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Seek and You Shall Find What You are Not Looking For

By Seeker ~

My mom was "saved" when I was 7 and I was personally "saved" when I was 13. I considered myself very lucky: I fell in love with Jesus from a young age. I adored God and felt adored; manna for an insecure and shy teenager. In my 20's, I broke up with my long term boyfriend (5 years) because he was a non-practicing believer and I had realised that I was choosing selfishly and not devoting myself to Jesus enough (and I could certainly not yoke myself unequally). I look back on it with a great amount of shame and horror.

I truly believed that I could hear God's voice and couldn't understand how other people could deny His presence. I would ask and He would answer. "Is Boyfriend my husband?" - "No". "What must I do now?" - "Get some pure Word". Pure Word was a passage-by-passage study of Torah (first five books of the Bible). I was flabbergasted at how much of the original context and meaning had been stripped from the scriptures and were taught as doctrines in Christianity. I dabbled in the Hebrew Roots movement, agreed and disagreed, but always tried to seek God for myself. I was attracted to the history of Judaism and Christianity (one and the same, right?). I studied it with the sincere intent to draw closer to God. Big mistake... (someone on the forum somewhere mentioned that the surest way of disproving Christianity is actually studying the Bible... to which I say, "Hear, hear!")

Although I had doubts about the Christian religion, I never even thought to doubt God; I was much too aware of His presence in my life. One night I was pouring over Romans to try and understand it from a Hebrew perspective (where the laws of the "old covenant" are still applicable) when the voice I associated with God asked, "Where exactly does the Bible say that Jesus is God?".

I couldn't find it. Every possible reference seemed convoluted and confusing. Surely God would not allow the most vital part of Christianity to be left to interpretation? At this point I no longer believed in the Trinity (I considered it a Roman Catholic addition - forgive me, Catholics. I now understand that my prejudice was based on anti-Catholic French Huguenot ancestry) and now I started to doubt Jesus as God. It was a blow (I grieved on my mother's couch) and the start of my conscious de-conversion.

For a while I was in the denial and bargaining phase; I avoided anything that might "mislead" me. But I couldn't go to gatherings because I would get frustrated with leaders and teachings who I felt had not done any research; they all seemed to just repeat each other (no original thought). I couldn't meditate on the Word without a thousand doubts and questions. I was desperate to find anyone who had the same doubts and questions I did. I could find no-one. I started studying typology and psychology. I understood for the first time that certain personalities are more prone to spirituality, abstract thought and imagination; my father and sisters were not lost, they were simply practical, logical thinkers. I was warned about the spirit of the anti-Christ that was rampant in these times; that it was demonic to revoke Christ; to stop eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; and not to rely on my own understanding (Really? Should I deny my very God-created nature?).

It is the strangest sensation to finally understand the point of view of atheists. My overwhelming emotion is shame at my stupidity. It was never a choice to de-convert, it just happened. I honestly feel a bit helpless and hopeless; I built so much of my identity on my relationship with Jesus (I am not longer able to say the name without some cringing) and the world now seems vast and unknowable.

Not to end badly, but I think I might be on the depression stage. I stumbled on this forum because I was looking for anyone who has had the same experience and misses their belief as much as I do. I wanted to make this post shorter but decided to leave a lot as a dedication to the posters who have led me and the hope of helping others on the same journey.

Some advice or referrals needed from those who have gone before:

1) Any recommended books/podcasts/YouTube channels on recovery? Especially de-programming? I realise there are a lot on the forums and the book section, but I can't buy them all, thus relying on your reviews. Nothing angry, please. My anger doesn't need kindling. Okay, maybe one that's reaaaaally angry (preferably with a bit of satire; I want to laugh while I cringe).

2) How did you approach new belief systems? I was such a blind follower; I am afraid of allowing myself to try any new belief system, but I feel a spiritual void I want to address.

3) Any fellow shy and introverted ex-Christians? How did you meet new communities/friends/partners? Especially in a conservative, Christian community?

4) Biggest mistake made as a Christian which you only realised after de-conversion? Mine was leaving my ex-boyfriend because we were unequally yoked. Anyone else hurt someone in the name of Christ?