For the longest time, as someone raised inside a faith based system, there were all these words labeled as “dirty.” It wasn’t said outright, but definitely implied, and met with a proverbial slap of the hand.

If you were spiritual enough you understood the code and spoke within said boundaries.

You were never lucky. You were blessed. (It was important to always speak intentionally and give God credit for everything.)

You were never happy. You had joy. (Happiness was considered selfish or self seeking.)

It was never: Thank you. It was: Glory to God! (To receive a compliment was arrogant or proud. One must always be urgently pointing upward.)

Other dirty word or phrases:
Self worth or self love (One was in fact worthless without God.)
Tolerance (One must never allow the truth to be watered down.)

It makes me sad looking back that this was labeled a system of love and even acceptance. It cannot be both. Love and fear cannot coexist.

My daily life was riddled with fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection from man and god, fear of others (and their difference in thinking), fear of the world and the roaming “boogie man,” and fear of myself (because I was prone to evil if left to my own devices.)

It. Was. Exhausting!!

I’m not attacking people of faith. I understand this is not everyone’s experience of faith.

It was however, mine.

I know I’m not the only one and that concerns me. When you have the truth and you believe it is the only truth, you want to fix the world. The urge to fix others is compulsive because you are operating under the idea that you know better.

I look back and see the entrapment of my faith, the cult like mentality. Not to be inflammatory but I speak my truth in hopes of helping someone. Anyone.

If you can’t question, test, or look at your beliefs with an open mind…
If you are told to close you ears and eyes and mind…
If you close the windows to your home, breathe only stagnant air, and never step outside…
How will you know?

I stepped outside, broke down the erected walls around my mind, and realized: There was no boogie man. I realized there was much to be offered in another man’s eyes. They were not the enemy seeking to deceive me. They were simply on a different path that deserved to be honored. I realized life was not a performance with pass or fail but a learning opportunity. I understood it was okay to not have the answers, especially the answer.

I truly feel sad that people are still being raised, or led, in any kind of religious thinking that exhorts divisive, close minded thinking.

Love one another means to truly accept others: no agenda. More importantly, no one can love another person if they haven’t first learned to love themselves. In the same way, you cannot pour your neighbor a clean glass of water from a filthy jug.

I feel great compassion for those that hate or neglect themselves believing it is godly. No one is worthless. No one deserves rejection or judgement. We are just human. We are simply learning and if we can help each other along the way, imagine…

As for me, I will spread a message of love and compassion to my dying day. Every soul I cross paths with I hope to remind of one universal truth: You matter.