In 2007, I hit a rough patch. Coming out of one bad relationship and carrying that baggage into the next finally took it’s toll. I didn’t see the trail of destruction I was leaving behind me.
Every woman I was involved with sexually after my first relationship during my bachelor years wanted to be closer than I did. Looking back, it seems many of them would’ve been good for me but with one, it was evident that I wasn’t good for her or anyone else.
As messed up as I was, I had gotten married and way too soon. The marriage was short and ended abruptly(for reasons already stated). I wound up in a situation where I was living out of my car for months and working two jobs at one point.
Even at that lowest state, I was still messing around with different women.
I broke my marriage.
Before I go further, I feel the need to tell this part of my journey in short. I debated about it with myself and decided that it was worth telling.
I met this woman on a chat line sometime after my relationship with the Native American woman I spoke about in another post. Once again, it was at a time when I was getting that “itch”. My pattern was: the only time I start looking for women is when I’m compromising somewhere in my Faith. There’s more to say about that later but I’ll continue.
Things started out good as most relationships do. I called her everyday and we spent quality time together. We began being intimate early. She was also the first woman I introduced to my family since my first relationship. So, in my mind, I was serious about her. I do remember her not being ready to meet my family but I urged her against her will. I was wrong for that.
Soon, we were spending the night at each others’ places. I can’t exactly remember when things started to go wrong but I remember an instance where I must’ve made a big deal over something and she was balling her eyes out. I remember leaving her house and she was crying after me barefoot in the rain while I drove off.
We never had a situation where I acted out of jealousy but I was jealous. I learned to be that way after my ex’s example, I think. I remember not liking it when she talked about her former boyfriends. They seemed to be good guys and obviously better than me.
I also learned insecurity, apathy, distrust,…etc. These things did manifest in that relationship. I remember times where I was verbally abusive during arguments. I didn’t know the different forms of verbal abuse then. I wasn’t cussing her out or calling her names. It was more like what I said mattered more than what she said. I blew up over things that didn’t warrant it.
I didn’t know how to treat her. I don’t remember when or how but at some point I proposed to her and to her fault, she accepted. I also remember at some point getting her to convert to Christianity. She bought herself a Bible and went to Church without me. I can’t recall going to Church together at any time. It wasn’t until after the marriage that I learned she would go to my parents’ house and talk about God with my mom.
Faith didn’t help.
Her coming into the Faith with me changed nothing. At least, it didn’t change me. Her family was educated. She, her two sisters, and her mother are all college grads. Her mother had events throughout the year that my ex wife would attend long before I met her. Let’s just say that I ruined the experience every time I would attend with her. There was one event where they had music and dancing. She was looking forward to that part. I don’t remember how I ruined it but I do remember the sadness on her face and in her eyes to the point others could see it. She fought back tears on the way home.
Our relationship was very dysfunctional. During the whole planning stage of the marriage, I was not involved. The only thing I did was buy her ring. Before meeting her, I got caught up in gambling at the casino. I was still going after meeting her. I almost gambled our honeymoon money away the night before but got “lucky” somehow.
I was so depraved inwardly that the actual wedding day felt like just another day to me. It didn’t feel special to me at all like it should’ve. My heart was so hardened. My guards were up against someone who had no intention on harming me.
You know, after we said our vows and took a few pictures, we didn’t even stay around to enjoy the celebration with our families. As beautiful as she looked in her beautiful dress, neither of us were happy. The night of the honeymoon was just quiet and unmemorable.
It came to an end.
Eventually, we bought a house together. Sadly, I didn’t make it easy for us. I was as hands off with that as with the planning of the marriage. The house we lived in was only two years old. The previous couple divorced and sold it. Which that could’ve been seen as an omen.
The problems that I pretty much caused got worse. It was to the point where we were sleeping in different rooms. She even took a trip across the country just to get a break from me. I never called her. The one time she called me ended with her in tears.
She did try to work with me at one point. We planned a dinner where we were going to talk and reconcile. She made my favorite meal. That night, I was a no-show. I went to the casino.
Looking back, I was depressed, stressed out, and full of anxiety. My Faith played a big part in that. I was used to being alone and having no one to share my faith with. I went through my ups and downs alone. I couldn’t deal with myself and be what she needed at the same time. I was too selfish to share my inner world with her.
I think we only had sex one time after moving into that house. I ended up cheating on her with a co-worker who I continued sleeping with off and on after the marriage was over. That woman wasn’t single at any time we dealt with each other. That wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back but it definitely sealed the death of the marriage. I remember thinking God was going strike me down for cheating. But being so depressed and dead inside, I didn’t even care.
Why did I divulge this?
It did not matter how much I read the Bible or prayed. It didn’t matter how much I prayed for change or how long I stayed in prayer. It didn’t matter how faithful I was to God. It didn’t matter how disciplined in my walk that I was. I could agree with everything in the Bible about treating people well.
