Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light - Brene Brown
It was a friend who whispered in my ear the idea of The Rebel Diaries.
I was talking with her about the emails and response I received from sharing a piece of my story when I said, "hearing these stories makes me even more upset - it shouldn't be this way. And it's not an anger at the shared connection - it's that there are so many of us hurting."
A few days later, I was accused of linking complementarian ideology with rape. I engaged in discussion, quietly interrupting his assumption with as much dignity as I could muster (because really? that's a heavy weight to place on someone).
"I don't want to hear why you're right." I said. "I want to know your story. It's my belief that story will be the avenue in which the Church is healed - not infighting."
There's something holy in opening up our mouths and inviting others to listen to pieces of who we are and where we've been, what we've experienced. It's a duality.
I am worthy of sharing this with you.
You are worthy of listening to what hurts me.
You are worthy of my time.
I am worthy of sharing this moment with you.
And suddenly, without anyone even trying, commonality appears. Ideology and beliefs aside, our humanity is restored.
So when my friend approached me about opening up this space for stories during next week's Spiritual Abuse Awareness week, I jumped at the chance. This isn't about proving who's right. This isn't about grabbing people by the chin and forcing our hand.
It's an invitation to the table.
Church - we're missing it. On so many levels, we're forgetting there are souls here, not just emotions and intellect. Hear me: churches should not be a place in which people are afraid of showing up and receiving hate. We're buying into the belief that we can determine where God is and where He isn't and thumbing our noses at those who seem amiss. It's wrong. And it's time to listen. All of us.
If you want to submit a story, I would love to have you.
What is your story? Share your experience — showing the details without going into specifics about places or people involved. What made the environment spiritually abusive? Was it language, unspoken social codes, beliefs, assumptions, expectations? How did these factors enable the abuse? How did you eventually leave, and why?
Send me an email and let me know whether or not you want your name attached. Next week, this space will be dedicated to you and it will be a safe space to spill your words. Join us?