You never know when truth is going to find you. Truth sets you free, and that’s the best news there is. But you need to do your part; you must open your eyes. You need to look around your small cell and see Truth next to you, ever patient, holding the keys.
Truth is not outside; it’s there in the cell with you, close as your own heart. The Eagles had it right: So oftentimes it happens / that we live our lives in chains / And we never even know we have the keys.
Sweetheart, I just want to give you a heads up. Someday soon, you will find yourself writing an essay in which you describe your childhood church, The Worldwide Church of God.
You’ll want to link to a basic description of the organization, so you’ll do some research. By this time, you’ve Googled the church before, but words like “cult” and “abusive” made you look away.
You don’t see how your positive experiences—summer camp, close friendships—could fit those descriptions. You don’t understand how the warm, loving people you knew could be categorized by a word as cold as cult. You will feel confused, to say the least.
But in the midst of your confusion you will realize how well you’ve been trained to obey. You’ll see how a wall—subtle but strong—stands between you and free choices.
Before, you didn’t recognize the bedrock of control beneath the good memories …
Trust us, don’t trust yourself. Don’t question. If you want to wear a Halloween costume, you’re misguided. Halloween is the devil’s holiday. If you don’t fast and tithe, if you don’t believe that this is the ONE (and only) true church … then you’ve fallen astray.
So this time, you’ll keep reading the words you find online. You’ll learn about spiritual abuse. You’ll visit a support network for former church members. The whole process will be akin to seeing a car crash.
It will be awful, but for the life of you, you won’t be able to look away.
Friends, this is the beginning of a letter I wrote to my past self in 2014. It originally appeared on SheLoves Magazine as a guest post titled, Turning the Keys: My Letter to You.
Visit SheLoves to read the rest of the letter … but first, let me tell you why I’m sharing this particular story today.
Addie is one of my favorite writers and I loved Night Driving, which releases Tuesday March 15. If you like my writing you might very well adore hers, so check it out!
That said, I’m not an affiliate for Night Driving, just a fan and fellow writer helping to get the word out. (Longtime readers may recall my 2014 guest post on her site, The Resource Pile.)
Other Exciting Announcements …
- I recently had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Diane Altomere’s new book Clarity, and it inspired this short essay on the exhausting, perfectionistic belief that we need to read other people’s minds and anticipate their every need. (Again, I’m not an affiliate for Clarity, just an interested reader.)
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