In one of my early sessions with Marge, I had a ‘penny drop’ moment about my reasons for going to church and believing in God. That penny dropped so hard, I had to leave.
In my previous post, I talk so much, because I don’t feel safe, I talked about the controlling characters that have been present throughout my life, and how their behaviour has caused me to constantly worry about what others think of me. I often use the example, that if there were 20 people in a room, and 19 of them agreed with me on a point, I would still need to check out why the 20th disagreed. Just in case I was wrong. Just in case there were consequences for being wrong.
I gave Marge that example, and on my way home my mind was ticking away (I have precious few sessions with Marge, so I like to do as much ground work between sessions as I can, to use her time and skill efficiently).
I had an initial soft ‘penny drop’ moment. Before church, I was open to every opinion presented to me, which was exhausting and quite frankly impossible to keep up with everyone else’s ideals. Even if I gain the approval of those 20 people in the room, I was back to square one if a 21st walked in, because I’d need their approval too. Believing in God removed that problem, because He’s a big almighty God, above us mere minions. Believing in God meant I didn’t need to check 20+ opinions every time, I just had to check one – God’s.
Then I got the ‘frying pan to the face penny drop’ moment. I hadn’t swapped 20+ opinions for just 1 at all, I had in fact replaced them with 20+ Christian opinions. Opinions that now had greater influence over me than the previous, because they also spoke on behalf of this almighty powerful God.
Oh….[insert your choice of creative swear words here] !
That was a horrible moment. I very much so love the people of my church, they were the most loving and welcoming group of people I had ever come across. Going to that church saved me from an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship. I have learnt many life lessons that stand strong regardless of whether there is a God, that I am grateful to be able to teach and equip my children, my family and my friends with. But God, the bible and His people, had become another form of controller.
[more swear words]
You may or may not have glanced at a bible before, mine was around 2,000 pages. That’s a lot of pages, lots of instructions, rules, wisdom and lessons. That’s a lot to live up to. It was just a whole new world for me to fail in.
I’ve been asked “so did you ever actually believe in God?”. The answer to that is yes of course, I didn’t just pretend for 6 years, that would make me a knob. And for a time the idea of this big beautiful God protecting me was wonderfully comforting. But I always doubted it, and the doubt only got bigger and bigger as the years went on. Until the ‘frying pan to the face penny drop’ day, when I realised I’d believed it so much, because I had to. I needed it. God made me feel safe, because I was so damn anxious about everything.
My pastor has been like a father to me, and still is. I felt awfully disloyal to drop this penny on his ears. But once I’d heard myself say out loud “I just don’t believe in God anymore”, I couldn’t ignore it. A bit like when you first find out its really bad to feed ducks bread, once you know, you just can’t feed them bread any more (you’re welcome).
What do I believe now? No idea. Or rather, right now I’m not bothered. There may be a God, there might not. So if you’re the praying type, throw one up for me just in case.