Admittedly, what I’m about to share with you has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to put into words. And, I must add, one of the most difficult things I’ve had to admit to myself. For the sake of simplicity, when I refer to myself, I’m really referring to us. The both of us. This is something that we have mutually agreed upon. Something that’s been on both of our minds and in our hearts for roughly six to eight months.
Before I get too far into this, I must give you a bit of the backstory. So, if you will, we’ll start there.
Back in time…
About 10 or so years ago, we were searching for more in our lives. We had already been married for 10 years, maybe even longer, and we had a desire to seek out more meaning in our lives. It felt like we were missing something. Enter some incredible people into our lives. I’m not going to name names as I’m sure they know who they are, and, quite frankly, it’s not relevant.
These two individuals accepted us for who we were and welcomed us into their world with open arms. We quickly became friends. It’s as if we had known each other our entire lives. So, I think they were quick to recognize what it was we needed. Hesitant, we accepted their invitation to know more.
Fast-forward a year and we found all three of ourselves, our son included, standing before the baptismal font getting ready to be baptized as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It will forever be a memorable time in each of our lives.
Faithfully, over the next ten years, we served in various capacities as members of the LDS faith. We shared our conversion stories with many people, both young and old. It is almost as fairy-tale-ish as our entire marriage has been. (Maybe another story for another day?)
Now, as a Mormon, we faithfully and somewhat blindly followed the rules. We did this thing when we could and didn’t do this just simply because, well, again, we followed the rules somewhat blindly. For many, many years we did this. Sometimes, after a few years had passed, we would find ourselves questioning the many things we were doing, and following, and adhering to.
But, that’s okay
Well, at some point, the pressures would start to increase inside ourselves as we continued to try to live up to the LDS standards. I’ll admit, they can be overwhelming at times. Even to the point of causing anxiety issues and bouts of depression. There was always a feeling that we weren’t doing enough. There was always a feeling of being judged.
To put it rather
Alright, I think that sets enough tone to what I’m about to say. I don’t want to get into too many other personal things and issues. So, I’ll bring you up to current times.
Since the start of the year, we have been wrestling with where we are as Mormons. Or, should I say members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as we’re not supposed to refer to ourselves as Mormons or LDS?
So, wrestling… We spent many times with a prayer in our hearts and in our thoughts on what we should do. Many times over we would, even jokingly, ask one another if it would impact our eternal salvation. I say jokingly, but honestly, we both felt as if it was more a question that really needed to be answered. I cannot begin to express the amount of time we spent in prayer and fasting asking what to do. Over and over again, we would continue to feel as if we just needed a break.
Out with the old…
It’s almost like passing by a store with a sign out front that says “Everything Must Go!” They don’t do that just to get you into the store to spend money. They don’t do it because they’re getting ready to close the doors for good. They do it to get rid of things to make way for new things. This is where we are. We’re moving some things out to make way for new things to move in. In other words, we are taking a giant step to the side and taking a break from the Church.
Honestly? It’s really a test that if you set something free and it comes back then it was meant to be. It’s a test of faith. Something that many people we know will challenge. Some will not be very accepting. Very, very few will be.
It will be a definite test of boundary setting skills. One of which has already had to be tested.
Let’s test those boundary muscles…
The other day, we heard a knock at the door. It was in the early evening on a Sunday. We don’t usually have people knock on our door. So, we were caught a little off guard. But, not as much as the gentleman was who was on the other side of the door.
I answered and invited him in. It was pretty warm outside, so I invited him inside where it was cool so we could talk. It would be a little more intimate this way. I think by now, you’ve guessed this gentleman was a fellow member and was reaching out to us; mainly myself, as he was sent on assignment to ask if I would prepare a message to be delivered in a week or so. If you didn’t know, the messages delivered on Sundays come from the people in the congregation, not a paid preacher or anyone else. We all volunteer to do these things. (Something many feel almost required/pressured to do as it is just so taboo to say no when asked.)
He asked if I would like to give a talk, and I looked right at him and said no. He had a somewhat puzzled look on his face, asking if he could ask why. I politely shared with him that we were in a position that we needed to have some space and time away from the Church to figure some things out for ourselves. He said that was understandable and asked if there was anything he could do, or even if there was someone we needed to talk to. He also asked if he or anyone else could be in contact with us. You know… to check up on us. I accepted. He departed.
This, for us, was a test of our newfound boundary building. I don’t think for one second that, had we not felt the Spirit a few weeks ago tell us to start studying out of a book on boundaries, we would have been fully prepared to handle this moment. I honestly think we were, and are, being prepared for something. What that is, I don’t know. But, I will say this: the amount of weight lifted off our shoulders right now is beyond words. Freeing if you will.
Think on this…
I’m me. You are you. I’m not perfect, and neither are you. Before you are quick to try and pass judgement, take a second to examine who you are and what you have in your life. Are there things you need to change in order to grow and be the best you that you can be? That is exactly where we are right now. You can take us or leave us. We are okay in our actions and decisions. We are at peace with them. We know more of who we are and what we are capable of today than we knew yesterday. Can you honestly say the same thing about yourself and where you are?