My faith, while it may have taken a big hit, is still intact. I still believe God to be the great healer and redeemer that He has shown Himself to be in my life. I have just been struggling with the way certain things are phrased. I’ve been struggling with the way those phrases cause me to feel; a way in which I do not believe is the way God intended it to be. I started feeling as though it was all becoming one giant sales-pitch which didn’t settle right with me. God doesn’t need to be sold like that, and shouldn’t be. His word speaks for itself, and His Spirit will lead us to move. I don’t need someone trying to play to my emotions to sell the goodness of God to me. It’s easier to convince people or move people to believe things when you can get them to make decisions with emotions instead of with their intellect. It’s easier to believe when emotions are involved. You don’t have to think about it because you are following your “heart”.
Right now, my faith is in need of some repairing. I feel a lot of the struggling I’m having with my faith right now stems back from when I was part of a church organization that had many faulty doctrines. There are some great people in this organization, and some of the things taught are good. However, not all of it was good, and when you get the courage to leave the organization there are a lot of scars left behind. A lot of times when a person leaves the church they are shunned by the rest of the congregation. They are considered an apostate which the Bible says is worse than an unbeliever. This is because you are viewed as having known the truth about God and have turned your back on the truth, and thus have turned your back on God. You have traded your true and right relationship with God for a worldly, “church-y” experience which will lead you no where in Christ.
There is so much damage that is done, especially if you are a woman. Women are expected to not cut their hair or wear make-up or jewelry (wedding rings are okay). Women are expected to dress modestly; which by their standards means: a woman should only wear dresses or skirts (ones that preferably go past the knees, which usually only leaves skirts or dresses that go down to your ankles), and no tank-tops or v-neck shirts. Women were expected to be the keepers of their home by not working and staying home taking care of the house (and kids if you had any). The house was expected to be clean and in order all the time; I think you get the idea. As for men, their main requirements were to provide for their family. Dress code wise: slacks were preferred and jeans were tolerated under certain circumstances, but overall frowned upon; shirts were to be short or long sleeve, tank tops and shorts were frowned upon. All clothing for both men and women were not to be tight or form fitting. Both men and women were expected to carry out duties around the church, and to go out in groups of two (men paired with men and women paired with women) to do “soul winning”. To knock on doors to invite people out to church. Each group would be assigned to an area that we would cover every Saturday. Before you ask, No, this is not the Mormon Church.
This church organization also is not Amish, or the one where they wear pastel colors for their dresses. This church calls itself a non-denominational church, but this church organization is really a Pentecostal Holiness church; however, you won’t catch them calling themselves that. They slowly reel you in as you start to attend services and fellowship on the regular basis. You notice (naturally) some things are different, and ask questions about it; this is where they get you. They will explain it using scripture from the Bible and then tell you to look it up yourself. The problem with this is, you’ve already heard their spin on the scripture; so your mind is already primed to view it their way instead of being able to objectively study the scripture. Eventually, you’ll start feeling as though the grace of God is gone, and all that is left are rules to follow.
Since I’ve started taking antidepressants and anxiety medicine, some things have gotten better for me; yet, some things seem not to be improving. The medicine certainly helps me function better most of the time, but I’m still having a hard time sleeping. Things that have to deal with my family still trigger me very easily, and it seems to take forever for me to be able to deal with it. Being a Christian and struggling with depression and/or anxiety carries a degree of shame with it, and taking medicine for it also carries with it a sense of taboo. Getting counseling is another taboo area, since Jesus is supposed to be our Great Counselor. We are supposed to have faith enough that God will heal us from all that we deal with. The smallest amount of faith is all it takes to be healed, but that’s not how it feels. When/if you are not healed you feel as though it is a reflection of your faith, or that there is some other aspect of your life (some kind of sin/imperfection in your life) that blocks not only the healing from your life but also blessings; this is what we are taught and told. Want to read more about my view on the topic of how much faith do we need? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Check out a recent post I did called, “Got Faith?“