"Church Holding You Back?" cartoon by David Hayward
My experience with the church is that I stayed until I believed it was impossible for me to grow in that context anymore. It happened many times.
This is also true of the last church. I left because I felt like I no longer fit inside the box.
Being the pastor made it even trickier. But I left the ministry and the church in 2010.
Outside the church was the only way I felt I could continue my personal growth.
Now, Lisa and I visit churches. Trying things out. It may or may not last. I don't care. Sure, there are triggers. Sure, I sometimes feel myself being manipulated or pulled back in. But I'm in a place now where I won't and don't let that happen to me.
I've always had a relationship with the church. After all, it is my family of origin. But now, after I have matured somewhat, I am strong and free enough to negotiate the terms of our relationship in a way that prevents the church from violating my boundaries. I can come and go as I please.
You see, as the cartoon suggests, it means cutting that string, that string of unhealthy codependence, manipulation, and control that nurtures immaturity.
For me personally, it reminds me of a vision quest. I had to leave my tribe and go into my own wilderness to find myself. Once I did, I could return to the human race on my own terms as an adult. This isn't for everybody, but this is how I describe my journey. So far.
I can fly if I want to.
Do you know what I'm talking about? Are you experiencing a lot of anxiety about this? Talk with me about it.
This is one of the things I do that I am most passionate about.