Born Again: A Journey from Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 8

Read Part 7 here.

I was done. Finished. Through. Moving on.

My feathers had been ruffled, but I had determined to move past that and be an agent of change. God had other plans. There were times I felt as though he had said, “Angie, you are the one seeking to grow and change and expand. Not them. Leave them alone. If I allow you to stay, you will only cause grief and heartache, and maybe even split something that is working just fine for them. Back off.”

So I did. I backed way off. It wasn’t until I was involved with a couple of funerals three years later that I would even set foot in the building of my childhood worship again.

I had to stay away. I wasn’t supposed to be there.

While I had decided to leave the church of my upbringing, I had not chosen to leave church. It was so much a part of me. I wanted my children to have it in their lives. I, of course, was searching. Seeking. Looking for an experience I had thus far not been able to find.

I witnessed things I never expected to witness in a church service. I heard speaking and praying in tongues, on a modest scale. I heard interpretations of those tongues. I secretly hoped whatever it was that “fell” on those people would fall on me. I saw people raise their hands in worship and praise. I loved the fact that they did. I didn’t. Nothing compelled me to raise my hands, and besides, it just felt weird to me. Of course it felt weird not to do what the others did, but somewhere along the way I had decided that I would not do “it” just because everyone else did. I was holding out to be moved by the Spirit.

We finally settled back in our little home town at a little church with a fun, light atmosphere. The people were welcoming and friendly. The music was very cool. The pastor was a riot. I loved his messages. They always seemed to be exactly what I needed. My husband who had dutifully followed me to church to avoid the inevitable pout session if he didn’t, was now attending even if  for some reason I didn’t go. He even dusted off his bass guitar and filled in a few times when the band needed him.

It felt right.

We attended a few special services where a speaker from out of town came in and delivered a message followed by an opportunity to receive prayer at the front. “The Invitation” in this place was much different than those I had experienced most of my life. People actually stepped out of the audience and walked to the front. Others stepped out and laid hands on them and prayed. A few times, I witnessed someone simply fall back as if they had passed out. I found it challenging to process what was going on. I still had not personally experienced anything like that, so I didn’t know whether to feel cheated or feel admiration and appreciation for their experience. Try as I might to stay away from judging it, at times I also bounced over to the side of thinking they were just a drama-hungry nutcase.

I threw myself headlong into the opportunities this small group offered. I regularly attended the Sunday morning life group, the Wednesday evening life group, and even the Tuesday noon ladies group a few times. I was so excited to be a part of a group of people who did not place limits on what could or could not be experienced in worshiping God.

My idealistic new age-y views, however, got a reality check fairly quickly. The openness was limited to that which the long standing members of the group had decided was acceptable to God. The moment I began to approach topics that sounded a bit like Eastern Religion, walls went up. It was in that moment that I realized every organized group has their boundaries, their unwritten code that is the line in the sand for them. Once I, the observer/participant, crossed the line of “what we know and understand of God”, things got very uncomfortable.

It was heartbreaking.

I felt like I was on the verge of experiencing so much more of God, about what this immense entity was, and what s/he hoped for each human. Unfortunately this church that believed they had taken God out of the box of legalism and limitations actually had a box of their own design. It was certainly bigger, differently shaped, more spacious, and much more comfortable, but it was still a box.

I decided that I was not likely to find what I was seeking in a church in the Bible belt. I wanted a wide open expanse. I knew it existed. I wanted to experience the fullness and the awesomeness of something so big the universe could not contain it.

Yet everywhere I looked, there were boxes. All sizes, all shapes, but boxes nonetheless.

My search would have to continue some other way in some other place.

Post Script: In my morning review of other people’s blogs, I found this at FreakRevolution.com. It seemed an appropriate complement to my post today.

It’s not til after years of being scolded, ignored, snapped at, reprimanded, and conditioned that we gradually stop being so inquisitive, so bold, so freespirited. It takes conditioning to put us in the box so many of us spend the rest of our lives trying to get out of, because we’re inherently rule-breakers at heart.

We can learn a lot from children.

If we stop boxing them in, we can learn how to stop being boxed.

Part 9

5 Responses to “Born Again: A Journey from Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 8”

  • I think why there are “boxes” is that it’s a comfortable place to be. You know the edges are RIGHT THERE, and you won’t have to go into the scary world of questions. So, that’s why there are boxes. Thing is: God, if He/She exists (sorry, I just don’t think the pronouns do Him/Her justice!), then it cannot be in a box (or finite area). You’re absolutely right.

    Speaking of boxes in an entirely different way, I thought you’d like this poem by Mary Oliver. It’s applicable, I think.

    The Uses of Sorrow
    (In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

    Someone I loved once gave me
    a box full of darkness

    It took me years to understand
    that this, too, was a gift.

    • Your comment got me to thinking about when it is appropriate to have a box. Baby kittens and day old chicks need a small space with boundaries in which to be nurtured and kept warm. The more mature they get, the bigger the box needs to be.

      Those same boxes sometimes known as fences also provide protection from predators. It’s a fine line knowing when a box or a fence is appropriate and when it is time to set out in the wilderness and face the unknown. The wilderness is both beautiful and scary.

  • Yes, yes and yes. And many choose to never venture outside the boundaries, so the journey in the wilderness is often taken alone. But if/when you can finally get outside them, it starts to make sense that EVERYTHING exists within the reach of the breath of the divine – and that inside each box or fence is simply another person with the same imprint on their very soul. When we let God out of the box – we figure out there is enough space to contain all of us. But it takes courage to step over the artificial lines we have created.

    • It also takes courage to allow someone else to step out of a box we as individuals might not yet be ready to leave.

      I was visiting with a very special person today who mentioned that anyone who studies long enough and thoroughly enough will eventually study themselves out of “the box”.

      And jumping back up to Elissa’s comment……a box full of darkness is absolutely a gift. I can’t begin to count the gifts that have come out of my box full of darkness.

  • […] M.S., L.M.T. Massage Therapist, Wellness Educator, Spiritual Seeker « Born Again: A Journey from Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 8 Born Aain: A Journey from Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 10 […]

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