The End of a Paradigm

Sandvlei Sunrise

After our move from South Africa to Australia in 2006, it took me about eighteen months to feel ready to start looking around for a counselling course. I still had every intention of becoming a counsellor, writer and giver of talks.  I found one, paid for it in full, but I have not finished it. I don’t know that I ever will. It’s not easy to admit to losing the will to achieve a dream after  a quarter of a century of holding onto it! That is a a large chunk of adult life to let go of.

How much is this situation something I have chosen and how much is fate – something inevitable? I could still go back – complete the course, set up a counselling practice – but to what end, when I have lost the passion? What has changed me in this way? I think the greatest factor is my leaving the church, and working my way out of the thinking patterns that went with it.

That was not easy. When it came to making a final break, I knew it had to be complete. That meant letting go of my idea of God. I was fifteen when I chose take my Christian walk seriously. For over twenty-five years I had had an inner dialogue with the Christian God. I was used to thinking in terms of “them” and “us” – the rest of the world, and then Christians who were my “family”, my brothers and sisters. I had to get beyond the idea of, “what if I died, and they were right, and I found myself outside the love of God?” – my definition of hell.  I coped with this by taking leave of God on the understanding that I trusted His love to accommodate and understand my necessary departure and exploration. He had the means and power to draw me back if necessary. Deed done. What next?

All those years of indoctrination had led me to feel uneasy around people who weren’t Christians. Now I had to let that go. I had no grounds for “them” and “us” any more. Walls had to come down. I had freedom to re-evaluate.  I found myself relishing the depth and colour of their lives now that I no longer judged. I had no idea just how judgemental I had been until I stepped across the line, and viewed the world outside the Christian paradigm. I was free! It was extraordinary. I had to look at how I related to, and perceived myself, as well. Now, instead of being a child in relation to a parental God, I was free to be an adult – totally responsible for myself, my ethics and values. It was both frightening and exhilarating. I was astounded to discover how limited I had been by the parameters of Christianity.

Initially,I also had a huge sense of loss and guilt. There were so many in the church who had been my extended “family”, who had loved, supported, counselled, prayed for and helped me over the years. I knew they would see my departure as a soul lost from the Kingdom of God. l had chosen eternal death rather than life – a terrible tragedy from their perspective. I had dreams where I would find myself outside my church family, and would wake up sobbing deeply. I needed to grieve.  I had a deep sense of needing to be very patient with myself and wait, and I did just that.

Until this point, I had seen God as the source of my calling, and my response had to be an act of obedience to Him. What is more, the relationship with, and obedience to God, was always overshadowed by the threat of utter darkness and separation if I chose anything else. The degree to which this threat had power over me was invisible from within the paradigm, but glaringly obvious from the outside. I realised there would be no going back with my new perspective.

Thorough leaving is deep work – soul work – and the psyche needs time to resolve, heal and adjust. The time spent grieving was also a time of beginning to let go of my previous ideas of what I was called to, though I barely realised it at the time. Without that imperative to be in a helping career as my calling or vocation, that which might have been attached to my old Christian paradigm seems to have crumbled to dust. Now begins the work of rebuilding and discovering the real foundations that outlast old paradigms and carry me forward into new realms.

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~ by Dragonwyst on June 23, 2012.

2 Responses to “The End of a Paradigm”

  1. i truly believe you are pure in heart. i’m seriously glad to know you.

  2. Wy – that is such a lovely thing to say! thank you! I am ever so glad to know you, too.

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