Monday, August 18, 2008

~ take courage ~

I was duly warned, but I think I misunderstood.

Four months ago I walked away from an unhealthy church experience.

It was a decision two years in the making, which became increasingly more urgent over time.

One of the resources I consulted was Brian Sanders’ Life After Church.

Contrary to surface appearances, Life After Church actually encourages staying.

Sanders warns: the first thing a leaver loses is her voice.

I knew that I would lose my voice in that congregation by walking away.

I did not realize I would lose my voice.

I did not realize I would lose my ability to express myself.

I did not realize I would lose my ability to understand what I was thinking.

I did not realize I would lose my ability to quiet the voice in my head, telling me to keep my mouth shut, warning me not to give utterance to what I had witnessed, insisting that I had misunderstood and overreacted, mocking my emotional uneasiness, trapping me in silence.

I set out to write, on vastly unrelated topics, and my mind drifts to “how’s” and “why’s” and endless questions about what happened.

My shell-shocked soul sits in stunned silence.

Unable to create, I feel a disconnect from the Creator, from the one who created me with questions and curiosity and wonder.

Against my natural instinct, to rally against the situation that stole my voice, I listen, hard and a bit resistant, for a still small voice I know calls gently… the Voice who’s whisper is infinitely more powerful than the booming drone of manipulation into silence.

I am choosing to heed the call to abide

…to listen

…to rest

…to let each day’s trouble be enough.

This is not an easy call.

It is a call to let go of things that I cherish, as well as things that crush; things that inspire, as well as things that oppress.

It is a walking away as much as it is a walking toward; a tearing as much as it is a mending.

It is a straining toward what is ahead, a trusting that what will be is better than what was.

It is a willingness to be silent and listen, and a willingness to speak when prompted.

It is a practice in discernment, an exercise in maturity, an experiment in growth when all you really want to do is curl up in a ball and hide.

It is an exploration, an opening of eyes, a new willingness to hear.

It is not only shaking the dust off of your feet, but off of your wings, as well.

It is the holding of the unseen hand.

It is a willingness to be unknown, for a time, except by Him who knows so intimately.

It is walking out onto the water, without fear of what lies beneath, with eyes focused on who stands before you.

3 comments:

Bonnie said...

Kim - this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart - I've been in this place, it's hard to be still. I'm praying for you in this!

Jerusalem said...

Yes, take courage and rest. You may not understand what you are resting for as much as you understand what you are resting from right now, but someday it will be clear. I promise. You know I understand. I know a couple of good safe places you can go and sit in the back and cry if you want to. Sometimes just showing up and sitting is all we need to do - despite our natural urges. Take courage, this to will be OK on the other side, just try to stay tender, despite the hurt.

Rebekah said...

I've just been doing some thinking about voice, silence and speech. Thank you for articulating your experience, for caring enough and trusting enough to share it with us. Your voice, silence and speech enrich my life.