“I believe, help my unbelief!”

Hello my lovely Bloggy friends,

I received my online Bible devotional this morning and the title made me to cringe. I have been following this Christian devotional every week day, for some time, and I totally enjoy the messages shared. Thankfully I have been gaining insight from these devotionals long enough to know that this reaction was not something I should be having. I realised that it must be a trigger word that my past experiences have caused within me.

As an Aspie I can take things literally

Only with age, LOTS of thinking and listening through my loops, have I learned that things/people are not always the way they seem. My many loops are constantly questioning and planning…that’s on my good days. On my bad days they are accusing and taunting me with words and memories of those who have not loved or accepted me for who I am.

The title of the devotional is, “Becoming more fruitful.”

Not really something that should make a Christian cringe.

Let me explain my understanding of why this happened.

My first reaction was to close my email and not read it AT ALL.

My heart called out to God with the words,

“Please God I can’t cope with the pain of any more people,

I don’t want to become more fruitful.”

I can giggle about this now but this morning this was very real and all confused in my head. I wasn’t understanding God’s word for me but hearing the words of those in positions of authority from when I was in a religious sect.

I opened up the devotional and read the following

John 15

The Vine and the Branches

 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

   5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

I then pondered on what the Bible says is the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-26

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Then I allowed the replay of my past

I allowed myself to relive this visual, and it really hurt. I relived the interpretation and this time I KNEW it was not the truth. It was just another person following a doctrine that had been given to her from another. I know I also passed this understanding on to those that I believed God had put in my care. This kind of religious belief causes so much confusion, especially to those who are hurting, vulnerable and seeking for truth. Those who want to see good and trust too easily.

When you grow up feeling totally alien and misunderstood

Not knowing why you can’t fit, and not understanding why life is so complicated and people hurt you so deeply all the time. Then someone offers you answers and they seem to know what they are talking about. It is so very easy to just follow.

In this sect I was very good at imitating those in leadership

I believed in my heart that this was my calling. My obsessive Aspie ways and my need to know, pushed me to seek out the best ways to fit, to be accepted in a group of “very happy people.”

Only when it was put on me that I was responsible for the so called “spiritual growth” of those put in my care did I start to retreat/shutdown and eventually meltdown. I suffered total burnout from the constant pretence and plastic smiles.

I am very open and honest by nature, so in this environment I got heavily challenged constantly and rebuked quite often. I have always been a person who wants to please others, so I obeyed and submitted to those I saw as my leaders, I believed they were chosen by God. Also a lot of submission scriptures were twisted to the gain of those who used them.

Being fruitful in this particular church

Meant…You were mature enough spiritually to look after/oversee large amounts of people. You had proven that you could go out and find people who you would convert to this belief. This also meant you were expected to give a daily account for anything you might be doing that doesn’t fit with this particular doctrine, interpretation of scripture. Also give account for those you had in your group.

So I can see a trigger word now…”fruitful”

I wonder how many more there are?

A vulnerable Aspie looking after vulnerable people and being told to push them, using scripture, to be more productive. Eventually when I did snap, when I did refuse to do what I was told to do. I was seen as struggling and weak, rebellious a fall away and my group was distributed to others.

I can see now that this was totally God

At the time though it broke my heart. I went straight to my Bible and really got stuck in.

After studying scripture for myself, not for others. When I was then told what to do I already had my own conviction. The damage was done though because much of the Bible had now got a slant and reading it after leaving this church was impossible. I spent 4 years not being able to read the one book that gives me comfort. It took a lot of prayer and my Mom’s faith, her unconditional love and acceptance to bring me through this and still I would not trust anyone who said they loved God.

In the sect that I was part of, following its teachings. The word fruitful was twisted and used to praise and raise up those who brought great numbers of people to church. We had cranked the streets and been very persuasive in our choice of words. I will say when I was doing this I did believe, whole heartedly, that I was doing God’s work. I totally felt that what I was doing was right and I was helping people. I know that there are some wonderful and very sincere people in these type of sects. However mankind has its tendency to put power where it should not be, and raise up the wrong ideas.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the fruit of the spirit.

They are born in us through acceptance of God’s love, mercy and grace. With these we can share His love and our love with those in our lives. Also we naturally share our faith and love with those who are seeking and listening for Him who brings light into the darkness.

It’s NOT about Bible bashing and street cranking for me.

I’m an Aspie, it never was! God created me this way and He knows me better than I know myself. He saw my heart when I pushed myself, WAY out of my comfort zone and into crowds of people. I trusted He would guide me and lead me and keep me safe…I was terrified, but I did what I thought I had to do.  I didn’t understand that God loves me unconditionally, because I felt worthless. I didn’t understand that I don’t have to please Him, just love Him back and accept His sacrifice.

