Faith communities can provide many good things like leadership, community, structure, a set of beliefs, purpose, and meaning. When these strengths are taken to extremes, spiritual abuse can occur. Instead of comfort, burdens are placed, rules are enforced, individuality is suppressed, and meaning is lost.
For people who have experienced spiritual abuse, there is discomfort and upheaval. Loss of what we held dear is disorienting.
We like things that we can count on, for it can bring a sense of security. But I would like to suggest that part of healing will be to keep your mind open to changes. Can you consider yourself to be under construction?
What you believe today may make sense, and maybe even for years, and then something happens, an event, a new piece of information, and your world view no longer fits. You find you’ve out grown your friends. You connect with new people.
You can cherish something deeply today and five years from now think it was a mistake. If you think you have everything figured out and a perfect situation, things can happen that make it all unravel; cancer, divorce, death, boredom, betrayal, anything can push you in a new direction.
While you are healing from spiritual abuse, please see yourself as under construction. Through our whole lives, we have opportunity to learn and to change our minds. Mistakes are opportunities to learn. How we define things like leadership, community, structure, our personal beliefs, our purpose, and meaning, can change. Let them change. Some mistakes lead you to deeper compassion for yourself and for others.
Awaken to the surprise of changing your mind. Find a love you never expected. Let joy sneak up on you.
We lose interest in the thing we thought we couldn’t live without. We can learn to live with the expectation that the new will come to replace that which is old and worn out and no longer useful; sometimes we need to let it go. Sometimes we are led out. Sometimes we make space for it to happen. One door closes and another one opens. Don’t cling tightly to the past.
It’s more than okay to change and grow. Our story is still being written. As long as we breathe, we have freedom to change and grow. We never know what will help us become our best selves. That’s the wonderful part of being under construction.
My blogs take on all topics related to recovery, including commentary on the intersection of spiritual abuse and current events.
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