Day 20 of 21 Days of Healing: What about God?

Posted: November 30, 2014 in Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
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“God made you in His image.”

Day 20

You may have noticed that I haven’t spent much time on God over these 21 days except for the brain changing thoughts that I hope you have been repeating to yourself several times a day through the month. If you stuck with it, you will probably notice a change in how you think about what God thinks of you. Please don’t stop once our 21 Days are over.

But I haven’t said much about God outside of that because I needed to get back to a “normal” relationship with Him, too. All those years when I was being made to feel that God was angry with me, didn’t want anything to do with me, and that I didn’t measure up, I worked very hard to change His mind. I worked and served and gave and prayed and took classes and went to church every time the doors were open. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get God to like me better or make the church leadership like me better.

When we were tossed out of the church, and I started working on changing my brain from what the church leadership communicated to me about my unworthiness, unwantedness, unacceptableness, etc., I found that God was saying something entirely different to me than the church leadership had been. He was telling me that He is not like them and they are not like Him. He doesn’t act like that. He was telling me that I must not blame Him for the bad behavior of people who claim to represent Him. They don’t. He was telling me it is okay to rest and take care of myself. Because just as I didn’t have to do anything to earn my salvation, I don’t have to do anything to keep it, either.

I’m not going to hell because I am not going to church. I’m not making God mad because I’m not working my tail off for a church. I do not have the ability to control God’s mood. He loves me (and you) with an everlasting love. Period.

One of the mistakes I made when we left our first abusive church was immediately looking for another church to attend. And while I didn’t get involved there for several months, when I did the abuse started almost immediately. If I had stepped away from church and experienced a deeper healing without the “measure up” messages that pretty much every church sends, I think I would have been better able to reject the early abusive treatment in that second church and to walk away from it.

Because I was still very broken from that first church experience, I was ripe for additional abuse. I was still in the “if I just do more, try harder, am patient, etc., God will make everything work together for good.”

As I listened to what God really thinks of me over those first few weeks, I began to accept that God does not expect me to submit myself to a system that demands – whether overtly or subtly – more than He does.

“It is God who works in you to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

God does the work. Not me. God puts people in my path that He wants me to serve. God nudges me when He wants me to do or give or help or encourage. He directs my path.

So, I’m pretty sure that if God wants me to attend a church, serve in a church, give to a church, He will direct my path. I don’t have to strive to get there.

Also, for many of us, prayer and bible reading became very difficult during our abusive experience. I know it did for me. For years, I so immersed myself in bible reading, bible study, bible classes, that I am pretty confident that “Thy word I have hid in my heart.” (I was never great with memorizing the scripture reference, that’s why you don’t often see a reference when I quote scripture – but I’m also not looking it up. I know my bible.)

And for years, I couldn’t sing or pray. This God that we were singing about and praying to didn’t even want me, how could I?

Now, I rarely say anything to God “in prayer.” Talking to God is just part of my day – as I’m driving, walking down the hall at work, cooking. I’m much more likely to just listen to what God is saying to me.

“Ellen, I love you.”
“Ellen, I’m not like those who reject, ignore, diminish, ostracize, devalue, aovid.”
“Ellen, give.”
“Ellen, rest.”
“Ellen, delight.”

We are good, me and God. Why would I mess that up?

How about you? What are your thoughts about God after your spiritually abusive experience? Are you trying to win His favor? Are you afraid you will make Him angry or that your behavior will put Him in a bad mood? Have you been able to let go of trying to keep your place in heaven by earning it even though you never had to earn it in the first place? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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