I want to share with you another beautiful nugget of wisdom from episode 100 of the RobCast.
It feels strange to get so much from this podcast as I came at it with deep feelings of mistrust.
You see, Rob is a Christian minister and I’ve had walls up about faith in general, but especially Christianity, since I took the decision to step away from my Christian upbringing. However, the truth is that Rob surprised me and I’m still part-reeling from the learning this episode brought to my life. I feel what he said has the power to bring about real transformation…and that’s the topic I want to share with you today, dear friend.
Right at the end of the podcast, Rob was given 3 words by his co-host, Liz Gilbert, and asked to unpack what they mean to him. One of them was the word ‘transformation‘ and here’s a summary of what he said:
In life we can transmit information – hearing something and passing it along. We can translate something, to give someone understanding about information they are otherwise unable to access or we can be transformed, grappling with something and letting it deeply change our experience of life.
Thinking back to my experience of Christianity, I think I veered more towards transmission than transformation. Having been brought up in this faith, I took the teachings as fact for a long time without questioning them. In the final years of ‘believing’ I remember feeling frustrated by parts of the religion I couldn’t buy into anymore, lost about what life could mean without an all powerful God at the centre. I also remember a few occasions where others were frustrated by inability to just believe.
I know when I was still a strong believer I said the right things; about God loving me and how great my life was for having God in it, but I still struggled with feelings of inadequacy that were at odds with this rhetoric and I was reliant on the approval of others – friends, school, my Christian community – as a measure of my worth instead in the transformative surety and confidence in my faith.
So why am I sharing this with you?
Firstly, I think it’s to unburden myself of the shame and embarrassment I’ve held onto for far too long. For having dedicated years of my life to something I have no connection with. For having judged people for not believing in the faith I feel so estranged from now. For having brought people to church to be saved by something or someone who had no power to save me.
Writing this post is an active form of self-forgiveness.
I can see I was transmitting information given to me by people I trusted and I need to stop judging myself about things that happened so long ago.
It’s also an act of compassion for my younger self who was brought up to be trusting and believed the information passed onto me without questioning it.
I’m also writing this post to come to peace with Christianity. When I think about this religion, I still feel a slight hardness of heart, a bitter taste of resentment and anger for the impact Christianity had on my life.
I was speaking to a dear friend the other day and she was sharing how her life was shaped by some profound events that took place in her youth and led to her making certain choices in life. One of my thoughts about what she was saying was “maybe you would have made these choices anyway” and I know I need to listen to this truth myself. You see, I don’t know if my life would have been any better/worse without the influence of the church. I’ve put blame on the church for how I am and the struggles I continue to have but when I look deep within myself, I know that if I hadn’t been trying to please the church or God, I would have tried to please something or someone else to feel valid and worthy.
I know that holding onto this resentment and sadness only results in continually hurting myself and I want to let this pain, hurt and resentment go.
I know that I didn’t experience transformation through Christianity but I feel that I can experience transformation with my journey to self-love and acceptance. It’s a journey that will take some grappling with, but one that has the potential to deeply change my life.