Today’s topic is a deep one for me. I had been sitting on the topic for awhile and didn’t in any way want to step on people’s toes. This past week in conjunction with watching Married at First Sight the Paige and Chris situation. A quote on quote Relationship Guru Derrick Jaxxon was exposed in regard to him cheating on his wife. He then admitted it and revealed his wife to the world for what I believe was the first time. His wife followed up with a video as well speaking out about her feelings and ultimately why she is choosing to stay by her husband side. This open up my fear about speaking out on this topic. Can religion be toxic?
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up Pentecostal and to be more specific Church of God in Christ. Where women are told to not wear pants and wearing makeup is a big no- no. As I went off to college I walked away from the organization and ultimately became non-denominational where I started to learn more about who God is and how to have a relationship with him……and what that really looked like. This has called me to grow and expand in my spirituality and I am grateful for this expansion. Now that I have experienced this enlightenment I did want to touch on a few things.
As a black woman, I have witnessed how organized religion can hold women back. Today I am speaking directly in regard to women because that’s what my church was mostly made up of, plus my family and friends. I believe in faith and prayer let me be very clear, however when you see women who never take any type of leaps in life, that walk in a fear based mindset even though it is counter-productive to what is in the bible. That is concerning and alarming!
So, what are you getting at Kendal?
I’ll start with Paige, I think she is a sweet girl, caring and kind. All the qualities that God wants us to show right? Ultimately, she is an example of love. I believe in showing love but not allowing people to walk all over you because you are a good person. I have dated broken man, and despite Chris’s faith he is still broken. What broken people do is attach themselves to you. I call them energy vampires. They suck out of the life (light) in you and then disappear when you no longer can fill them up. One thing I thought was interesting is when Chris told Paige he thought their relationship lacked the spiritual component. He then asked her to lead a bible study, came over and had her lead them in prayer. These are key foundational pieces for me, because he was continuing take from her and have her pour into him. Paige belief on marriage is fair! What scared me as I watched the show is her willingness to continue to try in the name of God, when the fruits of who Chris is didn’t even match up to what he was trying to portray himself to be. I read an interview where she did discuss the lesson, she learned which was her getting ahead of God. I think that is a fair statement. I believe Paige will definitely attract her true purpose mate, she just has to truly know who she is and what she brings to the table. She was affirmed so much by every other man on the show, because her beauty shines from within and when you are that kind of light you can’t attach yourself to just anybody, even if you believe it is God ordained.
Derrick Jaxxon wife video reminded me of a conversation I had with my mom. I said Mom people are walking away from the church because we are told things that are biblical based but teachings lack how to walk it out in real life. If you watch the video, she quoted a lot of scriptures however I feel like I never really understood the message. A lot of times it feels like a weapon, and I don’t mean in the true sense of arming yourself spiritually. For example, she said even though we are in our body, this is a spiritual warfare, this is a true statement! An example of arming yourself spiritually as we know is knowing God’s word. I always use the example of people trying to tear you down, you can’t if I affirming myself in the knowing that I was created in God’s image (if you know who God is then that alone is powerful right) AND that I was fearfully ( great reverence, heartfelt interest with respect) and wonderfully( unique and set apart) made! When you walk in that kind of power and knowing people can try, and I have been tried on many levels to be torn down, but you can’t do it. On the opposite end of this, she quoted a lot of scriptures to defend sticking by her husband that honestly didn’t fit and felt like a defense mechanism. It was honestly very uncomfortable to watch but all too familiar at the same time and that’s my problem.
I feel like growing up I was given the word ultimately with no practical way of doing it. Words are good and powerful, but what does this look like in a day to day life? I don’t think the church meant to be a toxic place, honestly things were probably passed down out of rituals and the concept of “this is the way we have always done things”.
So, what can we do about it?
In order to walk away from anything that is toxic we have to first acknowledge that it is unhealthy and then have a willingness to leave.
How do you know you have experienced toxic faith?
I can only speak on my experience.
- I felt like I lost salvation weekly if I made a mistake.
- Feared hell but didn’t understand the full concept on why I want to go to Heaven
- I felt guilty for not attending church for just one Sunday.
- Feeling like I always have to do something in order to be sanctified enough
- If I don’t pray a certain way, break out and start running, crying, screaming, or speaking in tongues, you don’t know God enough or love God
- Feeling like my family was excluded from many things in the church because my mom wasn’t married but kept having children out of wedlock.
- Didn’t understand the concept of God residing within me because it wasn’t taught which is probably the most toxic thing. When you lack that knowledge you have a tendency for always looking for something on the outside to come and save you which ultimately keeps you in bondage.
As I close out the blog I want to wrap up with the purpose of this message. As a woman of faith and a spiritual person, I believe in having a relationship with God. Within my own experience I have learned that when I silence other noises (tv, music, social media etc.) honestly by meditation I hear from God clearly and often. So, I can’t take away nor negate what God has shown these women in their own experiences. What I can share is that as I listed above how organized religion can be toxic and spirituality can be used to weaponize. I want to encourage my readers today, just don’t be the person using the weapon of religion against yourself! Be honest, do an audit of the things you may or may not have been taught. Remember your relationship with God is a heart matter, not a building nor a denomination. Ask yourself are moving based on your heart and what God has shown you or are you moving in a fear-based system where you are worried about how others will view you? When you have the answer to that question, I believe you will know what direction to take in regard to toxicity and religion.
As Always Readers,
Your Sista on the Sofa,