limit her exposure to illness during the cold/flu season. Her immune system was shot after 2 months of heavy-duty antibiotics, and we didn't want her to end up in the hospital again. So, I began staying home with her on Sundays while Dennis went to church.

Stepping back from church gave me the opportunity to really look at some things in my own life. I've been going to church since I was a baby, but not long after Kaylee was born, I realized I had been having less and less interest in church, and I wasn't quite sure why. It's always been a big part of my life, and growing up, it's where I formed my identity, so to have these thoughts of wanting to step back from it for a while seemed weird to me.

Unfortunately, many aspects of my identity were skewed as a result of some ideologies I learned in the churches I went to.

Because of what I was told over and over during my younger years in church, I've been spending my life trying to live up to expectations that are nothing short of impossible. I've had an all or nothing mentality. I've driven myself to the edge with anxiety and worry and panic because I haven't been able to achieve perfection and the ideal image of who I thought I should be.

I've lived in constant fear of being judged, not being liked, not being good enough, and not making other people happy, and the things I was lead to believe in church ultimately set me up for some really unhealthy perceptions of myself later in life.

I was led to believe a whole series inaccurate things about myself...what it means to be a woman, a mother, a wife, and a Christian.

What I was told all those years ago has set me up to have these underlying themes of guilt and shame throughout my life, even when they were completely and utterly unnecessary and unfounded.

The intellectual part of my brain knows that I was lied to, that I unabashedly trusted people who never deserved my trust and who did nothing but hurt me in return.

It's just taking me some time to accept the fact that the things I learned in church as a young, trusting, impressionable girl have left a tremendously deep footprint on my heart, and it's not one of those footprints in the sand that's light and pretty - it's like a footprint from a big old nasty heavy boot with steel toes.

Being away from church for a while and having time to really think about some of the not so great behind-the-scenes stuff that all churches have (I don't care how "great" a church is - they've all got junk. They're run by people, and none of us are perfect) it's just made old memories fresh and raw, and it's just made me all kinds of angry and ticked off. I can look back on things with a different perspective and see how blinded and naive and vulnerable I was.

The only place I know to go from here is - well, to counseling, to be honest with you. Trying to get my head and my heart on the same page is a rather difficult thing. I'm a much stronger, more confident, and way less naive person than I was back then, but I need somebody neutral to help me figure this stuff out.

I'm comfortable in my faith, and I believe that God accepts me as I am, and that He doesn't want me to live in shame, fear, or guilt. I know those things, but it doesn't change some of the things that happened to me over the last 20 years. It doesn't change the fact that people - who claimed to be doing God's work - did and said things to me that I will never, ever forget, and that will always, always hurt me.

I just know that now, at the slightest sign of being hurt by people who claim to be Christian and doing "God's work" - all I want to do is run. I want to protect myself from ever being hurt like that again. And I'm trying to find the balance between protecting my daughter from those very things, while - at the same time - teaching her about our faith in an accurate light.

There's still a lot for me to figure out, so I'm just going to end here. I certainly welcome your comments and your stories and your experiences. Let's just keep things friendly, ok? Any mean or nasty comments will not be published.

(This post is a part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop taking place every Thursday over at Mama's Losin' It.)

Mama's Losin' It


angie said...

This is such an honest post, really the "meat" of blogging. The gripping, can't tear my eyes away, am hanging on every word stuff that keeps me blogging.

I'm so glad that you've gotten to the bottom of why you were having trouble sleeping, but wish it were not for that reason.

Shame on those people.

I think that God loves each of us the same, and we are all of infinite worth. :)

Good luck as you continue on this journey, and thank you for this post. And your visits!

Wendy said...

Love you hun. ((((hugs)))) I'm glad you're making progress with it, you're so strong and I know you'll come out the other side stronger and healthier. Good for you for taking care of yourself.

April said...

I think the road you are going down is a good and healthy one. You will figure out what is best for you and your daughter.

Anonymous said...

Only you can know what's best for you. At least you're able to recognize what's causing you grief so you can work toward a resolution.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

My heart hurts whenever I hear that people have been hurt by fellow believers (and believe me I have been too!)

You are absolutely right that this happens no matter what church body you attend because we are all sinners in need of grace.

I encourage you to keep praying about what God wants you to do and I also implore you to read Hebrews 10, particularly verses 24 and 25.

I am always here if you need to talk

Funkidivagirl said...

I think it took a lot of guts to write that blog post and I applaud you. I think you are doing some healthy self-evaluation and that always needs to growth.

blueviolet said...

This strikes home for me because it's the very reason my daughter has turned away. The hypocrisy is more than she can take. I know we're all sinners, but sometimes it's just unreal to see what people do.

Jenners said...

Oh Sweetie ... you need to read the book I'm giving you. It will help you realize some of the problems you've been having with the church. I'm right there with you ... though I made peace with the church a long time ago. I'll be writing my review and getting this out to you soon ... and I hope my own review helps you in some little way find out what your feelings are.

the co-pilot said...

While I agree that the church has historically been led by people, I don't believe that's God's will. He gave us a great and awesome gift in the Holy Spirit, and we, the Church, have basically relegated Him to a little white bird with glowing feathers. There's so much more to Him than that! Jesus is coming back for a bride without spot or blemish. And it's only with the leading and cleansing of the Holy Spirit that that will be possible. We need to let Him take the lead.

Casting Crowns has a song on "The Altar and the Door" called 'What This World Needs.' Part of it includes a bunch of kids saying things that really make you think about God and humanity and how they both relate to the Gospel. Might be worth a listen. I have a copy and wouldn't mind sharing. Let me know.

And to all who've been hurt by people in the church: please forgive us! May God show Himself to be ever greater than our feeble attempts to understand and contain Him.

Anonymous said...

What a great honest post. I am so sorry you were hurt by people in the church that you trusted. It's hard to heal through that. I have had similar situations since I grew up in the church as well. And i think it's great you are aware of this and doing your best to protect your daughter.