This month’s Synchroblog topic asks us to examine what we have let go of along our spiritual journeys and perhaps what we have gained because we let go. Frankly, I have given up lots of stuff on my spiritual walk. Most of the stuff was pretty easy to dump once I started. I got rid of hell first. Next putting leadership on a pedestal went out the window along with believing paying a mortgage and a couple salaries was the same as giving to God. Eventually thinking rebellion (or divisiveness as it has often been labeled) and confronting falsehood were synonymous, disappeared. Finally, I quit assuming a building was where I could most easily find God and I left. That is where letting go got hard.
Leaving the physical building was really no big deal but leaving fellowship, friendship, and spiritual connection–that was painful. I felt lost and alone. I spent the first half of the first year feeling pretty sorry for myself (and a little self-righteous). Of course the phone rings both ways and I could have continued to reach out to the people I knew inside the building so I probably do not have any room to grumble. Still as a simple matter of fact, in the two plus years since I left only one woman has called to specifically ask me how I was doing.
But the worst part about it is I had to face the fact once and for all I honestly had not made much of an impact. Granted, I was only in this latest fellowship for six years but I have spent the better part of 25 years in some sort of building. I have lead and attended small groups, participated in prayer meetings, and attended Sunday services, religiously. I have taught Sunday school, brought meals to multiple families, and visited people in the hospital. I have even attended a couple home births. Still, I have little to no relationship with any people in any of the fellowships I have attended. And the sad part is, most still sitting in the building can probably tell a similar story. But that is another blog.
Truth be told, while I have been as lonely inside as outside the building both of which have been difficult, the toughest part about leaving is actually letting go. You see, the fact is I still have family members who are actively involved within the building. They attend some sort of weekly service and most are in the building during other times of the week for youth group or prayer meetings or… I honestly believe their connection to the building is as legitimate as my disconnect. And, it definitely challenges me to look at spiritual issues through other than my own eyes.
I do not exactly know why but I have been angry at the Church. I have blamed the Church for “getting it wrong”. And, I have judged the Church for making my walk more difficult, my witness more invisible, and my image more tarnished. I have much more grace toward a person making disparaging remarks toward Christians than I have toward Christians making disparaging remarks toward “the world”.
It is difficult for me to NOT be angry, to NOT be judgmental. And, it is even more difficult for me to find the line between discernment and condemnation and to stay on the discerning side. I believe it has a lot to do with seeking the mind of Christ and the heart of God, which in turn might have something to do with taking deep breaths before I do too much talking.
Here’s the list of other posts.
- John Martinez at Indie Faith – Letting Go of the Holy Me
- Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – What do you do when you are not sure?
- Beth Patterson at Finding Ground – What is Passed Over is Not Love
- Jeremy Myers at Till He Comes – Help, I’m Lost and Can’t Find Myself
- Ellen Haroutunian – Life Unfurling
- Marta Layton – On Burdens, Blessings, Babies and Bathwater
- Alan Knox at The Assembling of Church – Where Did I Go?
- Crystal Lewis – What Happened When I Let Go
- Pam Hogeweide at How God Messed Up My Religion – Letting Go of a Church-Centered Me
- K.W. Leslie at the Evening of Kent – Legalism, Anti-Legalism, and Anti-Anti-Legalism
- Ryan Harrison at How We Spend Our Days – Scraping the Barnacles
- Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in My Head – Letting God Off the Hook
- Christine Sine at Godspace – Giving Up For God, What Does it Cost?
- Dan Brennan at Faith Dance – Letting Go for a Greater Good
- Elaine Hansen – Recovering Control Freak – Let Go?
- Wendy McCaig at View From the Bridge – Embracing the Grey
- Chris at The Amplified Life – Seasons of Life
- Kerri at Practicing Contemplative – Synchroblog
- Jeff Goins-Get From Giving
- Jules Kennedy-Letting Go Watching the Rope Come Apart
- Abi-The Virtual Abbess