Going out on a limb

Going out on a limb here, don’t hate me for it. I’m only human and trying to make sense of each day, one day at a time, the same as everyone else.

I wrote a post back in June and I never shared it on Alienhippy. I was afraid of the come back, I was also afraid that people would get the wrong impression.

I just want to be very clear about this

I am NOT in any way against the Christian Church. I believe that God created us to be a family and that within a loving, accepting family of believers the true Church is an amazing and nurturing environment. I have also met MANY beautiful people within my faith. People who have loved me and accepted me with all my quirks. However, my experience since sharing my daughters diagnoses and my own struggles with Aspergers have not always been positive. We are all only human and we all fall short. We all have limitations and we all have our own way of seeing things.

I’m pretty sure that quite a few Christian Aspies will relate to this post. I’m sharing it because I really hate the thought of someone losing their faith in God because of the way some people make Him to be.

So this is the post I wrote

At 5am this morning I sat praying in bed, crying because I so wanted to feel that I could cope with going to church. Every Sunday morning I have the same conversation with myself, it goes something like this.

“Maybe this week I will be ok? Maybe I won’t absorb so much and I will be fine on Monday morning? Maybe I won’t get judged for having to distract my loops? Maybe I can find a church where I can be me? Maybe I will be understood and not expected to perform?”

And the list goes on.

I have come to terms now with the fact that most church going Christians see me as a church hopper, therefore weak in my faith. But I have found that when people don’t know me, they don’t expect anything of me. Therefore don’t judge me when I struggle to deliver what they expect.

Aspergers is so misunderstood

It’s an invisible disability and I can pass as “normal” I can keep up the pretence for quite some time. In fact I can secretly keep it up and look good, put on the show, for about three years. Then I feel so hurt because NO ONE REALLY KNOWS ME! But when I explain just who I am and how I struggle I am met with the most ridiculous statements.

Here are a few…

“Really, you look normal to me!”

“Oh I had depression for 20 years, I decided to not be depressed.”

“Well if you have decided to be Autistic then you will find excuses.”

“You need to stop reading the psychology books and get back into the theology books.”

“Your mobile is just a way of you not listening or being part of things.”

“Stop texting.” (I was actually taking notes, I have Bible online)

“ASD is not real, self discipline will soon sort that out.”

“Your problem is you take things personally, just let it go over your head.”

“You are intelligent enough not to act autistic.”

”Why do you have to be an Aspie, you weren’t one before?”

“You did so much before, why can’t you do the same now?”

“If you want to please God you will do what needs doing.”

These are just off the top of my head, the list is so much longer than this.

Now I don’t want people to get the wrong idea, I love God, I believe Jesus is the Son of God, I believe in the Christian faith, I believe the Bible is the word of God, I also believe in God’s Church.

But if I was in a wheelchair would I be expected to leave it at the door?

If I was blind, would my guide dog be unwelcome?

I can also see that we are all a long way off

I am struggling to write this because of my religious background. I feel judged before even posting it. I am judging myself on not being perfect, I feel like I could be giving the wrong impression and making the church look bad. That’s the last thing I want to do as it is nothing to do with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or God’s Church. It’s more to do with how we as humanity view others, ourselves and our beliefs.

Where do we put our value? What is our treasure?

Is it religious self righteousness? Perfectionism? Tradition?

Or do we listen to our hearts and God’s still small voice?

Faith? Hope? Love? Compassion? Empathy? Grace?

I see a pattern as I read my Bible.

Do you see it too?

Jesus went from town to town preaching the good news. He went into the places of worship and each time he was met with mostly hostility because he challenged a tradition. He preached about unconditional love and the kingdom of God in the hearts of little children.

He sat on hill sides and in boats. I imagine him sitting under trees with children playing their games around Him.

Jesus went from town to town. I find that interesting?

Does that mean He was a church hopper too?

Galatians 5:22-26

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

 

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12 thoughts on “Going out on a limb

  1. Leesy you know all of my feelings with this and my background too.

    Every week it is so difficult for me to pull myself together and talk myself in to going for the kids. Thankfully, I only go to kids church, but after church I end up having lengthy discussions with the kids trying to help them not take things literally or think badly about themselves if they are just “being themselves.”

    The boys and I also get all kinds of looks because they are wearing their sound reducers. Or I am holding one of them and rocking them. Last night we forgot Joshua’s sound reducers and he was in so much pain through the worship music. It is so loud! I had to cover his ears with my hands – I could not leave Daniel. The little girls stared. Ariel can “pass” for “normal” until she gets to talking to the other girls. So far they have been nice, but Ariel is picking up that she is different.

    Ironically, the teaching the past couple weeks is about Timothy and how we should acknowledge and appreciate how everyone is different. It has not felt that way, it has felt like “As long as you look like us and share your gifts that we feel is comfortable then, you are accepted.” I am not attacking, it really does feel like that. No one has asked or even bothered to question me on how to include Daniel into the group. No one has asked me why they wear sound reducers. No one has asked why they have to sit on me or need me to squeeze them.

