Chapter Five: Deeper Still

I have decided to post the next two chapters of the book this time as I am getting many requests for more.  So, you will get “Deeper Still” in this post, and then will follow with “Addicted to Ministry” in the next post today.  If you are enjoying my story please let me know by commenting at the bottom.

Deeper Still

I continued to persevere in my growth as a Christian and took bible college classes, became a worship leader and Sunday school teacher.  We paid our tithes regularly.  We supported many building funds for the church.  And we should have been giving to those who really needed the help.   As the years progressed my life at church became much more exciting than my marriage.  At church I was validated as being important.  Church was my life.   It consumed most of my waking moments.  At this point I didn’t equate anything I was doing with my past as an incest survivor.  I still had never told a single soul.  I truly believed I would go to the grave with the secret.  After all, I was born again and a new person, so the past was gone and I had no need to go back there and visit it.  But my neediness began to grow through my denial.  I was a young fervent woman.  I thought that I was just fine the way I was.  So much so that I didn’t recognize my need for healing of my innermost self as a result of childhood abuse.   I filled those needs  instead with church activities.  If I was unhappy with my husband I would busy myself in more activities and not confront the issues.    I believed avoiding problems kept me holy and away from negative issues.  Unfortunately, what it really did is allow me to not deal with anything I was unhappy about and allowed me to escape into church life.   I was living in denial.   A dam filling with water with no outlet eventually overflows. 

 My busy work for the Lord was all consuming.  The sad thing was that I equated that fervor and love for God in my service to Him, not in my relationship with Him.  I mistakenly “knew” I couldn’t  be accepted on my own merit.  Remember, I was flawed.  I still had the nagging thought in the back of my mind that I had ticked off God by being born, so I had to be careful.    I was trying to earn my way to a higher position as spiritual leader.   Oh I thought I had it so together—that I had a deep relationship with Him.  What happened in other families in the church, divorce and children that run astray,  just wasn’t going to happen to me.  I knew the Word and how to make sure my children were different.   I didn’t believe in divorce so, of course, it could never happen to me.   I would criticize other couples whose marriages broke up for not following Godly principles yet I wasn’t even dealing with my own marital problems.   I actually taught classes on marriage.   I thought the pictures I created were more real than my growing unhappiness with my own marriage.  I mistakenly thought I was walking in faith.

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5 thoughts on “Chapter Five: Deeper Still

  1. Profound. Oh, how the enemy uses ministry busyness and performance to keep people bound in denial. I’ve been there, too. I love you. Thank you for sharing your story so candidly… and may God use it to transform hearts, minds and spirits in the mighty name of Yeshua!

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  2. Hi Dixie, I’m enjoying reading your of your journey. I have a question for you regarding this post. When you mention that you were “trying to earn [your] way to a higher position as spiritual leader.” Do you remember being conscious of that striving upward trying to earn? The reason I ask is that I wouldn’t say I was conscious of this in my own life and many Christians I meet are also unaware of this at a conscious level, (some are no doubt). I know that for many years I saw (and still see) countless believers striving, working, serving – trying to pay God back for what He has done for us. Oh, they’d never articulate it that way, but this quickly moves beyond gratitude into a new place of bondage and legalism, but for the most part the individual simply thinks they are trying to get closer to God. Wayne Jacobsen says we are constantly trying to earn points with a Father who stopped keeping score long ago. That is so true. Can you elaborate a bit more on your conscious reflections of attitude to service in organised church?

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  3. Hi Matt….when I was working so hard in the ‘ministry’ I was pretty much in the dark when it came to what God’s grace really meant. I just knew it brought me much admiration from people for all of my ‘spirituality’, and though I know many were helped (remember God can use even a donkey to get his word out), I thought I was climbing the ladder to be a well known spiritual leader in God’s kingdom….I had it all backwards. True service for Him flows out of a deep intimate relationship that is about Him alone, not my need for the accolades. When we are unconcerned about what we are ‘supposed’ to be doing and are focused on only Him, then He brings those folks our way that we can share His life with. I don’t know if I was conscious of the effort. I think it was more that the effort made me feel better about myself because it gave me an identity of importance, or so I thought. It was born out of my need to be loved….so I continually strove, but like an addiction, it was never enough. Thus there was no freedom. The very thing He paid so dearly for to give to me. How exhausting, huh? Because my efforts were validated by people who needed to worship someone they could see I thought I was right in the center of His will…boy, was I ever blind!! And heading into a deep dark time of awakening. I hope that answers your question.

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  4. I didn’t realize our lives were so much alike! I went to bible school at my church for 2 years, I led a bible study and taught sunday school. I was also home-schooling my girls, all why my marriage desolved. I was very lucky to have an awesome church with awesome leadership. I got baptized in a river by my favorite pastor. Unfortunately, his wife got cancer and slowly died in front of us all. Our pastor lost his faith and quit the church. He did come out of it eventually and began teaching again in a different city.

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    • More than an awesome church, we have an awesome God. And sometimes the things that go on in organized churches have nothing to do with who God is……..denial and an inability to deal with those holes left in us by abuse can lead us into trying to fill that void with everything else, except Him…the one who can truly set us free. My addiction of choice was ministry…the accolades I got from that helped me to hide the fact that my marriage was dissolving……how sad for you Toni…I pray your life is good now and you are living for Him as we are the true church………….

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