When someone throws the big-time sell at you, don’t ignore your internal GPS truth system.
I recall sitting at a kitchen table with an earnest couple who gave me the sales pitch of a lifetime about how joining their church would ensure I’d fulfill God’s purpose for my life.
They persistently pounded on the need to be planted, despite my dreams of travel. My television career was in its infancy, and in TV, you couldn’t stay put in the Delaware Valley (one of the top markets in the country) and gain the experience you needed to rise through the ranks.
The thought of moving to Lima, Ohio to hone my craft…and then to a middle market and finally, a big city – maybe even back home to Philly – thrilled me. This was the path I knew led to my desired outcome: A successful career in broadcast journalism.
And I was being told; being SOLD, that staying put was what GOD wanted.
I remember sloppy tears streaming down my face and crying, “But why would God want something for me that I DON’T want?”
“Ah,” they said. “That’s the voice of rebellion trying to talk you out of the will of God.”
Since when do you have to sell someone on the will of God?
Still, not wanting to rebel against God, I acquiesced.
Fourteen years later, this “church” revealed to be a cult, and over the course of those fourteen years I had the very life sucked out of me. Each “sell” involved me taking action counter to my God-given instincts.
Any resistant truth I haltingly uttered resulted in ME as the guilty party for daring to question authority. Chastised for wanting some semblance of normalcy (like, say, dating, establishing credit or having medical benefits), giving credence to my feelings signaled carnality.
Feelings, they said, were liars. Only the spiritually weak listened to feelings.
This was the master stroke of control that made me a walking zombie. I could quote any scripture for any situation, but I had lost the ability to think for myself. Why? Because when I dared to do so, it resulted in “counseling” and threats of disqualification for the ministry.
I often wonder if an alternative universe exists in which I left that table and listened to my heart. Who might I be today?
Fortunately, I believe everything is always working out for me and boy has it. To this day, the dearest people in my life are those that I met in the cult. Those I escaped with are the kind and tender friends who helped me find my mind again. But it took YEARS; even another fourteen, to fully understand the danger of suppressing my internal emotional guidance system: my feelings.
To realize that if it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t in alignment with that which is Divine.
Jesus doesn’t want or need me to suffer for him to prove my love.
And the truth sets you free.
I own my part in the charade because I abdicated my ability to choose for my life. At first, I thought they were more spiritual and would know better than me how I should serve God. Later, I acquiesced mostly just to stay out of their counseling offices where the most vile twisting of truth would render me full of self-loathing and confusion.
The good news is that truth won. It never fails to rise to the top and it will win the day.
And when you truly are flowing with the Divine, there’s no such thing as lost time.
We are eternal beings. And we’ve only just begun.
My parting thoughts on TRUTH and a double whammy WOW:
It is rare to have a two-word WOW. I wonder what opportunities to put yourself out there on behalf of someone else will present themselves this week?
Let me know what happens as you take them!