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A reminder: You do not have to look back.
Wholeness > Holiness. Always.
Tonight I was working on an essay to publish here. It was dour and dire. Then I stopped, taken back by my own gloominess. I remembered that it’s Pride month. I remembered other things I am grateful for in life. And while it does not negate the dire nature we continue to find ourselves in here in America, it gave me enough time to remember something else I had forgotten:
You do not have to look back.
I wrote about this on Twitter just before the 2020 election:
I would later take the entirety of this thread and make one of those purdy Instagram slides out of it:
Here’s the entire thread:
“If you're ex/post-evangelical, you don't need to feel obligated to spend your time looking back to the community you left. You can just look forward. And you don't need my permission or anyone else's to do so.
I look back for any number of reasons: - as a way to signal to others still there that they aren't alone, - as a way to unlearn many things (my whiteness and my other forms of privilege) - as a way to criticize the powerful evangelicals who oppress others in America.
That's not healthy for everyone (it's been unhealthy for me, sometimes). So do what you need. Especially now. Especially always. Wholeness > holiness*. *holiness as we were taught in white evangelicalism as the unachievable purity of body and mind
Always always always choose your own health and safety. The things we were taught conditioned us to second guess our own coping mechanisms. "I didn't trust myself to not be taken captive, I couldn't hear my heart saying: Oh please, get me outta here."
None of this is to say you can't or shouldn't look back, but more to remove any sense of obligation. Whatever keeps you from becoming stagnant.
We were told we were given streams of living water but we were really given a shallow puddle of muddy water, separated from the stream. Streams of living water change. They retain their essence, too. They replenish.
Find your stream.”
The White Christian nationalist agenda championed by many white evangelicals continues to advance. It can be discouraging, to put it lightly, and very heavy for those of us who came from those environments. The emotions these events kick up are complex and can trigger unpleasant memories, or even make us feel a sense of homesickness for the pleasant ones we had.
But we don’t have to look back. If that leads to wallowing or some other unhealthy mental patterns, free yourself from that perceived obligation. Do not forget to find hope and joy where you can.