Someone asked the question the other day, "If all of these people who left the church are so devastated, then why do they get on the blogs and talk about how happy and free they are?" I will try to answer this question, but I may need some help from you, the happy and free readers, to explain.
I am happy because I am going to a new church, meeting a lot of new people, reconnecting with some old friends, rebuilding my relationship with God, and I feel like for the first time in many years I really understand the love of God. I have also learned so much about the kind of church I will NEVER be a part of again. Freedom came when I realized that God loves me for who I am and I no longer have to measure up to someone who places impossible demands on people. All of these things make me very happy, but I continue to deal with the things that have gone on and are still going on in my former church. It hasn't been easy to try to separate what was right and what was wrong from the past 22 years. (It seems now that most of it was wrong.) It is a process that doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't begin until you are out from under the control and manipulation.
I also heard that someone asked, "If the church was so bad for 25 years, then why are these people just now seeing it?" My answer to this is that these controlling leaders are very good at what they do! They manipulate trusting, innocent people who give their lives to serve in the church and then leave them hurt and devastated. Yes, it is devastating to find out that someone I trusted lied to me, didn't really ever care about me, and then turned on me overnight. It has been devastating to realize that I was indoctrinated with rules rather than strengthened in a relationship with God. It is devastating to realize that basically I have to rebuild my whole life.
Happy? Yes! Life is good and free outside the bubble of a controlling church! Devastated? Yes, but trying my best to move on. With every day that goes by, the devastation becomes less noticeable. I still feel I have a little ways to go before I will go a whole day without thinking about it at all. Sometimes things get stirred back up, especially when I hear of another person who has been hurt by a controlling leader.
Can anyone else help me answer these questions that have been posed? Can you relate to what I am saying? Are you moving on and yet still have moments when you feel devastated? What's your story?