What’s more important: people or image.

Having gone through a major life change as I have, I felt challenged to write about something which tends to be overlooked, not spoken about or simply ignored. Those of us that have gone through serious dark times can relate to the feeling of being judged or misunderstood. I felt challenged to write about the topic ‘Christian’. Yes Christian! The word we associate to church, bible or religion.
Don’t get freaked out! I am not writing against the bible, church or the Christian.
Having been involved and attended church for decades I am speaking about something I believe should be said. It is personal to me. It has affected me. Not many would understand unless they had gone through an experience which would take them to places breaking apart small minded thinking and judgements of other people.
The fact of the matter is that I was married to a man that claimed to be a Christian. Without going into all the details of how I was mistreated, the purpose of writing about a topic such as this is the hope it will encourage others who may be in the middle of OR have gone through a similar struggle. Deep down I would hope that people who are quick to judge and live in a world too small would get a glimpse into reality rather than resort to the typical Christian phrases or bible verses blinded to ‘the real issues’ in life.
Personally, I believe what the bible talks about and I believe there is a God. Having experienced situations for myself I could never deny that God exists. Unfortunately, there are people who choose to use the bible to control others. It may be an individual or the leadership of a church. These people grab parts of the bible and use it to manipulate, control and attempt to scare the hell out of people.
The trouble is that often these people believe wholeheartedly that they are doing the right thing? Are they misunderstanding the bible? Where does this all come from?
Since my life changed over a year and half ago I have not gotten to the point in which I desire to go to church. I have tried a few times earlier when I first got to Canberra however hearing all the typical Christian phrases, messages and watching all the typical routine within a church doesn’t appeal to me. Sometimes it can feel a little like a rehearsed show. Do people really benefit from clichés?
At this point in my life I just want what is REAL and GENUINE. I have found that listening to people’s real-life battles in the place I work has been like therapy for myself. People going through real issues are usually open and genuine. They have nothing left to hide. They don’t have an image to uphold in front of others. When I have the privilege to listen to a person’s dark time I relate to them. Everything within me stops for that moment and takes in what this person is pouring out. I genuinely listen. I don’t have all the answers and they don’t expect me too. I don’t have an agenda or motive behind why I am listening, I just genuinely care about people.
Why? in the darkest hours of a person’s life is the Christian person often such a hindrance. Throwing judgemental words at the hurting person. The person who doesn’t need anymore hurt!
The fact that I currently don’t attend church does that mean I don’t believe in God? Or the bible?
The way I am living out my beliefs may look different to others. Isn’t it about the heart? Your motives and intentions? Your behaviour?
I simply cannot fathom that a God who is talked about as a loving heavenly father would be so nasty as to banish a person from his love if they were not attending a church on a regular basis. I believe God is sooooo much bigger than that. Perhaps us humans like to contain God into a very small space.
The amount of pressure often put on a Christian is another topic altogether. That if you follow all these steps daily you will be closer to God:
1. Read bible daily
2. Pray daily
3. Attend church weekly
4. Attend a bible study
5. Attend a ladies meeting
6. Attend a small group
7. Evangelise your neighbourhood and the world
All sounds good and great and involves a lot of DOING but what about who you are as a person?
A person’s beliefs don’t make them a loving person. You can attend every session under the sun, running from one group to another and ignore your family, mistreating them worse than your worst enemy. All in the belief that without DOING all of the above you will fall short of what it is to be a Christian!!!! Failing to recognise that the way you treat others should be right up there on the priority list.
I’m thankful that I have been able to see life from a different perspective. I’m so much happier and content without all of the unnecessary pressure to perform or keep up an image.
It took me along time to come out of an unhealthy relationship involving a lot of control which included emotional and spiritual abuse. The bible was often used to manipulate and scare me. Sadly, this is an all too common occurrence. This experience has changed me and my thinking for the better. You could say that it busted through my small thinking and my judgements of other people.
It also made me aware of how easily we can get mislead and controlled if we don’t use our god given brains. At the end of the day all that matters is that you live life in a way which leaves you free to be yourself! You know who you are, there is no need to keep striving towards an image someone else has established somewhere back there ←
→ move forward and don’t be controlled by others. Every human has a god given right to be themselves, we all have a different history, future and purpose.

We don’t need to be copies of others.