    I have tried to share, but the night is too fast and they seem too interested in where my “home” church is. My home church is in my house, outside, at the park, looking at the river, listening to music, reading my books, talking to the creatures and living things that come into my path, my home church is everywhere I walk, live, think. It exists online with my community and through relationships that build into me and I into them. I would tell them that, but I know that is not what they are looking for. 🙂

    I just went on a tangent! Touchy subject for me, especially after last night.

    I am considered a church hopper too. Hee hee “Does that mean He was a church hopper too?”

    I love the way you think my friend.

    Love you oodles!

  2. Lisa, what a wonderful, heart felt, beautiful, truthful, thought provoking message you have just written. I too am a “church hopper”, if you will 🙂 I have searched in my area for a true Church of God feeling and have not found that feeling within bricks and mortar churches. However, I have found God’s church in the people I fellowship and study with. I also found that many of those people are unhappy and have a massive inability to be peaceful. It’s almost as if no matter how many hours they spend in their churches, they still are unable to get the whole picture that God has so beautifully illustrated for us. I personally do not wish to be surrounded by that kind of energy. That is why I am still so excited to study with you as soon as I am able to set up skype. I’m saving to purchase a device with a camera as my home computer does not have one nor does my son’s nook. Hopefully it will be soon and together with others we can celebrate coming together in God’s Church.

    One thing is true and prevalent in this society, many NTs like to box things in. If they are able to box life then they can better understand it and even perhaps control it. That is what they are doing when they say you can only commune with God in church buildings. They have boxed God in. You, my dear friend, like me and many other’s have come to realize that you cannot box God in. He is omnipresent. When two people come together in His name, that is church. We are the church body, not the building. The church building is just a place/location where Christians can come together to worship. I wish we as Christians could understand this concept as a whole. Unfortuantely for those who do not understand, God has already deamed it so. Let them that have ears, hear…let them that have eyes, see.

    You my friend are a true Christian. Stay on your path that God has set just for you and you will never be led astray. You do not stand alone in you beliefs.

    I am so glad that you decided to share this post. Peace be with you. May God continue to bless you and your family abundantly, that all things good manifest in you lives and the lives of your loved ones.

    Praise God for affliction, for He has given this great gift to us as a means to teach us perfection. Perfection does not live in the flesh…perfection lives in the heart and spirit. It is revealed by our actions towards those considered afflicted, silly, simple, strange, different.

  3. If church is too painful, there’s no need to go. Church and God are two very different things.

    Of course, if you want to go, I understand. In my experience though, I’ve always found that other churchgoers are easily angered by things which either distract them or or which suggest that someone else might not be taking things as seriously as them. Since you’re “church hopping”, (nothing wrong with that) you’re not in a position to get people to understand by talking to them afterwards – that means that each time you’re with a new person or a new crowd, you’re making “first impressions” all over again.

    Short of wearing a sign that explains it all, I’m not sure how you’ll ever be able to adjust anyone’s “first impressions”.

    Best not to get too caught up in what other people think. It’s what you think and what God knows that really matters anyway.

  4. We did a whole thing with our Church, the Pastor was totally onboard with educating the congregation about autism / aspergers. We handed out copies of “All Cats Have Aspergers”, there was a childrens sermon about it being okay to be different, I made up picture schedules for Sunday School – one of the teachers even worked in a special education school as her day job.

    We tried so hard to change perceptions and still i got told my girls ‘just need a good spanking’.

    We don’t go to Church anymore.

    My husband couldn’t cope with all the pointless socialising, my youngest couldn’t cope with the noise, my oldest couldn’t cope with the lack of logic and I just couldn’t cope with any of it.

  5. Lisa, God know your heart and it is a beautiful heart with the child-like truth that He honors. Thank you for the courage to finally share this writing. Always write to please God, not man.

  6. we are church hoppers as well .Lisa when ever we get comfortable in a church .it
    It’s ok for a while then it seems like we’re not part of the group because we won’t get baptized in that church ‘We’ve been baptized at birth then in the early 90’s again in another church ..I think once is enough .and i believe God does too Our last one we went for about 5yrs .haven’t gone since early summer .Tried another didn’t like being ignored by the strangers .Only a couple women greeted us .The men , couldn’t care less .I know exactly what you’re going through Lisa .
    Blessing
    Eileen

  7. I could never hate you! You are beautiful inside and out.

    This remark struck me:

    most church going Christians see me as a church hopper,

    All that matters is how God sees you. I believe He sees you as a gentle, sincere and genuine Christian, and that’s all He cares about.

    By the way, Jesus was a church hopper (fabulous phrase!) – He went to temple in whichever town He happened to be in. If it was good enough for Him, it’s good enough for you 🙂

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