Times A’Changing

During the errands we ran yesterday, hubby and I were talking about the content of my last post, about why I’m attending worship when it triggers the heaviness of soul, guilt, sadness, and depression. It affects him, I know that, because that’s what happens in marriage. What one feels and thinks and does affects the other partner directly so that they feel what you’re feeling, only magnified.

Symbols I'm Pondering: Something so painful hitting the center of your soul

I had a chance to hear his position on why it’s a bad idea to go to church, because he cares about me and the pain it causes me. I tried to argue that it is something I need to process, yet he reminded me about how much time it takes to process this completely and how slowly, naturally, it takes to move through it.

“What gets triggered is more than what you can process. It’s a slow process and you’re doing the work. But going to church is more than you can bear. The benefits are not outweighing the risks when you get triggered so much.”

And so I’m making the hard decision not to go to church for an undetermined amount of time, perhaps 6 months to a year. Until something significant shifts and I find it more joyful and uplifting to my spirit than painful and triggering. I don’t know what will replace worship as a practice that might offer spiritual nourishment the way I hoped worship and fellowship would. I’ve thought of meeting with a pastor and spiritual direction.Β I’m open to other suggestions!

19 responses to “Times A’Changing

  1. My heart aches for you. I think I get it to a degree (but not fully since I’m not in your shoes.) I wonder if at some future time you might ease back into worshiping in community by exploring traditions that are not so familiar and loaded for you. I pray that this will be a healing time and a time of connecting with those who bring life and hope. I think spiritual direction could be a good bridge. Praying peace for you.

    • Thank you for the prayers! I think I’ll pray with the Virtual Abbey since its form is so different it doesn’t trigger me. I’ve been in direction for the past 11 years except for recently when it had been too much. I’ll give it a try again but I’m willing to walk away if it’s too much too.

  2. Teressa Morris

    Deb –
    Art and I have taken the past 5 months “off” of church. It has been a good experience after some of the problems we were having and now we are actually looking forward to going back! We have continued our daily devotions and I have found a few online Bible Studies – also “checked in” for special non-Sunday services that were more meditative – if you think you could handle something like that. You may find that once you are away from it for a little while it is easier to go back.

    • Thanks for the comment, Teressa, and for sharing your story! I’ve been hearing from folks who have taken a sabbatical and found sustenance in other ways, other practices of the faith. They say it has been enriching. I’m glad to hear that it was for you and Art too.

  3. what about a bible study group? or a faith based support group along with nami each week? im looking for the same type of thing…i would be more than willing to try things out with you…if you would like.

  4. Perhaps a more nontraditional setting. Taize? Meditation? Something less ‘church’ might be less of a trigger but still provide you with spiritual connection. Praying you find a good fit.

    • Non/Un-traditional is what I’m wondering too. I’m concerned that all worship services are causing the same pain. Though I love Taize, I think it will trigger me (was the service that opened up spiritual mania right before collapse last year). A silent Friends meeting – maybe?

  5. Hubby is wise. Let yourself rest for a while. While a faith community is important, you can worship as an individual or as a couple. The great part is you get to set the order of service! And the music! And everything else. It might be an enriching experience.

  6. Deb, all your friends are dishing out good ideas. I don’t know if this one fits your needs, but as I read your postings I can’t help wondering if some type of grief-support group might be helpful? I can’t speak to how the bi-polar issues may influence your grief (inflate it or slow down that particular process), but I know that your loss of ministry is like a death to you. You are in my prayers everyday – and many of those prayers are gratitude for your openess and sharing about your journey through this. God bless!

    • Thank you so much for your prayers! A grief group is also a good idea. I’ve been processing it with the in- and outpatient groups I’ve been a part of, and with my therapist, even with my support group a few times. I keep trying to find solace and grace. Thanks for being a part of that process!

  7. chrissy tobias

    also…. while “church” is a building on Sunday mornings where you go….and where you have been recently triggered…. THE church…. is not confined to a building…. it is all around you….I firmly believe you will be diving further into your faith life just in different forms, and from different directions over this long haul journey of recovery. I know this journey…. you know that…. having a mental illness is not easy… I don’t have the same diagnosis as you, but Borderline personality disorder has similarities to BP, and of course the depression and anxiety are the same diagnosis…. but just because you aren’t present in the church building… doesn’t mean you aren’t present at church. God with with you on this journey, He is carrying you, holding you gently, and wiping your tears, and everything else. But you know that already. You have what it takes, I’m here for ya…. I’ll look around for some faith based support groups, and you look too…we are bound to find something!
    Joshua 1:9 always πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Chrissy. I have always found God so profoundly present in my life and in the life of the church when in worship with other people. I find God profoundly in other ways, but worship is one of the main ones. So giving this up for a while is taking away one of the big supports I’ve had in my faith life. Though it hasn’t been a support recently cuz of the triggers. So, I’m hoping that I’ll find faith support in other ways during this sabbatical from worship.

      • chrissy tobias

        I completely get that….the congregational worship experience is something I too find to be precious and a “lifter upper” to my week….when I can get myself to go….I understand not being able to. It is hard to go and feel numb in a place where I/you have once felt so alive and joyful. The other supports are out there somewhere….it’s a matter of finding them…. not to minimize or invalidate at all… it’s not going to be easy….but it indeed it possible! πŸ™‚

  8. I know that you’re struggling and pray that these stirrings will lead you in a healing direction. I promise to continue to keep praying for you and with you and will be standing close by for any need with which I can be helpful. Much love.

    • Thank you so much, dear friend. You’ve been so giving and offered so much – I don’t know how to repay. Thank you for the continued prayers and support!

  9. So glad you and hubby are able to talk this out…is he missing church? I think my main questions are simply what about “church” do you long for? the community? the presence of God? something else? Where are those other things?

    I know so many people who reject church/organized religion and replace it with so many other things in life…kind of ironic we’re all brainstorming on how clergy can do the same thing! πŸ™‚ I like it.

    • Yes! to all of those – community, presence of God, feeling of being part of something bigger (a church moving out together in mission, nurtured by worship) – that’s the mystical feeling of church that feeds me. What will replace it? That’s the question of the hour! Thanks for all your love and prayers!

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