Religion vs. Spirituality

pexels-photo-1245066Like a lot of folks, ​I remember being beat up and put down, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for such a very long time. Some of my misery came from my own poor choices, to be sure, but a lot of it was a response to trauma and/or mental illness.

Regardless the causes, the blackness where my spirit had been eventually became too much for me to bear. No amount of self-medicating was enough to relieve the pain. So I began investigating options.

I found my way to a place where they said they wanted to care for and help me. They told me about a Savior who loved me, and then they shamed me for having scrapes and bruises. Their words and actions told me that my wounds were my own fault: I’d not sought God enough, I’d not suffered enough, I hadn’t conformed enough for them to give me the love I so desperately needed…so I changed my hair, my clothes, my makeup, prayed more, I cried more, and I did my best to be who they seemed to want me to be.

None of that was enough for the people I met there, who claimed to represent HIM. And I didn’t know any better than to believe them.

I left there more wretched than I’d arrived. I left with no hope, where at least when I had arrived, I had a glimmer of hope. I went to other places where “God-loving” people congregated. The results were the same.

Having once had an ENCOUNTER with the Spirit of God (and the feeling of complete love and acceptance in SPITE of my sins), I knew that the problem here wasn’t HIM. But these folks were seriously doing me more harm than good, so I had to go.

I went back to the gutter where I’d crawled out from, back to the mire. This slow death was familiar; at least there was no false hope. Nothing to cause me to think that life could be better, and simultaneously rip out what little there was left of my heart and soul.

This is the story of a sick and dying person who sought help from pious, uncaring  religious people.

The street life sent me seeking the safety of a loving God. Churchianity sent me back to the streets. At least I knew what to expect, there, and was familiar with what came next.

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Once mental illness, addiction and spiritual bankruptcy had adequately broken me, (or more to the point, I found a REASON to live that was greater than what I’d ever had before) I started looking for a spiritual solution. Again.

Thankfully, I was allowed to observe someone I’d admired, as he began to climb up out of a similar place of pain and misery. He had tried to find answers in traditional religion, as well. But, like me, he had come out of the church seeking for MORE.

I mean, when you think of God, at least in America, don’t you usually first think “church”?

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Anyway, I found that when I began to earnestly seek to know Who God really is, He showed Himself to me. I bought a new Bible, w/o the highlighting that someone else had influenced. I looked for the FULL picture of God’s personality. Is He angry? Not usually. Does He want to discipline his children? No, actually. He goes to GREAT lengths to keep from having to do so.

A thing that I learned about God is that our idea of Him is MASSIVELY affected by our relationship  (or lack) with our earthly dad. It was a turning point for me when I looked at God and purposely did not impose my ideas of human men onto Him.

Today I am still learning and growing. I know for a fact that God loves me and is on my side. Like a strongwilled child, sometimes I may rage on, wanting MY WAY. He lets me rage. He loves me too much to let me have my way, a lot of the time. When I am finally exhausted from struggling, He holds me and gives me good things.

Firstly, seek Him. Learn about Jesus. Dont put too much stock into what most folks tell you. People will always let us down. He NEVER has, and NEVER shall.

God didn’t send His son to condemn the world, but that through (Jesus) the world might be saved.

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