Get real

An unfortunate part of Christianity is the pressure to prove that Christians have something everybody else needs.  While I have no doubt that certain individuals truly do have more peace, joy, etc  I just had more guilt.

As a Christian I was supposed to have more peace, joy, wisdom, and morality than people without the good news of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Certainly there were people who had little hope but there were others who seemed so much happier.

How to explain those non-Christians with better marriages?  Those who loved living?  Those who were generous without needing the Bible to tell them?

1) They are faking it and really have a desperate hunger for God they are good at hiding.

2) They obviously have some measure of the Holy Spirit, and imagine the kind of people they’d be if they had more!

3) I must have too much sin in my life to live in the Joy of the Lord.

So, I’d try even harder to confess sins, submit and live better so that others could see what a wonderful god I served by my broken and shining life.

We were too afraid to be real.  Especially within the church.

A lovely Christian friend of mine tried to commit suicide.  She was saved by her sister who stumbled upon her ‘nap’ and thought her breathing was funny.  The sister called 911 immediately.

She told no one from church.  She did tell her school.  Somehow she found it less frightening for the kids who bullied her at school to know than us loving ‘brothers and sisters in the Lord’.

I only knew because her mother told me.  I felt like I failed her.  She didn’t trust me enough then and its only now, more than 10 years later, that we can talk about it.

A little while ago I thought it might be good if those of us who struggled with depression in our church got together.  I envisioned a safe place where we could share stories, discuss issues and support each other.  I was surprised by the negative reaction.  It seems that such a group made some people feel threatened and worried about how others would treat them if they knew.

What were we so afraid of? 

That we failed god?  or that he failed us?

8 thoughts on “Get real

  1. Grace says:

    Praire, you’ve struck a nerve with me.

    Church should be the place where people can be most real with each other. That’s part of what caring is about. And, doesn’t Scripture say, that we should be able to share our faults with one another, and pray for healing…? It certainly isn’t about putting on these masks, and pretending everything is fine all the time.

    And, on top of that, doesn’t the Scripture also say that “there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus.” Why should we be feeling constant guilt, and stress? It seems to me that the deeper one apprehends the grace, and love of God, and is able to relax into that, the more freedom to just be human, and to be real is going to be there in their life.

    BTW, that is a gorgeous horse. Is he yours, Praire? Do you ride?

    • prairienymph says:

      No, that isn’t my horse. I wish, though! I used to ride my friend’s horses a long time ago.

      I was shocked to discover that people didn’t feel safe enough to discuss problems like depression with church people. I had been told that church was a safe place for the broken. I believed those verses.

      Now I see that the common public confessions of sin were of not reading the bible enough. That is safe. You have the feeling of common vulnerability and we all could’ve read more so no one can really look down on you.

      I’m finding that the people I feel safest talking to are the nominal, former, or non- Christians. They aren’t threatened by my questions and my struggles don’t reflect poorly on their god. I am feeling huge pressure to put on a front with my Christian friends and it makes me very sad.

  2. dana says:

    You never, ever want to admit to a personal failing or an emotional problem in church. (1) you’re given platitudes to “help” (2) you become the source for many prayer needs being sent throughout the community…..quite a source for feelings of superiority as they “pray” for your soul (3) you’re not reading the bible enough, praying enough, or you just won’t “admit and be cleansed” of that sin you’re hiding (4) when you’re not magically healed, they get tired of listening to you.

    I prayed, played guitar, followed the rules, telling myself that I “believed that I believed” while KNOWING deep down that it wasn’t “true” (just like they know, “deep down” that it IS all true)

    The only time I was truly happy in my religious life was when I “pictured” a God that loved me so much, that he really, really cared.

    After I gave up on God the same way I gave up on Santa and the tooth fairy, I found enough peace to just accept life as it came. Never looking for, or expecting, an outside trinity to save my sorry ass.

    • prairienymph says:

      Re: #3 An uncle of mine recently found a book linking diseases like MS, fibromyalgia, cancer, depression, heart disease… to spiritual problems and emotional sins. He thinks it is great because now MS can be cured by confessing to a certain sin. The book even lists which sins cause which diseases. Now it isn’t just emotional problems that are your fault! grrr.

      In one church I went to, when everyone asked ‘how are you’ at the end of the service, I would answer “Horrible, terrible…” with a smile. No one heard the words. They just smiled back and said, “great, me too.”

  3. Grace says:

    It is sad, Praire. And, your uncle is greatly misinformed.

  4. Real Christians don’t believe in depression, you know. Dana is right, you never confess to anything like that as it makes people feel uncomfortable. Which is also why the church is opposed to divorce but that is the subject of another rant.

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