Boundaries and the Church

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Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash

I learned the hard way about boundaries. I never really knew what boundaries were growing up.  They are very important.  Some of my current life rules are:

  1. Don’t think too highly of yourself.
  2. Don’t think too highly of other people.

For some reason I have tended to idolize people.  I thought people were so great and perhaps that they could do no wrong. Lol.  There is certain things you grow up believing until one day your bubble is burst and you know the truth and it sets you free or leaves you greatly disillusioned!  For me it was both…

Consequently, I do not idolize pastors anymore, leaders, or husbands.

But this is a good thing.  It was a very painful lesson to me as well as other people.  I was a fringe member of the group so I was not as abused as the inner circle.  But I still have scars.

Just because someone is the leader of a group of people doesn’t make him a dictator. In all groups there needs to be a form of checks and balances so that power is not just in the hands of one man for that is dangerous.

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So now I believe in freedom.  I should be able to pray to God myself and “hear” from Him myself.  Though I am no longer a radical.  No, you won’t find me running around grabbing people and praying for them or speaking in tongues.  I am much more conservative. I pray quietly.  I don’t like the fan-fare or hoopla. I like the sound of silence.

I am not sure what I thought before.  My mindset was rather crazy.  I am not sure why I thought I had to go to the pastor for any and all decisions I was going to make. That made him more of my god than the God! Now, I know better.

The church is an entity. But we are people.  People can do good things, but it’s human nature to error.  In my opinion, when leadership errors they really should do something about that.  They should be held accountable.  They are in positions of power and they have many people looking to them.

Who spends years building a church only to run away?

So I encourage people to think for themselves nowadays.  People have agendas. Maybe that sounds cynical but it’s true. If you are in a church or group and something doesn’t feel right, listen to that feeling. You should have the right to disagree.  You should have the right to dissent.  You shouldn’t feel afraid to question something or someone.  Basically, you should have freedom of choice and freedom of voice.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
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Recommended books on Spiritual Abuse

Healing with God:

 

Looks good but have not read yet:

 

Healing:

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http://www.spiritualabuse.com

The Church and series part 2 – Spiritual Abuse

Here is an excellent video on spiritual abuse I found:

I grew up in the church. But as a 45 year old woman I have had a lot to learn about how to have a healthy relationship within a community.  Somewhere in the back of my mind was the idea that as a woman I needed to sit down and shut up. I needed to just do whatever the authority said I should. This resulted in me idolizing everyone. I minimized   myself, my feelings, and instincts (or intuition, gut feeling, vibes, sense, and perhaps even the voice of God).

I was spiritually abused.

I am healing.

This is not the end of the story.

And the labels do not define me.

I was a broken and battered sheep.  I was a sheeple.  I am awake.  Maybe a little less trusting and a little paranoid. But I think I am okay. I still believe in God though at times He feels far from me. I hold on to His word that He is not far away.  That He is ever-present.

I remember being at my old church and hearing about a small group series. I am introverted and take a long time to warm up to people I don’t know well. I think this saved me a lot. Well, rather than go to the small group I thought I would watch it. It was a series Mark Driscoll did on marriage. My spidey senses were tingling. Trusting my gut wasn’t working well. Well, my gut was talking it is just that perhaps from my childhood I learned not to trust it.

Looking back on what has transpired I think I had no filters.  I did have some but I was not trusting what I felt. Well, because feelings are wrong, right? Don’t trust your feelings. Don’t trust yourself. Well so I was told.

I think this was my training ground. I think this was God working in the situation. He wanted me to be honest and to stand for something. He wanted me to think for myself rather than to just accept everything the pastor said from his pulpit! He wanted me to discern for myself. He did not just want me to accept every little thing into myself and most especially not all the hurtful words and actions!

I remember being so upset about Mark Driscoll’s sermon series on the book of Esther. He slammed the character of Queen Esther. And I was deeply offended by that. My mother named me after Queen Esther for a reason. That she was a good woman, a Godly woman.

What I have learned is that I am to follow God. Not my pastor. Not my leader. Not my husband. I question everything.  That is not to say that I am a disrespectful, rebel.

But a true Godly leader is going to lift you up, not tear you down.

Resources on Spiritual Abuse / Cult Recovery

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In this post I am just gathering information that I am seeking on how to recover from a spiritually abusive church. This seems to apply to codependents and those also in unhealthy relationships. Though highly intelligent and educated people can be sucked into cults, I personally think, people such as myself who struggle with codependency and dysfunctional childhood families are HIGHLY susceptible to this type of abuse.

Dallas Cult Resource

International Cultic Studies Association

Freedom of Mind (Youtube Channel)

Excellent Video on Post Cult Spirituality / Meadowhaven (Recovery Program) – Video quality is not the best but the content is gold! Watch below: