When I was a Christian

My transparency 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
+When I was a Christian, I looked at others with a sadness. I believed that if they just had the knowledge that *I* had, they’d be okay.
+When I was a Christian, I thought of myself as a savior. If they could just hear me, speaking for God, they could have a relationship that changed them. 
+When I was a Christian, I truly pitied anyone who didn’t think like me. I was in full belief that my ideals (or my tribes’ ideals) were the only righteous ones.
+When I was a Christian, I operated from a place of unintentional arrogance. It was normal for me to run into someone and immediately ponder in my mind, “Bless them, they’ve had it rough, is there a sin they are committing, leading them into these troubles?”
+When I was a Christian, I met people with a silent judgement, but fake understanding. While I outwardly displayed the fruits of the Spirit, inwardly, I was pridefully attempting to encourage others to be like *me, therefore more like god. 
+When I was a Christian, I loved making sure others knew where I stood. I approached conversations with locked beliefs, unwilling to meet someone else where they were, but with the full hope of swaying them to agree with *me*
+When I was a Christian, all I needed was my echo chamber. So long as I had my believing friends and pulpit pals echoing back to me what I understood about god, then I’d never actually need to hear anyone else out.
+When I was a Christian I prided myself in speaking “truth” to everyone, even if I could sense they were uncomfortable. My brain was actually driven by this tension, to hurl my knowledge louder because these were the folks most in need of my knowledge, I could lead to the saving they didn’t know they needed.
+When I was a Christian, I made a spectacle out of my childrens’ obedience/disobedience to me and God. I praised their attempts at witnessing EVEN THOUGH I was encouraging their false ego, even though I was inherently teaching an us/them worldview.
+When I was a Christian, I doted on my kids as they *led others to Christ, and I began to cultivate in them, the same echo chamber friend system I had partaken in.
+When I was a Christian, my goal was that my children would stand apart for the Lord. No, not they they would see the face of God in others, but mainly that they would see God in their own reflection and their peers in Sunday School.
+When I was a Christian, I felt an arrogant sorrow for those kids who weren’t in Sunday school, oh how different their futures could be, if they had a mother like me…
+When I was a Christian, I could not love people exactly as they were. I always had small internal hopes for the ways *I could rub off on them.
+When I was a Christian, I operated with an ego so large, that I mourned the souls of those not like me, therefore not like God. I literally was a Pharisee by default.
+When I was a Christian, I got high on church, I got high on Jesus, dopamine levels through the roof with 4 part harmonies or repeated chords.

But now, now that I am not a Christian, I’ve loved from the pits of my own despair.
Now that I am not a Christian, I’ve loved with the kind of love that changes ME, literally reshaping my marrow.
Now that I am not a Christian, those whom I love might change—— but not because of my swaying, not because of *my example, but because they are safe and FREEEEEEEE to be unconditionally themselves in my presence. 
Now that I am not a Christian, I look in the eyes of the humans around me and believe in my whole heart that they, *we* are perfectly perfect and not in need of saving, unless it’s the saving that time spent inside the metaphorical grave gives us. 
Now that I am not a Christian, I understand that there’s a glorious darkness inside that grave. And that this is not something you can prompt, that it’s not something an echo chamber can provide. That it is not something you can indoctrinate into your children. It isn’t in a church and it’s only alluded to through metaphor in scripture. 
Now that I am not a Christian, I recognize the quiet of the wilderness, the silence of the mountainside, the belly of the whale—— that is where the holy sacred work gets done, not the pulpit. 
Now that I am not a Christian, I run into hurting people and I sit with them in my own hurt, I am no longer mentally slightly above them.
Now that I am not a Christian, I recognize that in order to eliminate our ego, in order to operate in humility, we must let go of everything we were taught and re-learn what and who we actually are. 
Now that I am not a Christian, people pity *my children, they’ve been proselytized and told that hell awaits them by their churchgoing witnessing peers— They reply, “oh you mean, Gehenna- no way, they turned that into a garden a LOOONG time ago, wanna see pictures, it’s worth a google” and they walk on.
Now that I am not a Christian, I find myself explaining to my children in full compassion the way indoctrination works and how their peers are truly fearful for their souls, that it’s not a burn (play on words😜)
Now that I am not a Christian, I have daughters who come to me tearfully, longing to be friends with ANYONE without an agenda, anyone who can fully love them as they are, without the line drawn.
Now that I am not a Christian, the tables have turned, and I am not in the Cliques, I am not wise-council, I am not even invited to the table without an agenda. I know the hurt of being “just another neighbor, unworthy of hearing.”
But now that I am not a Christian, there is no limit to my neighbor. There is no limit to what *I* can learn from those that I once set out to save. 
Now that I am not a Christian, *they* are saving me. 
Now that I am not a Christian, I sit on the outside of the gates of those who profess to follow Christ and yet, I am free to love like him more than I ever did———when I was a Christian…

Belly of the Whale

Put down the crosses you’re carrying

They weren’t ever yours to hold
Someone placed that thought in You if the truth be told

But

You are enough just being you
And when you’ve had enough
You can be someone new

Keep on pushing

Keep on losing

Any path that wasn’t your choosing

You need to exhale, need to befriend your doubt
Cause you can’t fill up what’s never been without

Sink down into your unbecoming
Float in the sea of the unknowing

Cause in the deep
The tomb does its work

And it’s there in the quiet
resurrection leads to a birth

Do you understand what I’m trying to say
Its a glorious darkness inside the grave

From the belly of the whale it’s a slow escape
but you can learn to enjoy the burn of a dimly lit flame
Only if you let a fire lead the way

Of those gone before you who lit up their torches
Of those who beat down the path so that you could now forge this

Follow their lead, come alongside me

Together we can come up for air, together we can learn to breathe

We’ll burn down the bridges, we’ll untie the strings

No puppet, no master, just a reckoning

In the belly of the whale, I set myself free What kind of savior throws his child out to sea? Only one who is setting up a false delivery

Don’t ask us to be what wasn’t meant to be
In the belly of the whale, I chose me

——————Nineveh can wait til I’m ready

Written by Stacy Johnson 6/29/19 (cycle day 5 crone)