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Free to be me

By Lindsay ~

It's been refreshing to read that there are people out there that know how it is when you leave something that has controlled your thoughts, lifestyle, finances and belief in yourself for a long time.

I live in Portland, Victoria, Australia, and left Christianity 15 years ago after 25 years of dedicated church life. I had been trained in a bible college to be a pastor and was about to embark on a promising ministry. But, at bible college I started to really examine and question my faith, and why I was in the church.

My revelation came when I asked the question,
"Why do we evangelize refugees as they come into the country when they are already traumatized by many events in their lives and not just help them to adjust first?"
The answer i got sent me down the road of examining my faith all together. The answer I got was "because they are vulnerable."

This was not my only revelation, so to speak, but it started me questioning a whole lot more.

Not long after completing bible college and moving back to Australia from New Zealand, my marriage fell apart, and so-called friends became critics and did a lot of damage that has meant I have had little contact with my son for 15 years.

No one in the normal, everyday world knows how the church can be so controlling, and when you leave, your social structures and friendships dissolve over night. It's lonely and can and does take you to the brink of depression and anxiety. You are making a huge change in your life.

I have been reading many of your blogs and have been encouraged knowing that there are so many like-minded people out there who understand the trauma and consequences that leaving fundamentalist Christianity can be like. I have since rebuilt my life from nothing and have a wonderful wife, whom I adore, and now six children between us: Two each from previous relationships and two of our own. I have also completed a Nursing degree and work in a local hospital. There is so much more to my story but I will leave it here for now.

To all of you: "You have made a life for yourselves, free to think for yourselves," but I understand it takes time to free yourselves from the guilt, pain and fears that have been so embedded for so long. Keep going and keep an eye out for others who are struggling with the same issues, 'cos the are out there.

Thank you for sharing your journey.