My wife Cathy and I have worked with quite a few individuals and couples. It is only when they start digging into the soil of their past, get the tools out we provide for them and start digging up the roots, that they can start healing from the inside out. Not addressing the root cause of our issues only leads to manipulation, rebellion, and ultimately spiritual or physical death. Believe me when I tell you that over the last 16+ years I have seen more than my fair share of spiritual death, which has ultimately led to physical death. Some of these were good friends of mine. It is my belief that there are pastors and therapist that look down on us, why? Because we speak truths, we don’t tap dance around with people’s lives and emotions. We tell the truth, not what they want to hear or think they need to hear. For the many that have worked with us, their lives have gotten exponentially better and their lives continue to grow and flourish. For those of them that were afraid to do the work, the consequences have been the same or worse with no growth.
Recently we were going over the S.Y.M.B.I.S. assessment with one of our clients. She was very offended by what the assessment said about her. She just didn’t see it. That night she thought and stewed about all night. The next day she called my wife and talked with her about. By the end of their conversation, she was able to see that the assessment was correct. It was not because my wife told her it was, it was because they conversed about it. Our client was able to speak her truth, and in doing so, my wife was able to ask curious and thought provoking questions. Our job as coaches, mentors, or therapist is not to tell our clients what they need to do, how to think, or what they are doing wrong. Our job is to have empathy, listen with curiosity and ask thought provoking questions. We have had more success this way than I ever thought possible.
At this time, you might be asking yourself, Randy why are you discouraged? That is a very fair question. Let’s look at where my discouragement comes from? It is a residual of my childhood trauma, particularly spiritual abuse. My perpetrator instilled so much self-doubt in me over the years I was abused, yet in one way it pushed me to be very successful. Along with the church that not only knew about the abuse, but did nothing about it and in fact allowed it to continue after they were made aware of it, I felt my life was of no value. I was discouraged at every corner I turned. After seven years of twice a week therapy, surrounding myself with people that believed in me for the past sixteen plus years, my discouragement seemed to disappear. Yes I have endured many disappointments, however I was able to easily overcome them. However, over the last ten years and especially in the last two years I have faced several discouraging situations.
Where have these come from? The first was when I was cut off by the “It Happens to Boys” group I was a part of and help grow. This situation I was able to overcome fairly easily as my mentor and wife had both told me that I had outgrown the group. God was calling me to dive into my foundation, life coaching, and podcasting. What I have discovered over the past several years is that of all the abuse I endured and overcame, spiritual abuse is the hardest to overcome. After thirty-eight years of turning my back on the church, six years into my recovery, I decided it was time to go back to church and let the past hurts of my childhood pastors go. Although I was hesitant, I walked into our church in August of 2012.
Once I felt comfortable, my wife I became of service as greeters for about eight years. Eventually, after discussing it with the lead pastor, we started Celebrate Recovery (CR). We grew slowly over the next 5 years, although it felt as though I was fighting an uphill battle with the pastor and his staff, but Cathy and I kept our heads down and forged forward. Eventually due to circumstances surrounding CR’s methods of operation, and of course the pandemic, we made the decision to shut down CR. Our pastor asked me to write a new curriculum for a Christ centered recovery program, so myself, my wife, and two other couples dove into the process. After about six months of meetings, reviews and edits, we were done.
I called a meeting with our pastor to present the final curriculum to him. The first thing I asked was if he was 100% in with the “New Recovery” curriculum, no holds, all in. His answer was an absolute yes! He elaborated how we would do videos to introduce it. How I would talk from the platform about the new ministry. He said it was going to be a big deal. One thing our pastor loves to do is exaggerate everything as being grandiose. One thing I have learned is that I must have a complete plan before I present anything to anyone, including the pastor. What this meant was that that I had a few things I still needed to do prior to launching the new recovery curriculum. These additional task were going to involve the creative team. When I approached the creative team to get the process started, I was told they did not know anything about it and that they didn’t have time for me. When it came down to it, our pastor was no where to be found to help and make it happen. Again the pastor had lied to me, creating this hurt and disappointment I was feeling, much like my pastor of my old church had also done. He had no intentions of going through with the new recovery curriculum. Yet another lie and disappointment brought on by a “supposed great leader” of a church. More spiritual hurt and abuse again.
There had been several times over the ten years I was at our church that I wanted to leave. I saw to many things that were not adding up and heard to many lies come out of pastors and leaders mouths, however God would not let me go. He had me planted us there for a reason. So, it finally came down to me calling out the pastor on his terrible leadership skills. A note here, I had had several conversations with him, all of which only led to let downs and disappointments. So, I knew talking with him again would prove to be unfruitful. Everything I had discerned, everything God had revealed to me about the pastor had come true. No more recovery talk, no more leadership roles, no more speaking from the platform.
Once again the church along with several pastors and leaders have shown their true colors to me, and it hurt like hell. I speak the truth and people for the most part hate when the truth is spoken. The truth hurts, that pain is what leads us to healing if we so choose to accept it. At a young age I had my truth robbed from me by an abusive stepfather, mother, and pastors. My truth will no longer be silenced. That is why I’m writing this. It is not to destroy anybody, it’s to set me free. For about six months I have been holding onto this crap in my head and heart. I no longer want any part of this hurt and disappointment. It is destroying my spirit in the same way my abusers, as a teenager destroyed my spirit. Remember, we have choices, I chose to remove myself from yet another toxic environment, which unfortunately was the church.
Today I am choosing to let my disappointment and discouragement go. It is getting in the way of what God has called me to do and I have no room for it. I’ll give all this to God and let him handle it. The church, pastors, and leaders have done me wrong, however God has always had me in the palm of his hands. He has always been there for me when I have called out to him. As one of my mentors once told me, Randy, God has not brought you this far to drop you on your head and abandon you. So onward and upward with God leading the way.