Refusing To Live A Predictable Life
I think the reward for conformity is that everyone else likes you except yourself. Rita Mae Brown
The last few years of being a full-time member of a church, I kept coming back to a haunting question: How was I living by faith? It seemed that everything I did was planned out and executed according to what everyone else in the church was doing, with great emphasis of conformity coming from the pulpit.
In my 30+ years of being in a church, I thought I knew what it truly meant to have faith in God. It looked something like this: attending church – being in fellowship with other Christians – corporate worship – serving in my church – evangelizing to the world – suffering and seeing it as a privilege – inviting an older person mentor me – not swearing – not watching movies with sex in it – only listening to christian music – being at every church event – giving 1/10th of my income to the church – reading the Bible everyday – using Christian language – never questioning church authority – being guarded about spending time with non-believers – following another man’s vision – denying myself and my desires – acquiring wealth (prosperity message) – never making decisions for myself – searching for my calling – getting married, having kids and being a stay-at-home mom – praying about everything – reading only spiritual books – fearful to be my most real self.
I came to a point in that house of cards where I decided that I did not want a predictable life. I did not want to live the life others expected of me. Tweet That!
As lovely as many of the families and single people were that attended my church, I did not want to follow in their footsteps. There was great pressure in the church to be a Proverbs 31 woman so that your knight and shining armor would ride up on a white horse and sweep you off your feet, assist you in producing 2-6 babies, make loads of money so you could live in a bigger-than-needed house, upgrade to a luxury car, wear the latest fashion trends, become leaders in the church, socializing only with church people (unless it was an evangelizing mission), admit our children to the church school, and so on. It was all foretold in advance what my life was supposed to look like by looking at families that had been in the church for 20+ years.
Some people want to have a life of predictability or maybe they don’t think the things I listed above are predictable. For them, they find comfort to see a projection of what their life should look like so they can follow the formula. And they enjoy it. It’s not prison to them. Clearly, we are not all the same.
But for me, living in predictability for 30 years made me crave a life of uncertainty. A life where I listened to that still small voice inside me pointing the way. A life where I could boldly say, “I don’t know” to questions about my career, my goals, my ambitions. A life where I took risks and discovered who I truly was inside. A life without fear of disappointing people. A life not all figured out for me. A life of non-conformity. A life where I wasn’t fitting in. I wanted that life. I wanted to just be me. I wanted the freedom of living a non-perfect, non-performing, messy life and knowing I was still enough and loved. A life not in default mode. A life not trudging along. A life of vulnerability. A life of authenticity.
And since leaving, I am living a very unconventional life. I have lived on an island in Central America – started a nonprofit organization for helping underprivileged children attend school – traveled to Honduras, Guatemala, Hawaii, Florida – helped move my mom from WA to FL to fulfill a dream of being near her other grandchildren – I work less, own less, stress less – I have provision come in the most unexpected ways – I am on a journey of learning how to be true to myself – discovering what true friendship is – experiencing the vast love of God – believing I am enough – I have the freedom now to spend time people who make me a better me – I am living a simple life. I am living a more fulfilling life.
Very little in my life looks the same as it did 6 years ago. The way I live out my faith in God is 100% different and altogether more personal and real. I feel more alive. I feel more present.
Maybe you resonate with something I wrote here. Maybe it’s not church that is keeping you in a predictable life, but maybe a relationship, a career, or even fears that are holding you back.
Those feelings and thoughts gnawing at you will never go away until you decide to do something different. Start small or take a giant leap. Listen to that voice inside you. You know the one. Don’t wait any longer!
I’m cheering you on! And I know there are others in your life who will be too! Don’t waste another minute!
Is your predictable life hijacking your authentic life? What are you going to do today to refuse a predictable life?
BONUS: Download (save and copy) the poster I made just for you or pass it on to someone else who needs a little nudge to be more authentic!
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