Sometimes having the answers isn’t the answer.

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Why is there evil in the world if God is good? Some of humanity’s oldest literature (see the biblical book of Job) centers around this question, and it hasn’t stopped there. There are tomes and tomes of theology available from across human history with complex and beautiful answers. For me, answering the question is more dangerous than letting it be.

I stopped paying attention to truth and focusing more on function when my belief in God made me suicidal. I was in college, grieving a spiritually abusive experience and feeling guilty for it. The things that were supposed to make…

And that’s a problem.

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Unlike many people, shelter-in-place orders did not dramatically change my life. I was already living at home, unemployed. I had recently left a job that was draining my soul and was in a transition period.

Leaving my job was sudden and surprising, but the worst part for my mental health was that my spouse was unexpectedly unemployed with me. We thought the transition would be smoother. We thought there was enough time for him to land something in a new city before I stopped working. …

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Here’s why I’m not doing that as a life coach.

I should start by saying that I know many pastors who use their “normal” Facebook profile as their pastor Facebook profile. It works well for living in that weird professional/personal mesh of life that pastoring requires.

I was too anxious for that. I am an agnostic — leaning more atheist by the day. While I was able to acknowledge the need for wounded healers in the church, I knew that might not be the case for all of my congregants. I was afraid of upsetting them.

I liked to think I believed in efficiency. Causing unnecessary anxiety makes it harder…

5 things I learned while most of us were panicking

Be Nourished, founded by Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant, offers workshops, retreats, and e-courses for anyone interested in re-establishing trust with their bodies. In their words

“Be Nourished is founded on the idea that we are all born feeling at home in our bodies with remarkable instincts to trust and care for them. Body Trust® is a birthright. Our passion is helping people create lives that are body-compassionate, honor our instincts, rhythms, and intuition, and move towards a liberatory and trusting way to be in their bodies and with themselves.”

Science says, yes.

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I wrote my first sermon as an atheist. I had chosen to be involved in a church internship out of habit — even after changing my thinking patterns to exclude the word “God” as I recovered from spiritual abuse.

The cognitive dissonance of writing a sermon for a group of people who supposedly did believe in God bothered me to the point of seeking out a spiritual experience to clear my mind — I grew up conservative evangelical. Old habits die hard.

I knew that spiritual experiences made me vulnerable to religious manipulation, which was why I had ousted God…

Talking about healing can be a minefield for recovering people-pleasers.

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“Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility
Brianna Wiest

“An unhealed person can find offense in pretty much anything someone does. A healed person understands that the actions of others has (sic) nothing to do with them. Each day you will get to decide which one you will be.” — unknown

I’ve been noticing myself react to statements about healing lately. Part of that is because right now I am seeking healing from extended emotional abuse via toxic Christian theology and learning to manage my fawning trauma response to it. …

They taught me to fear myself and my thoughts.
They taught me to laugh at people who told me
to look for the truth inside myself.
They said I would deceive myself.

You can’t find the truth inside you
until Jesus lives there.

Stop navel-gazing and read the Bible.

Some people just want to feel good
to the point of sacrificing Truth
in the process.

Then, during a conversation with my pastor when I was 17, I found myself crying uncontrollably while feeling completely blank. I didn’t understand what my body was doing — I was fine. My tears intellectually…

Then my neighbors gave me a reality check.

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I hate wedding dresses. A wedding dress was a destination of dread for me growing up because I knew my body would never “deserve” one. I had diet suggestions from the doctor at 10 for my high cholesterol — a result of seeking comfort from hell-based conversion by bingeing on forbidden foods in secret for breakfast. But even when my cholesterol went down, I wasn’t thin.

By 12, I knew I would never be lovable. And I was definitely not relatable when I refused to talk about which boy I wished was…

Christianity needs a remodel if it wants to make space for women.

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I remember the first time I exegeted a text. I was in middle school. My pastor had told my two best friends that women pastors weren’t “biblical.” They were indignant. We needed answers.

1 Timothy 2 contained the biblical passage in question. I can pull that reference from memory even now. It was a shock when I read it the first time. The verses were completely new to me.

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to…

Why stop now?

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I began writing two weeks ago because I was waking up anxious, unable to go back to sleep. Big changes were occurring in my life. I quit the job I dreamed about since I was 9. I’m six months into my first marriage. We’re taking steps to move to a city neither of us have lived in before — I’ve spent a grand total of 24 hours there to date.

But the biggest thing keeping me up was trying to figure out what had happened that was making me feel so terrible. Regularly anxious, aches and pains…

Emily Hedrick

Recovering ex-pastor turned Midwestern life coach. Lover of cheese.

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