I’ve had many different thoughts go through my mind this week. Different subject’s, different experiences, and how different my life has been since leaving Mormonism. I kept coming back to same thing. It’s so easy to stay in a situation, or in a life you don’t like, or that doesn’t make us happy, because we’re scared of the unknown or because it takes too much effort to get out of it.
Growing up, I lived with the mentality that one of the most important things is what other people thought. I had to live with the ongoing belief of, “what will people think”. In a town, predominantly LDS, it still can be a struggle. I always felt that people were judging me, pointing out the things that I did wrong, and in many ways waiting for me to fail. I feel like this is still the mentality of the town I live in, but my mentality has changed.
I remember when Brian and I had taken out our temple endowments, and after we left the temple that afternoon, we talked about the things we experienced. I think we both knew then we would never go back, and yet, for several years after that we pretended to be a part of that world. Yet, in the back of our minds, at least, in the back of mine I knew something just wasn’t right about it and that I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. But how do you walk away from everything you’ve ever known? It’s so easy to justify things that are wrong when you want to stay where you’re at or when you’re too fearful of the unknown and don’t know where to go. There is a Ted Talk I once watched and have used with my clients called the Honest Liars. It talks about the lies we tell ourselves every day to justify the things we do. I encourage you to watch it. I learn something every time.
I think Brian and I lived in and participated in that world for so long that we didn’t really question it because we didn’t know anything else and we were scared of the alternative. Comfort zones are kind of a catch-22. It’s not a bad thing to be in a spot where you’re content, happy, and everything’s going okay. The problem is that you can’t grow there, you aren’t challenged. You become stagnant and just go with the flow because it’s easier. It makes me think of the quote, “even a dead fish can swim downstream”. It was easy to justify some of the things we experienced because that was easier than facing the truth.
But even after we quit the Mormon Church, I still identified as Mormon on a regular basis. Every time I went into the hospital to have one of my kids and I was asked to identify my religious affiliation on paperwork or anything, I would put LDS. I didn’t necessarily live by their standards or attend regularly, but that was my identity, my culture, it’s who I was, or so I thought. I was still in a place where being a Mormon was part of my identity because that’s how I was raised and I didn’t know anything else was out there.
I often say that Brian and I went through the difficult time in our life because it was the only way that God could get our attention. I think we were so caught up in just living life, a life of self-deception because it was easy. We were going through the motions and just living our life, we were stagnant. We didn’t know that we needed something different. It was easy to lie to ourselves. Easy to justify and conform to what everyone else around us was doing. I didn’t want to stand out, to be different, after all, what would people think? We didn’t know that God was missing from our lives.
But when God revealed Himself to us, He did it in a BIG way. God came into our lives and immediately began healing years of damage. He took away the negative self-talk that I struggled with my whole life. For the first time ever, I began to believe that I was good enough. I didn’t need to please anyone. And one of the biggest things He did was begin to heal our very broken and damaged marriage. For the first time in my life, I began to be honest with myself. I didn’t like the belief system I grew up in. I didn’t like trying to fit into someone else’s view of how I was supposed to live my life. I did like this new God I had been introduced to. A God who created me to be exactly who I was. He created me with the good, bad, and ugly of who I was. He wanted me to be me. And as I grew in my knowledge of Him, the bad and ugly started to become good too. The things I hated most about myself, I began to love. The things that I was taught to hide from others I began to embrace. I was learning to love God and love myself.
Self-deception is easy. Going with the flow is simple. Floating downstream is effortless. Lying to yourself and justifying things you don’t like or agree with is easier than change. Questioning, discovering, letting go and finding yourself, that, is hard. Being honest with yourself, that’s one of the most difficult things to do in your life.
I know the closer I am to God, the more I focus on His Word, the more honest I am with myself. I’m still an honest liar. I think it is a part of life. But I think the more you start to reconcile the big questions and struggles in your life, the easier it is to be honest with yourself. If you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone, that is when you grow the most. A comfort zone is where dreams are just dreams and everything seems impossible. When you look outside your comfort zone, dreams become reality and the impossible becomes possible.
I guess my point this week is, don’t stay in your comfort zone. There is a reason you are having doubts and questions. There is a reason for you feeling uncomfortable. God wants your attention!! Don’t wait until God has to do something big to get your attention.
God is my comfort zone. When I follow him, when I’m in his word, I don’t have opportunity to become stagnant. When I start to get too comfortable, God challenges me and makes me grow. These opportunities make me become a better person. They make me trust more in God and rely on him more than myself.
I’m just a small town girl…living in a world where God is my comfort zone.