I had to deal with the battle of being one person around certain people and try to transform into another person when I encounter the so-called “cool crowd”. When you deal with issues of acceptance and identity, you go on this journey of “confusion”, and try to fit into any box that seemed acceptable until the ugliness of all that comparison, rejection, and ‘straddling the fence’ started to weigh down on you. We all have to be accountable for how we live our lives, and that ultimately means that YOU need to choose how you will live. I wanted to share a piece of my journey and have a transparent moment
I did not have a problem with the church, but with the “church” in me. I have been raised in church my entire life. Both of my parents are ministers within the church alongside a host of relatives that were serving in the church as well. I had a love for God at a very young age, and actually loved to attend church but soon I started to experience some internal esteem issues. Being in church came with taunting from people (both inside and outside of church), and that added to my already bruised self-esteem and confidence from bullying I was already experiencing. So, I thought that church was the “problem” and I could not find true happiness. I started to hate the fact that I was a “church girl”, because I could not express the horror I was feeling on the inside from rejection, condemnation, and sadness. To add to that struggle, I started to deal with the irritation within me about God and anything that was attached to Him. I did not want to be associated with Him, and my journey began of falling away from my spiritual background.
I received scars from “following the crowd”. Although I felt far from God, I was still going to church. I wanted to still look like the “innocent, Chrisitan girl” in front of people, but act like the spicy rebel outside of church. Being rebellious to me was living life my own way. I was not a wild partyer, but I did have a habit of being associated with people that quite not follow Chrisitan values. One of the things I struggled with was sexual sin. Although I only was with two people intimately in my entire life (not ashamed to admit that), it felt like a long cycle when I was with them. I had to lower my own standards and become the woman they needed me to be due to how I really felt about myself on the inside. I thought sex could be a void filler, and the key to “feeling loved and accepted”. Both sexual encounters left me as a single mother, and a former side piece. Not only was I betraying my own body but betraying my own values because I tried to act as if “I belong to the streets”. I wanted people to see me as the girl not to mess with and can have fun with, but still spent some nights crying my eyes out because of the pain I was causing myself. I wanted to be the “bad guy”, but not get caught. I wanted to do the wrong thing, but could not bring myself to go all the way with some of those things. Honestly I failed to keep up both personas.
Discovering my calling allowed me to become rooted in my faith. After my battle with wanting to leave the church and pretending to be “perfect” in church, I decided that I needed to choose. I knew deep inside that I was a leader and couldn’t pretend anymore. I knew that I did not fit in the “status quo”, or “in the world”. I was set apart for more and could not be like everyone else. My calling and purpose in life is to help people come out of situations, mindsets, and things that are holding them back from living the life God designed for them. The struggles I had in my life were only preparing me to help others come out. Even as I write this, I am coming to tears about me overcoming those critical moments in my life so I can help people who feel alone in their struggles. Finding out my calling is allowing me to go through this process of shedding off that mindset of “fitting in”. I love the church that I am at now, and also have opportunities to minister there through theatre and speaking…(yes, your girl is a preacher!).
I am in no position to put down anyone. I know what it’s like to question your faith and belief in God. I know what it’s like trying day by day to be accepted by people, and dancing like a monkey to just “be okayed” by the world and this corrupt society. I also know what it feels like to take a look at yourself and not blame the church for every problem. Yes, I have experienced some “not so spiritual” individuals within the church. but that’s not going to sway my decision about the church. When you have a personal and authentic relationship with God, it makes it easier to hold to your own conviction. So that’s a piece of my story!
As always, feel free to share your thoughts….hey I love to hear other’s stories and you never know who you may encourage…
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