If you’ve known me for a while, you may or may not have noticed that my language has shifted. I’ve drastically cut back on the “religious” language that I use. This is completely intentional. It is part of my healing. It is part of my attempts at sobriety from religious addiction and trauma. Our subcultures and super-sub-subcultures have got to change. We’re going around in circles talking about things we don’t even mean nor do we know how to say what we mean. We’re padding ourselves with religious bubble-wrap and cushioning, to keep ourselves safe. Hashtag blessed (hear the sarcasm?) From what exactly? From people who are different than us?
The language we use is very telling; and, very important. Pointed, jagged, sharp, loaded and painful, hurtful words can sound like this:
submit, obey, character, trust, faith, choice, direction, death, self, die-to-self, surrender, sacrifice.
Here’s an example: “Your character needs to grow/change/improve.”
And slowly the word “character” digs sharper and sharper into my chest like a dagger. It sounds more like this. “We don’t like you the way you are. You need to be better. You don’t look like / operate like/ conform like us.” What is this, the survival of the fittest, most ultra spiritual person?
“You need to trust God.” or the accusatory, “You don’t trust God.”
Loaded. Bang. Bang. Do you hear it?
Oftentimes it becomes necessary and healthy to take a step back from the thorns that have entangled the true and good meaning of these words, and look again with fresh eyes at their true meaning and remove the religious stigma and legalism, and religious and spiritual addiction and spiritual manipulation, abuse and triggers.
Faith and trust can become gentle, and even trustworthy again.
A deeper listening and mindful awareness of the power of control, self-control and free will. The will to make decisions and power to consent.
Bodies and hearts are good. Intuition and wisdom are good. Paying attention, being aware and mindful of what’s going on inside your body and outside and noticing how your body is reacting or responding to various stimuli.
We don’t have to embed religious language into everything we do in order to “redeem” it. In fact, it can be quite dangerous, and unhealthy. Because you stop thinking for yourself (with your God-given brain) and you become a religious parrot, which we are not called to be. Our uniqueness and diversity is to be celebrated. You are a poem, did you know that? Our unique gifts and abilities; gifted to each one.
I dare you. Pay attention to your language. Use your thesaurus and your own words. It takes practice and it will take time. This is so important.
Not only are others desperate for this fresh, raw language, many of us on the fringes are in need of words that don’t hurt and burn and scar and wound and push us farther away.