Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Breaking rules....

When I finally made the decision to step back from church, it was suggested by a friend to read about the Desert Fathers. 

I still had no idea why the need to step back was so great.... it was one of those things that just had to be done.  The desire was so strong that it felt like if I did not get out of the water - I was going to drown.

It took a month of being away from church to finally start reading "The Desert Fathers; Sayings of the Early Christian Monks," Translated and with an Introduction by Benedicta Ward. 

Several sentences from Sister Ward's introduction really stood out.  When describing one of the driving forces behind the early Christian Monks, she wrote, "Instead of dealing with the manifestations of evil in daily life, they were concerned with the source of sin in the human heart." She further wrote, "The desert fathers see themselves as poor men, as sinners in need of mercy, as those who were not strong enough to endure the friction of worldly life." 

Drowning in worldly life. 

In my depressed state of mind...."not strong enough to endure the friction of wordly life" summed it up perfectly. I can identify with the desert fathers.... especially wanting to get away from it all.

Then after the introduction, I got lost.  The excitement fizzled out.  

Their writings came across to me as rules...  

Let me clarify - I am not saying they were rules, but in my state of mind... I was reading rules.  

You see.....  my whole life I have tried (and failed miserably) to live up to other people's expectations... 

Okay - let me re-word that. My whole life I have tried (and failed miserably) to live up to what I (only me) thought were other people's expectations.  

You know.....do not want to disappoint anyone, do and say all the right things.  

If I follow all the rules I will be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, employee, friend.  Just follow all my rules and there will be acceptance, love.... perfection. 

All I got was just a bunch of self-esteem issues. Inner voices confirming I had it all wrong... all wrong.  More mental beatings.  

That is where the depression came in...  the need to step back. Everything was too overwhelming!  Exhausting. Broken.  

Thankfully, this is the exact opposite of what the Holy Spirit guided me to teach in Sunday School and to my own children...  

No - this was all in my head...  all inside of me.    

Tonight, I listened to an interview of Anne Lamott and Father Tom Weston.  Watch and listen here  

I did not hear rules.

I am paraphrasing Anne Lamott: When we are young, we know more than we will ever know. But when we get a little older and life smacks you around - you know less and less.   

I know less and less...  

So instead of Desert Fathers.... I am going to re-read Spirituality of Imperfection.  It has been a few years.... but definitely need to read it again. 

Then I am going to forgive myself and begin to learn to: 

give up perceived expectations,

let go of the concept of perfection, 

setting up healthy boundaries, and

say that one word sentence:  "No".  

I have the desert fathers' weakness which is not a bad thing - not a bad thing at all.... 

But rules are not for me right now...  

I want to break some rules.... my own rules....

and get back to Grace.    



  1. I needed to hear this today. Blessings to you on your journey back to Grace--you will get there.

    1. Thank you Shari for the encouragement and blessings. And I am honored that God used me to bless you too! Take care


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