My thoughts while praying today were,

The fruit when ripe drops from the tree and it is scattered; some fruit is carried away by animals and buried. It rots away and the seed deep inside germinates and grows roots. It remains hidden, resting, feeding. It is covered, sheltered while its roots dig down deep and then it starts to emerge, it grows. It blooms and blossoms and looks magnificent. Then when that tree is mature, healthy and ready it will bear fruit and nourish that fruit until the fruit is ready to be picked or to fall.

We all have dead branches, and pruning can be painful at times.

Sometimes it’s a case of finding those hidden branches, the things in our past that we don’t always see. Then allowing the healing through tears to water and feed the seed of truth and freedom.

I think this Bible devotional, that I nearly didn’t read, turned out to be pretty fruitful for me.

Love and hugs.

Lisa. xx 🙂


6 thoughts on ““I believe, help my unbelief!”

  1. Lisa,
    I love the video and your understanding of yourself. Trigger words are something I totally understand. We have those at our house too and it is still hard to get past them sometimes although the events they trigger were years ago.

  2. Hello lovely Lisa,

    This is so beautiful, I wish I could click the “like” button a gazillion times!

    Sadly, some people teach that fruit is numbers and obedience, when it is actually “love, joy, peace….”

    It took me a long time to figure out that it really is all about Love, simply Love.

    I had absorbed some secondhand “doctrines” in my search for meaning and acceptance. I wish I had not absorbed them to begin with, but God’s healing Love is more than enough compensation.

    Your blog is overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit, Lisa. It is where I know I can always find encouragement – like a refreshing oasis in the desert. Thanks for being so real and sharing so honestly. I can see a lot of my life in your words, parts that I hadn’t yet really recognized or found the words for. And that makes it easier for me to accept myself and heal. You are a real blessing.

    Love and hugs,
    Bruce 🙂

  3. What you have written in this post is the truth and I am so glad that you have put this part of your Life in prospective. If you had never experienced this, you wouldn’t have your lovely Husband who has taken on AJ as his own and we wouldn’t have our CAL. There will undoubtedly be other words or experiences that take you back to those days and what you experienced when you were a part of this sect. Anyone reading this post would see that this sect was not right. I’m afraid man and womankind have used Religion to gain power over people for centuries, this kind of doctrine can control and kill any real Spirit or genuine feelings of belief as it is conditioned thinking and not natural. I love you and am proud of you “I am not my scars and my history” Those word’s jumped out at me from the video” xxxx

  4. I remembering reading about the work of discipleship as it relates to foreign missionaries (which I think applies to aspies, who are essentially foreigners in their own culture). The point of the sermon was that if you are part of the culture, then you will need to be countercultural (in a culture that is full of violence, you would be expected to object to that violence and to be peaceable–this is distinctly a leadership role). However, if you are not part of the culture, then your mission will involve being cross cultural (that is, you find ways to extend the olive branch and be hospitable to a culture that often alienates you, and you forgive those who are not understanding when they accidentally or purposely insult you because of your differences). I found this very helpful since I tend to measure myself against other people, and I have felt sometimes like I should be able to do more. When I was responsible for helping priests in our parish who were European whose first language was not english, I could see how their role was different. It is not that it is necessarily easy, forgiveness certainly isn’t easy, but it gave me a new way to see fruitfullness, one that involves a more hidden service and humility. And it also reminded me that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to other people.

  5. Lisa, found you at Tilly Bud’s blog. My daughter is an Aspie and I’m multiple diagnoses, including manic depressive. God is huge in my life…

    I understand the linear interpretation that goes with Asperger’s. I also understand that, because I’m in an “open and affirming” church, the United Church of Christ, we don’t go out on the street and persuade strangers to come; we invite folks who seem like they would be into a place of worship where ALL are invited. The “All Are Welcome” sign on most churches should have an asterisk, and the words, “except the following: Homeless, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Mentally Ill or Challenged, Poor, Single Mothers…” et al. In the UCC we say, “God is still speaking,” through you, through me, through everyone.

    I hate to think of you as being stuck in a sect that sounds a bit either cultish or mega-church driven, because either way, you would never receive the one-on-one attention of folks in the church, should you desire it. I’m the pastor’s wife and the whole church knows I’m manic depressive. They don’t love me because of it, nor do they love me in spite of it. They simply know it’s PART of me – not the sum total – and accept me in loving embrace. Wish you could come to our church; I believe you’d like it. Amy Barlow Liberatore

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