There’s no denying it. When we begin to question our faith, moreover, when we lose the faith we formerly knew, we can also begin to feel isolated. People can scoff at cults all they want to, and they are harmful, but going your own way has it’s down side, too. Marching to the beat of your own drum can seem trailblazing and brave, but it can feel scary and…well…lonely isn’t exactly the right word.
No, I can’t really say I feel lonely, but I do miss community. When I was an integral part of church I saw the same people week in and week out. We had fellowship and a like-mindedness. We could share our lives, the good and the bad, encourage one another, rejoice with one another and sometimes even cry with one another. We “lifted” one another up in prayer and sang together. We helped each other with physical needs and emotional needs.
That all comes to kind of a screeching halt when you no longer share that like-mindedness. When you discover that sharing the good and the bad doesn’t include loosing your faith. Well, then you become somewhat of an outsider. It’s not the brethren’s doing either. I could go into church and smile and pretend like I haven’t had a crisis of faith and no one would be the wiser. Now I feel like I’m infiltrating their camp. I feel out of place, like I don’t belong. Like I’d be a tare among the wheat they’ve so carefully cultivated.
I used to desire to be a part of that community because I truly loved God and Jesus. Now I’d just like to be a part of it because I’ve lost my tribe. I’ve got no like-minded friends, outside of The Tour Guide(who is absolutely great), that I can sit and share a cup of coffee with and my thoughts about what I believe. That community wouldn’t get it. Even if I did try to fake it I’d still feel like an outsider because I couldn’t be who I really am.
You see, I’m a weirdo. I’m shy, but a social butterfly at the same time – if that’s possible. It’s a bit difficult for me to meet new people, but once I’ve warmed up I’m in hog heaven. In my church I had a built in community. A group of people who already knew me with whom I could fellowship and break bread. I’m used to having a large social circle. One of my spiritual gifts* is hospitality. I love a good dinner party. You know, those really cozy ones. Better yet, I love to host a good dinner party. I love to cook. I love to make others feel comfortable and at home.
When this first happened, when I first began to lose my faith, I felt invisible. I felt like someone could just blow on me and I’d disappear. Like a dandelion blown in the wind. But I’m stronger now. More confident now. And so I’m on a quest to find a community where I can just be. Where not only the dinner guests are comfortable, but so am I.
*When I was a TrueBeliever we took one of those little tests to determine our spiritual gifts. Now I realize it was just an assessment of the stuff you’re good at. Because if you’re good at it, it must be a spiritual gift, right?