judge me by my actions

I feel guilty, sometimes, for not being a Christian anymore. So many people invested in me so that i would believe ‘the right things’ my whole life.

I feel bad for the Ss, who took me on a mission trip to Bogota, and for Mrs. C, who was always kind. I feel bad for my Sunday School teachers who did their best, and I feel especially guilty when i think of Miss R.  She used to do things with us junior high girls from church, one Saturday a month. She taught me how to sew a little, how to bake bread, how to decorate cakes and how to plant flower bulbs. She brought in someone to teach us how to do makeup, she took us hiking, she got someone to teach us how to knit and crochet and cross stitch. She even took us on an overnight shopping trip to Tulsa one time! Nobody paid her, she just did it out of love. Her husband told us once it was so that someday we would pass it on and minister to girls ourselves.

When I craft something, i often think of her, and how much time she put into loving me and the other girls, and I feel really bad that I didn’t turn out how she hoped.

I would hope she could see that I am an artistic person capable of many things, thanks to her, but I’m afraid all she would see is that I’m not a christian any more. I feel like that’s what my parents would see, if we were around them. Because I know that’s why they raised me the way they did – they said it all the time. So I would grow up to ‘serve the lord’. that’s all that mattered. So now I am, as Libby Anne wrote, ‘a living disappointment

I am a good christian mother’s greatest fear.

But I wish people could see me for real. I’m artistic, i’m kind and empathetic. I’m a pretty decent mother and wife. I’m getting treatment for mental illness and discovering that I’m still the same happy and creative person that I was as a child. My life is full of learning and love and growth.

When I’m not mentally ill, i’m happy. I’m fulfilled. I help people when I can. I’m fairly generous. I’m an encourager and a listener. I’m smart! I’m still all these positive things.

I know it sounds like I’m full of myself to say all this, i just wish everyone knew that I turned out pretty well. Except for that one thing. Except for faith. And because of that one thing, I will always be a disappointment. But I can’t make myself believe something I don’t. And I have no real wish to go back. I just wish i weren’t a disappointment. I wish my ‘success’ as a person didn’t hinge on my belief.

I wish I were judged by my actions and not my profession of faith.

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3 thoughts on “judge me by my actions

  1. delagar

    Wow, that greatest fear post is just jaw-dropping. She’d rather her child get hit by a bus than become an atheist — and apparently this is somehow connected to how much she will get enjoy her future Thanksgiving dinners?

    Way to turn your child into an object.

    All of this “Be perfect or you’re a total failure,” “Be exactly What We Require Or You’re Nothing” which goes along with these religions (and this authoritarian parent style, too) is so destructive. It attempts to erase the child’s self. Which, granted, is its intent, so, you know, feature not a bug. But nothing I personally endorse as an actual human being.

    Reply
    1. lanamhobbs Post author

      I genuinely feel kinda bad for the author. It’s the belief in/fear of hell that makes her think this way. If i believed in a place of eternal death (that’s what i was taught hell was, dying over and over and over in a literal lake of fire) i would want my children to believe ‘the right way’ at all costs too. I know a woman who told a child that doubt was the devil whispering in his ear…. but that manipulation (and lie…) is worth it to save the child from eternal torture!
      But I don’t feel *too* bad for her because she’s just as capable of questioning whether a loving God could do that as I was. And really if the way you train your children is motivated by fear, you need to have another look at your beliefs. Especially when the bible says ‘perfect love casts out fear’.

      Reply
    2. lanamhobbs Post author

      well maybe she isn’t *just as capable of questioning* as i am. She is a little more invested in her beliefs, being married to a missionary on the field.

      Reply

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