Would You Like To Meet My Best Friend?
Trigger Warning! Spiritual Abuse...
Growing up in a religious culture, I was taught the standard doctrines and traditions of my culture which included the use of the Bible. In my experience, it was all about obeying the rules of the church and traditions of the culture. Both were held as high or higher than the Bible. It was implied that our form of religion was the only right one. It was also implied that salvation and eternity was not guaranteed till after death which promoted fear and works based religion. It was all about having the outside right (according to the church rules). The matters and struggles of the human heart were shoved under the rug. As a child, we read a chapter out of the Bible every morning after breakfast, dividing up the verses between each person capable of reading from the youngest to the oldest. We also had to memorize verses every week during the school year. Through these activities I began to gain knowledge, and as I was able to understand what I was reading I began to see that my parents read the Bible, professed to believe it, but contradicted it by the way they lived out their daily life. As a child this caused untold confusion. Somehow the Bible told me that the god of my parents was different than the God I read about in the Bible. I wanted to know this Person. They seemed to be someone who cared about the hurting and unprotected children and those who had no hope.
As a teenager who was considering suicide,the latter part of the book of Isaiah became my favorite part that I read and reread, yearning to know the individual of whom it was speaking. Years after I started my healing journey I started studying the Bible to see if what I had been taught in my religion is actually what the Bible teaches. What I found was so many twisted teachings. In the process I asked this God of the Bible to show me the truth and how this Person would like for me to live. Because of the kindness of the individuals who are helping me along my journey of healing, I was able to understand and learn that the God of the Bible was loving and compassionate and wanted a personal relationship with me, who was broken and trampled among the human race rather than the distant, temperamental god in the sky that was just waiting to pounce on me and beat me up at the slightest infraction. I asked this Person to be my Friend. I needed someone in my life to understand me, accept me, and help me. I felt like I had been trashed and shunned by my culture and those I thought had been my friends. I felt so alone.
As I grew in my relationship with this Person (as healthy relationships should be), I learned that I could bring all my hurt and pain, my anger and rage, the judgments and criticisms of those around me, and whatever trash in my life that I was dealing with and I would be accepted, heard, understood and cared about. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, acceptance, a listening ear, understanding...I found it in this Person, who became my best Friend when I lost friend after friend. This Person stood by my side, as those who professed to know this Person would treat me horribly. As I continue my healing journey, this Person stands by my side and gives me their full support. I have no better friend to encourage me and be there for me when I need help.
For some reading this, it may be triggering and repulsive if you have come from a background of religious abuse. I'm sorry for all the pain and grief you need to deal with on a daily basis because of it. I'm sorry for how it affects your life and how it keeps you from having peace and hope. It isn't easy at all. I'm learning how to accept those broken parts of me that need healing as well as seeking healing for those parts. It is possible for healing to happen and I would love for you to meet my Friend and to let this Person show you how much they care. It may be a bit hard because they are invisible but this Person cares so much about what you have gone through and wants to support you on your healing journey.
If you want to give them a try but don't know how here is a few words to help you:
"El-Shaddai, this person is telling me that you are their best friend. I don't know who you are but I need a friend like they are describing. I would like to know if you really are who they say you are. Can you show me please? I need an advocate to stand by my side and help me. I need someone in my life who will accept me at my worst and understand me. I need help to heal from all the bad things done to me. Would you be able to redeem all the horrible things I've gone through and use it for good? Will you be a friend for me too?"