 

 

 

 

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What’s NOT in your control….

Just imagine for a moment a world in which everything was running smoothly. No bumps on the road called LIFE! People were nice to each other all of the time. Respect, trust, honesty and love roamed the streets 24/7 with the same intensity as peak hour traffic in some of the busiest cities around the world. This type of a world would create rare sightings of the elderly seen struggling to carry their heavy grocery shopping to the bus stop by themselves. Perhaps the forgotten SMILE would become the latest trend sending beauty parlours broke, people no longer relying on expensive treatments to be beautiful. Shoppers would give way to each other while the worker behind the checkout acknowledges each customer with enthusiasm and genuine consideration. There would be less murder, crime, divorce, anguish, depression, isolation, loneliness, anger, jealousy, rage and so on.

What would your perfect world look like?

It isn’t possible to experience a perfect world in which everyone including ourselves live perfectly. This type of perfect world simply doesn’t exist. The fact of the matter is its people that make up the world in the first place. We all know that people don’t always consider respect, trust, honesty and love to be that important. Some people put themselves as number one! In that case there is no consideration of how their actions or behaviour affects another person. We all have the same potential of thinking only of ourselves rather than thinking through how our actions may impact someone else. We may occasionally slip up and then make adjustments after we realise our mistakes. Generally we all learn from our mistakes. As we travel through life we start figuring out what NOT to do. Then there are people that never learn from their mistakes, always blaming others for issues that stem from their behaviour.

Most of us realise that if we want ‘our world’ to be peaceful and loving we need to be conscious of how to live our lives in such a way that creates this experience. The only control we have is over our own actions and choices. If we want to have friends and long lasting relationships we treat people accordingly. Simply put you are not going to have many people wanting to hang around you if all you do is leave them feeling hurt. Of course there is an element of hurt that happens from time to time in any relationship which is how they usually grow and move forward. However, if on every encounter the main entertainment is ‘hurt’ then I would say it was time to reconsider the dynamics of that relationship.

We cannot control other people’s choices or behaviour as much as we cannot control the weather! On a rainy day we do have the control of using our umbrellas so we don’t get soaking wet. If you happen to live in a very cold climate during winter you have the control to put on plenty of clothing to keep you warm. In contrast if you happen to live in a HOT climate the less clothing the better! We dress according to the weather. We may choose to use the air conditioner to cool things down at home on a hot humid day. Or on those cold days sit in front of a nice warm fire place drinking a nice warm cup of your favourite drink.

In other words no matter what the weather throws our way we have the control of making our own environment whatever we want it to be in order to live comfortably and happy.

It’s the same with people! We can’t control what they do or don’t do BUT we can control how we live our lives thereby creating a peaceful environment. When someone hates on you like pelting hail you can choose to move by taking cover. You separate yourself from them by getting out of harm’s way. If someone in your life suddenly becomes icy cold towards you then you have the choice to control how you respond in order to stop your own heart from freezing over. When I think about an angry person I associate that to the hot sun, these days people avoid getting sun burnt knowing the risks and dangers we are regularly informed of. I’m not talking about someone who has had a bad day and gotten angry and frustrated. I’m talking about someone who has anger issues. Someone that lashes out verbally on a regular basis or worse becomes violent. It is never right for someone to treat another person with that type of physical or emotional harm. Again you have no control over a person that behaves in that way BUT you do have the control of walking away and looking after yourself in order to avoid potential danger or harm.

No matter the weather forecast or a person’s behaviour we have the choice of creating our own ‘peace filled world’ each and every day.

We can choose to be happy despite our circumstances or environment. It’s a matter of letting go of that which we can’t control. That can be difficult for some people. The idea of letting go has always been something I’ve had to work on over the years. I’ve never been one for handling situations outside of my control. It was only a few years back that I finally settled things within myself and recognised that people will do whatever they want. That I shouldn’t take it personally or to heart when someone chooses to do something that may hurt. That it is not my fault. If I’ve done all that I know to do then the other person has the same possibility of doing the right thing. If they choose not to then ‘it’s outside my control’.

Life is going to happen whichever way it will as much as the weather is going to happen however it chooses.

Know when to enjoy the sunshine and dance in the rain. Let go of what you can’t control and live a life free from other people’s behaviours good or bad, hot or cold.