“Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.”
― Richard Rohr
I don’t think beat up, broken, and shameful humans were ever God’s intention for us. But we can so often over-correct when we search our own hearts for wayward ways. We magnify God’s judgement, and forget about God’s grace.
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
I think we all agree it’s harmful to throw stones at others for their flaws. And we have no right to say we have the perfect standard to measure them against. But as a therapist, I think that we can have a part of us that holds the “perfect standard” and we measure ourselves, our behaviors, our beliefs against that perfect standard. We’re casting stones at ourselves. If we can’t hold others to that standard, why do we hold ourselves to that standard?
I believe we can embrace our doubt and our belief, our devoutness and our relativism, our woundedness with the church and our healing experiences with God. If we can hold all of these together we’re practicing grace. To put it in psychological terms, we developing a more flexible view of ourselves and the world, which is always healthier than shame and self-judgement.
All of this I have seen first hand in my own faith. I have, and still do, grapple with deep doubt. I have experienced spiritual wounding from leaders I believed in. I am still reconciling my past experiences in God with my concept of God now. From that place of understanding, I work to bring the spiritual life and psychology together in my approach to therapy.
Many of the concerns my clients have:
- Processing deconstructing their faith
- Over-moralizing their choices
- Unable to let go of failures- even as they are trying to embrace more freedom
- A harsh inner critic
- Shame about the decisions they have made because they differ from what they were taught growing up
- Wanting clarity on what to throw out and what to hold onto, when it comes to their faith
- Confusing about their past experience with God which may or may not align with current their beliefs
- Wanting to embrace freedom without judgement of yourself
- Feeling confident about choices around naysayers
- Learning to embrace and integrate their faith now