When I let go of my childhood faith twenty-five years ago, I could never have imagined all of the delightful things that would come into my life and the blessings that have occurred.
The first thing I gained was the restoration of relationships with my mother and sister, and their forgiveness for the way I had cut them out of my life. I felt ashamed for the ways I had treated them during my exile. Through their show of unconditional love, I was able to forgive myself. I even reached the point of true forgiveness and compassion for my ex, and see how he was a pawn of the abusive group too.
The second thing I gained was the ability to feed my curiosity. What a joy to read anything I wanted and not be censored. What a joy to pursue higher education and live up to my full potential! All those questions could come forth, and I let them. People may have not have always liked my questions, but I kept asking them until I was satisfied. Asking questions allowed me to change and grow.
Another thing I gained was the ability to enter any building I wanted without fear of demons or fear of the people inside. I went to weddings, funerals, and midnight masses. I went to Seminary and graduated with a Masters of Divinity degree. I explored as much as I could of other faiths, starting with a world religions class in college. That class taught me to engage with the text and discern what the writer was trying to say- not me dismissing the writer and arguing from one rigid viewpoint. It allowed me to incorporate into my life the best pieces from various sacred texts. I also met Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Buddhists, one Zoroastrian, and learned something valuable from each.
I developed discernment. Not every religion or person had it all. I left behind teachings which were hurtful or exclusive of others. I developed an internal locus of control, which means I no longer had to look for outside approval for what I thought or said, how I spent my time, how I dressed, and who I associated with. I trusted my intuition and education to guide me.
My vacation time was spent in museums, and not in some convention hall listening to lectures. I spent my time in the great outdoors exploring sites of historical and natural significance. I traveled to Africa and discovered that I could no longer tell others how they should live. I made friends from all over the world, regardless of their faith or lack of faith, and my life was enriched.
I developed careers of my own choosing. In fact, the greatest joy of my life to date, was working with children and teaching them cultural respect. In five years time, I touched thousands of children, teaching them to solve problems peacefully, teaching them to stop calling names, and teaching them appropriate self-pride. I passed on to them the gift of curiosity and unconditional regard.
I continue to grow in feelings of safety, well-being, and gratitude. I no longer wait for someone or something else to make this world better. I do what I can to work for justice and peace. I try to help the people in my community have what they need. I also cast a few seeds through my writing, hoping to help others to heal, and hoping to share my vision of healthy spirituality. The last twenty-five years have been full of wonder. I can only imagine what the next twenty-five years bring.
"Letting go seems like an act, where you leap and hope for the net to appear. It's more like pushing a boat away from the shore and trusting that you have what it takes to navigate the waters."
My blogs take on all topics related to recovery, including commentary on the intersection of spiritual abuse and current events.
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