A friend repeated a phrase back to me that I’d used many years ago. My phrase or sentiment was that I had to take care of myself. That I needed certain things out of a relationship and if those needs weren’t met then I would move on, instead of clinging to the hope things would change. When it came back from another’s voice it sounded shallow. Callous. Selfish. Cold-hearted. But that’s not how I’d meant it. Maybe that’s what they heard. I wear the crown for my life. Only I can make me happy or sad. And that’s how I feel about religion, God, and spiritual pursuits. I have to take care of me. Living my life constantly wondering if a god or a man is pleased with me is self abusive. Waiting for someone to come and rescue me, to heal me, to feed me or even to talk to me when I can get up and take care of myself is harmful to me.
Those who grew up in moderate religions may not be able to relate. They probably can’t grasp the concept of denying my rights to make choices for the sake of “deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me.” “He who loves his family more than me, is not worthy of me.” This is the burden of Christianity. Not a suggestion, a demand.
I believed. I gave up my life, which as a child I never really owned. So I never claimed ownership of my life.
I believed strongly in the scriptures:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. http://biblehub.com/matthew/16-24.htm
This was my creed, my belief in who God was. These were my mantras:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I was so blinded by what I believed the bible said and what I wanted it to say, that it was easy to overlook the verses that said something opposite. Like I heard once, I had my God filtered glasses on. All I saw was the love.
I now realize there are scriptures that say other things.
37“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. http://biblehub.com/matthew/10-38.htm
I Timothy 2:12
I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
Do I disregard the verses that I don’t like. Pick off the offending vegetables? Maybe mark them out with a black marker? No, because there is scripture saying not to do that. Either I accept the total religion or move on. I no longer have to carry the burden of rescuing others from hell. My life is no longer carefully monitored to make sure I don’t offend. No one’s salvation is hinging on my behavior. I’m free to live my life.
Some articles I like:
- What It Means to Really Take Care of Yourself
- Learning to Love Your Body
- Self-care in a toxic world
- Boost Your Confidence By Saying Less
- 3 Self-Care Strategies to Transform Your Life
- Considerate Towards Myself