Church Girl Shame/Shade and Cliques
I have wrestled for about 6 months on writing this. I have even been concerned about how it will be perceived but God is pulling so strongly at my heart. This isn't one of those "oh I've been hurt" so let me shade those who hurt me type of post! This is a "God I'm hurting" so let me get this out type of post. So here we go... I have grown up in a generation and time where not only the world around us has changed daily but church/ministry as well. Everywhere you turn or look on social media, church, conferences everyone has a ministry/brand now. Ministry has almost become somewhat of like a trend and a fashion statement. Now I'm not knocking the tshirts, jewelry etc I'm just wondering if everyone is legit about it or simply following a pattern! I left PP and the movement for so many reasons that I wasn't comfortable sharing at the time.
I was in the beginning stages and thick of the "purity" movement, I saw something God given and so beautiful become warped and altered. I saw purity become a contest, a brand and I watched people shame others for not jumping on the wagon. I grew up in church and while most would consider me to be a church girl I can't really say I identify with "church girls." Growing up I secluded myself from church and people many times, so much so that I had years where I questioned if God was even real. In my young adult life I learned that I could have a relationship with God minus church traditions and people pleasing which was all I needed to grow in my walk. When I was about 24 the whole purity movement started and I was new in my walk with Christ and celibacy so it was a beautiful thing to be surrounded by other women who had the same struggles. We had conferences, get togethers, real life community and relationships. I watched other movements that were similar from afar come and go while telling myself I will always be safe in my "circle" of friends/connections. While many of my friendships were genuine it is in a conference setting or group setting with women where the "cliquishness" can be created. This isn't just in church, as women we have sensed it and seen it our entire lives! You experienced it first as early as elementary with the "you can't play with us" girls on the playground or when your friend acted different around her new friends. I was always the girl who reached out to the loner, the overlooked kid on the playground and I wasn't the loner until I got in middle school/high school.
It's my nature to reach out to the underdog, the overlooked and to go against the grain of the mean girl mentality so when I became a young woman in ministry and life it was my goal to be the "open arms!" I found solace in opening up my home, serving meals and even being a listening ear via the phone, social media inbox and even my couch became somewhat of a therapy place where friends would come by just to vent. It didn't matter that I was struggling, broken or stumbling in my own walk or neglecting my own emotions. I watched many succeed in areas I only dreamed of, I can't say that I neccessarily wanted a relationship or even marriage at that point because I had suppressed so many emotions just to keep myself going daily. I found myself looking down on those that struggled, I found myself judging the girls who fell from so called grace and becoming everything I NEVER wanted to be!
When I left my job to write a book that the lord had given me I found myself spiraling into a series of events, misfortunes and I felt myself coming back to myself so to speak. I began to hate Saturday meetings that I once loved, community and fellowship that I once looked forward to because I was in a place of discontentment! It didn't help that my leaders were constantly telling people to be content while succeeding flawlessly (or appearing to succeed flawlessly) and I was angry. At first my anger and resentment was towards them but after that cooled off it was at God. Now I understand that we should never place our focus or hope in people but that's easier said than done for young girls or young women who may or may not come from broken homes and different life scenarios. Nobody taught me how to handle the pressure, the pain and there was nobody to answer my questions about these emotions! I was taught during this time period to go to the bible and I did but I wasn't taught how to handle these feelings in a practical way because no matter how I tried to suppress my desires being directed to a series of scriptures just was not what I needed. I didn't need another modesty seminar telling me not to wear this or that because it would tempt a man when in all honesty men need to be taught how to control their own hormones. I didn't need another message or lesson telling me that I was dirty for having human thoughts and emotions! And I didn't need to be shamed, made to feel like I was constantly working to please God or sit around daily feeling like I wasn't good enough. I was just going through a really hard time in my life where I didn't need to be shamed in my walk with Christ. So I stepped down from leading a purity group, I left the ministry altogether QUIETLY and I said nothing because it's not in me to share the painful details of my entire life. I think that I became secluded, withdrawn during this time because everything I thought I knew was crumbling before me and everything came to a head when my sister (blood sister) was blocked and shunned via social media. We had labored in our chapter and city, been a part of this ministry from day one and to be exiled with no explanation was devastating. I felt like it had been done to me BECAUSE that's my sister, not my play sister but my blood so I didn't have a choice nor did I want to be a part of something that was hurting so many around me. I was watching people I personally knew "quietly" leave as well and asking God for clarity.
Now I didn't write this to create a mean girls club against HL or anybody even though I felt like that's what was given out. This past year I felt a shift, that security blanket and safeness I felt within a community was snatched from me. I didn't involve myself in the blogs about cults etc but I identified with the feeling of rejection and isolation which are cult like behaviors! And anyone who has ever been in a cult or initiated one will tell you "it didn't start off this way." We have to be so careful not just when in ministry but life on how we instruct, lead and guide people. By nature I march to the beat of my own drum, I'm the oldest of 3 so you could say I'm a leader in ways. I'm very much in touch with my emotions, I discern more deeply than some and I had to "remove" myself. I was never blocked, deleted or pushed away but so many that I love were. My sister being blocked was the straw that broke the camels back, I couldn't stand by and pretend like I wasn't hurt because that directly impacted me. I feel that in the body of Christ we cannot defend throwing our brothers and sisters away just because we disagree. It wasn't even a biblical disagreement but a political one so everything in my spirit said it's time to move on.
I had NOTHING left spiritually, everything I was taught or thought I knew was now questionable, I was already in a season of deep depression so I felt like I literally had nothing. One of the good things about the ministry was that I was taught how to seek God for myself! I won't ever say that there weren't good aspects or good things that I was taught. I learned how to quietly spend time with God daily, how to worship outside of a church except this time it wasn't just for a social media post or like. I found myself crying out to God on this deep loss I felt because when you leave or disconnect from a community of so called like minded individuals it can be heart breaking. I was alone so I thought until I started reading others posts, blogs who had experienced the same type of hurt. I've literally said nothing on social media about walking away until recently and even then I'm still respectful to other people's feelings. I have friends who are still involved so to verbally tear down something that was so critical in my early walk feels odd to me. I want to start a series here though about church hurt/ministry hurt and how we can overcome it together! So many of you who read my post are experiencing the exact same thing at the moment so we can heal together. I can't eliminate the cliques but what I can do is refuse to be apart of them! I can choose to not sit by and watch the body be destroyed by locking myself away and just praying. I want that interaction with my friends and sisters back! It's not about clothing, appearances or how long you've worn a purity ring but about relationship. Let's keep the conversation going!- CDJ❤️