I am currently working on 7 blog posts that would not make a lot of sense if you didn’t know a little about me. So take a seat and pour some tea cause I am telling my truth in the coming weeks.
If I were to describe my religious upbringing I would describe it at best interesting and at worst as schizophrenic. The first part of my life I was raised by an agnostic father and a Church of Christ mother, whose heart of service and love knows no bounds. When I was around 8 my dad decided to become a member of our church and was officially, “saved”, though he never did lose his belief in a good question. I believe it is my parent’s strong belief in question everything and let’s have a good debate that has truly saved me. For the next few years of my life I would say we were your average Christian family. If by average you mean, attending church twice on Sunday, once during the week and Christian school 5 days a week. I spent more time at churches than I did in my own home. I was quite certain in those formative years that if you had an organ in your church, you weren’t one of the chosen and Heaven was probably not in your future. And don’t get me started on those Catholics or Methodist, they were going to Hell in a hand basket. My innocence was quickly shattered when I was abused by a church member and the church elders (men) turned a blind eye, and protected the abuser. I am thankful that my parent left the church but boy did we do a 180° on beliefs. We left the Church of Christ and became Pentecostal. Nothing says crazy more than one week an organ keeps you out of Heaven and then next week you have people dancing in the aisle. Though don’t be deceived the pentecostal church we attended were under just as much bondage and did just as much damage, it was just packaged differently. I don’t care what church you were raised in, if you spent any amount of time in “traditional” churches you are steeped in patriarchy. And most likely you were raised with the idea of the Original Sin. Which if you are a woman, is your fault, after all you ate the damn apple.
I believe that it is this training of Original Sin that ultimately causes the feelings of:
“I am flawed and therefore a bad person.”
“I must change or fix something about myself in order to be acceptable.”
“I am evil and need a man to save me”
These deep, fundamental wounds are the result of the foundational beliefs that we were taught since birth, contributing to the faulty destructive self-image that we continue to carry around with us. They live at the very core of our being, and can lead us to some very dark places, if left unchecked.
I know my parents didn’t do this to harm me, it was how they were raised. They did it because it was done to them. This view of original sin, or as I like to call it now tribal beliefs is so ingrained that most have stopped asking is it right? Is it true?
These tribal beliefs reveal something profound about our deep-rooted core wounds; how issues such as generational guilt, self-rejection, low self-esteem, addictions and self-hatred has passed on from generation to generation, from mother to daughter.
There was a time though where we didn’t know these things. Where the tribal beliefs hadn’t yet been written on the core of who we are. We were able to love unconditionally, accept ourselves unconditionally, we were able to dance unencumbered, for we had no belief system telling us that our bodies were dirty.
WE WERE LIMITLESS!
That was until we ate from the “Tree of Knowledge.” At first it was just a look, then it was a swat, and before we knew it we were told that if we questioned too many times then we were just like Eve and we were going to hell and may be taking those we loved the most with us. Nothing like the fear of eternal damnation for you and everyone you love, to get you in line. So we started to shrink, ask less questions, and began to hide the true gift of our light under that bushel. Remember that song? I do. While the songs they taught us told us not too, that is exactly what they wanted us to do. Our little lights were far too bright for the adults around us. This is when our tribal beliefs became wounds and our wounds began to fester.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Many years ago, I read the book Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd and realized there was another way. That I could embrace my questions and my spirituality at the same time. That I was not Eve leading Adam to sin because I dared eat from the Tree of Knowledge. In fact: eating the apple could free me and might just free Adam, too.
How do you know if you are living your family’s tribal beliefs?
- Are you exhausted? Fatigue sets in when we stop asking questions and accept the status quo. It takes a lot of energy to be something you are not.
- Are you constantly looking for someone who can complete you?
- Do you often feel less then? Bad? Unworthy? Unloveable?
- Are you afraid you are going to Hell? Don’t worry that usually means you are asking the right questions.
- Are you a perfectionist? Does your value lie in what you do and how you do it, rather than who you are?
- The list goes on and on. And it feels terrible ALL the time.
But there is another way. There is hope for those of us who have the Tree of Knowledge growing inside of us. I have tools to help you find your authentic whole self. She is waiting to meet you and she loves you just as you are. I am sure if you are quiet and think back you may remember her before everyone told her she was sinful.
Schedule your free 30-minute session so that we can start eating that damn apple. It tastes like freedom!
In the coming weeks, I will be talking about some of those famous “seven deadly sins” and how they might just lead you to salvation.
Disclaimer: This is my truth, others may have different memories of events. I honor their experiences and their right to their truth.