Thursday, April 21, 2011
Repressed Emotions & The God Connection
When I was a child, the only time we were permitted to show any kind of ‘negative’ emotion was in church. We went to the old time Pentecostal churches, lots of high emotions in those services, lots of repenting going on, lots of weeping and sobbing happening all around me. And people were allowed to do this without getting punished. Of course, as I started to get a little older I realized that there was a lot of real anguish going on, a lot of fear of damnation. But something happens when you are made to stuff all your feelings way deep inside you and then you are around a lot of crying people. It’s like it’s contagious. You start crying too. Only now they tell you that it’s God that’s MAKING you cry, convicting you of all your sin.
So, I am a child and I go into a church every week, usually 2 to 3 times a week, and I cry. And now I know that it’s God that is causing all this crying, because he sees all my sin and is convicting me. So, now I am allowed to cry, as long as it is about my sin and it is God who is doing all this in me, making me feel so bad inside.
When I was a teenager, we switched denominations and went Independent Baptist for a while. Still very fundamentalist, lots of preaching about sin and judgment, but no one cried in these churches. They were already saved. So I learned to keep all that crying down, even if the bad feelings were there every time I went into a church, I just couldn’t let them see me cry, because then they would know about all the sin.
When I was in my thirties, something happened. I was unable to go into a church without breaking down. I couldn’t even get there before it started. The sobbing was uncontrollable. There was so much pain on the inside of me and knowing I was going to go to church set the wheels in motion. And I still had this notion that it was God, that he was behind all this bad stuff coming out of me. I was still being convicted. And it didn’t matter how much repenting I did, it never seemed to be sufficient, because he just kept on convicting me, and it was to the point of being unbearable. I couldn’t bear it any longer. And so I gave up on God, because it didn’t seem there was any way to appease him anymore.
I tried going back, about 6 years ago. But now, instead of it being the breaking down and sobbing, I was having anxiety attacks. Extreme anxiety, couldn’t even make it into the parking lot most times, the panic was so intense I had to leave. I haven’t tried in several years now, can’t put myself through it.
There are many reasons why I have issues in this area. Abuse by religious people; lies embedded in me before I was even school age, about my worth as a human being, about my role in this world, being a whore and all. Family being super religious but never living it out in our lives. Oh sure, they may not have smoked, or drank, or danced, or wore makeup, or played cards, or went to the movies, or went to bowling alleys (all these things being sinners stuff), but they knew how to kill your spirit. How to beat you and humiliate you and use you. So, there’s that. And now of course, another piece of the puzzle that has fallen into place, the fact that church is a trigger on another level as well. It’s the only place I was ever allowed to cry. And then that became too embarrassing and too unbearable, seeing how I could never appease God. So back to repressing emotions and now I am left with anxiety attacks. Me and churches don’t get along so well.
But you know what they say, knowledge is power. Truth is freeing. And I may just be on my way to some healing in this area. Because it wasn’t actually God who did all of this to me. It was religious people who were pretty wicked in the end. Pretty wicked. And I was just a kid caught in the middle of the wicked religious people, and I paid a heavy, heavy price. And God had nothing to do with any of it, or them. They were all on their own in all of this. But they are pretty convinced that if the rapture comes, they will be the first ones to ride the friendly skies.
I say, good riddance. "I’d rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints". Always knew Billy Joel had something good going on with that one.
This may seem rather sacrilegious, it being Easter and all. But I have a sneaking suspicion that this little bit of truth coming up in me is my own personal Easter gift from God, Himself. Because he sees the pain, he bore it over 2000 years ago. And I am going to find healing at the end of this. And freedom. And maybe even a new and very different relationship with Him when all is said and done.
And as a good friend said to me today: first things first.
There is no rush with God. We are the ones who get so damn pushy.