Still, God couldn’t reach the damaged parts of me. Focusing on being right with him, took the focus off of getting right within myself. I didn’t know how much of a distracting role God played in my life when it came to self-care until after I deconverted.
Thank you for having the patience to let me tell that detail of my life. Now please allow me to continue with the telling of my journey.
I broke up with God.
I was really messed up. There wasn’t a person I could talk to that would understand my pain. I was definitely one of those guys with bottled up emotions who didn’t know how to express what I was feeling. I needed consoling and someone to just lend me a shoulder. I needed a place of solace where I could let go of my burdens for a while. As a Believer, you just turn to God or other believers.
But I wanted God to come meet me where I was and tell me it’s gonna be alright. And maybe give me direction. I pleaded night after night for him to just come and talk to me.
Is that too much to ask?
One night, sitting in my car under the stars and talking to God in my despair, I was feeling hopeless. The God I believed in just didn’t show up for me when I really felt I needed him.
So, looking up with tears in my eyes, I told him I was done with this and I walked away. I invested so much time and energy into my Faith. It really felt like a break up.
I went on an exploration.
Some time before walking away from my Faith, I started looking into the New Age during my first marriage. As a Believer, I wasn’t supposed to be doing that but I was so out of my mind in those days. Depression was ruining me and I just didn’t know how to manage it.
Depression led to overwhelming shame, pushing my then wife away, and isolating myself from everyone. Being irrational led to us sleeping in different rooms when it didn’t make sense. I gave up easily.
I think I turned to the New Age because even as alienated I felt from God, I knew or felt like I needed spirituality. Maybe I was looking for a clearer channel to the Spirit realm.
I remember reading a book by Doreen Virtue. It talked about clairvoyance and clairaudience. It talked about training yourself to see and communicate with spirits. It even talked about automatic writing.
Messing with the occult.
There was one exercise where it taught how to know things without seeing the thing. I put it to practice and to be honest it seemed to had worked.
Towards the end of the book there was a page correlating to an exercise in some other previous chapter. There was a large number on the page(I hope I remember correctly). You weren’t supposed to turn to that page. You had to focus on the page you were on and perceive what number was on the other page.
Well, as I was practicing the technique, a number began to manifest on the page that looked like an eight. Low and behold, I turn to the page in the back of the book to confirm and sure enough it was an eight.
Looking back at that experience now, I don’t credit it to anything supernatural. Today, I have a belief in the potential power of the human mind.
I was still very God-fearing. I had my defenses up when it came to what New Agers appeared to be involved with. I wasn’t comfortable pursuing that avenue of belief. So, eventually I lost interest.
Walking through dry places.
I think what happens with people who are involved with spiritualism for a long time is, if they decide to leave a form of belief, they just switch it out for another; thinking that they have something now that they formerly didn’t.
They can walk away from former beliefs but can’t seem to sever the ties to spiritualism altogether. This is something I noticed down the line towards the end of my journey. It was definitely true of myself.
When I broke up with God, I knew I didn’t want a new religion. Between Islam and Buddhism, both were false to me. So, for some reason I touched on a couple different avenues of the New Age again.
I looked into Yoga and discovered through inquiry that originally it was a from of worship. I tried it but I didn’t have room or time to practice it. I was living in my car. It didn’t feel right to me. Maybe because I didn’t build some sort of foundation around it. It was a short-lived experience.
At the same time, I dabbled with crystals. I started wearing them but not openly. I remember being at a store buying them and some lady kinda looking at me weird like I didn’t look like the type who would be into that kind of thing. She was right, it didn’t take long for me to start feeling silly about it. This too was a short-lived experience.
The prodigal returns.
I don’t remember exactly how but at some point, I repented and came back to my faith. Maybe I was just going back to what was familiar to me.
I already had built years of belief on how I viewed Jesus and the New Age perception of him was so alien to me. Their version of him was so inclusive and open to different expressions of belief.
In the New Age, Jesus isn’t supreme or viewed so much as Lord and God. No, he’s just one of many ascended masters.
The New Age accepts people of all faiths. I’ve met New Age Catholics in the past. I think the New Age is about peace, love, and inner peace with a focus on the higher self or higher conscience.
But I think with any form of spirituality, the are some strange components worth examining and being cautious of.
I guess I just couldn’t find what I was hoping to outside of the biblical worldview. When you’ve been raised in one belief system all your life, it can be very difficult to depart from that. It’s a process. I believed the Bible was true and I wasn’t ready to just wake up one day and say its not.
In late 2007, I moved back in with my parents and spent the next couple years trying to find some stability. My life was just declining slowly at this point. I had to start deciding where I wanted my life to be in the next five to ten years or I wasn’t going to make it.
What about you?
Some people go off and explore other beliefs before settling on one. They may decide to blend beliefs together. Others decide of exploring, that spirituality just isn’t for them.
I also know that people just go along with the belief they were raised with and never venture out.
What was it like for you? What’s been your experience in trying out different forms of spirituality?
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