oh i wish some of you could have seen me years ago. i was the best-christian-good-girl-ever! it would make you laugh (or cry). and as much as i can’t believe that was me, i keep learning how important it is to honor that stage of my faith as a very important part of my story. instead of rejecting it and being mad at myself for some of the things i believed & the ways i behaved, i am learning to honor and celebrate it.
it was part of the process.
as we continue to move toward greater hope & life & freedom in our faith, it’s really important to not dismiss or reject or remain bitter about the past but instead find ways to celebrate what was as we actively move toward what is and what could be. (one side note: when spiritual abuse was part of the equation, we aren’t supposed to celebrate that. that is in another category completely). i’m talking about parts of our journey that we have since moved past but deserve to be honored somehow so we can not be-so-pissed-off-about-them-all-the-time.
for me, here are some things that i want to respect, honor, and celebrate from my past:
i learned so much about the Bible during those years. almost all of the scriptures that i know & love & still bring me hope come from those times of intense learning and study.
i gained respect for rules, boundaries, and what it meant to submit to some kind of authority. i wasn’t raised like that, and even though some of it was wacky, the basics of having a structure & framework for living was what i needed in my early adult years.
i discovered what gathering regularly with other people looked & felt like. i had never been part of any consistent groups before i became a christian and started going to bible studies and small groups. it instilled in me a deep desire for intention and community.
the comfort of being with others-who-believed-just-like-me was really healing, especially when i desperately needed to feel more secure and protected because of my family of origin. it helped me when i needed it most. now, i don’t need that kind of security anymore.
i made a lot of amazing friends along the way. some of them think i’ve gone off the deep end but many others still love me and we remain connected despite differing practices & beliefs.
some of our good-christian-parenting-practices weren’t all bad. in fact, i am grateful for many of them. (yes, we were growing kids God’s way-ers; sarah & megan, i know you’re cringing right now!) of course, i am in a totally different place now but the truth is that a few things from that season were good and have helped jose and i in parenting all these kids.
the inspiration helped me for a while. during that season, the wow-factor drew me in & stirred my soul & made me want to connect with God. even though it out-wore its welcome, it had its place.
there are others, but those are a few off the top of my head.
another way to frame this is to consider a gratitude list related to what was. do what works for you, how works for you, but it does seem like gratitude heals.
i could reframe a few of mine to say: “i’m grateful for what i learned about the Bible during those years” or “i am grateful for boundaries, rules, and structures that i needed during that season of my life.”
this step of “celebrating what was” isn’t about looking at the past through rose-colored-glasses or stirring up false memories to feel better about things or forcing ourselves to go where we just can’t go. please don’t feel pressure to do this right now if you’re just not ready & you find yourself feeling icky about it.
it’s about remembering that where we were was part of our story. these experiences shaped and formed us into who we are today. good, bad, or ugly, these things were part of our faith journey with God and where we are today. this practice is a little like “discovering what remains”. instead of always thinking of all of the negative-things-we-wish-weren’t-part-of-our-experience, it’s about focusing on the good. it’s about honoring the past for what it was, and the good parts that it did indeed bring to our faith, our growth, our development as people.
it helps to celebrate what was so we can leave it behind in a better place as we begin to nurture and enjoy what is and what could be.
what might you need to celebrate about “what was”?
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tomorrow: igniting passion
also, my blog friend lisa delay is hosting a series related to spiritual guidance for blogging. she asked me to participate and here’s what i shared: be yourself. everyone else is taken. really, it’s not just for blogging but for all of us. how can we become more comfortable in our own skin? that will be the work of our lives, and for me, blogging is just one way to work on it. check it out at her site.