I set myself FREE

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I have never written about this or talked about it here. It is time to bring light to an area of my life that was painful, abusive and dysfunctional. I share it with you for my own healing and to help others who may have had the same experience or may even be in it now.

I didn’t know it at the time but my family and I belonged to a Christian Charismatic prayer community – that I would label today as a cult. We belonged to the community for 10 years. That was 25 years ago and I still have triggers when I think about the emotional abuse I experienced, especially as a woman. I unknowingly gave my power away.

You may not belong to a religious cult, but you may be in a marriage, relationship or job that is controlling and abusive and you have given your power away.

The first thing that happened to me when we joined the community was that I was asked to not use my gifts at the prayer meetings (the gift of prophecy), so my husband could be raised up.  It makes no sense to me today, but I bought it back then and didn’t use my gifts ever again.

It’s all about control and there were many RULES to follow; how to dress, how to pray, how to raise your family, how to tithe, where to live, how to wear makeup, how to be submissive to your husband. I was reprimanded by my leader if I didn’t follow the rules. My leader informed me that I was wearing too much eye makeup and if I wanted to be a leader, it had to be removed.

I gave my power away because I wanted to be loved and accepted. I was empty inside. I thought the leaders knew better than I did for my life. At that time, I didn’t know my answers and everything I needed was inside of me.  I’m embarrassed to share this and shiver to think where I was and what my family experienced.

The leaders were good people who thought they were doing the right things. We joined the community so our children would grow up with other children who had the same Christian values. That was the good part of it as we did many fun things together with other families and formed deep friendships with some of the members.

When my family left the community after being a part of it for 10 years, I had to go into therapy for debriefing because I was so messed up! 

  • I didn’t think for myself
  • I followed the “rules” without questioning
  • I played small
  • I didn’t have a voice
  • My self-esteem was damaged
  • I allowed myself to be controlled and abused
  • My light was dim
  • I felt guilt that I couldn’t measure up to their standards

I’m so grateful that I had a great therapist who helped me move through it and see the truth of what was going on.

I not only had to forgive myself for giving my power away as I did, I had to forgive the leaders for the emotional and spiritual abuse I experienced. It was a long process and I am happy to say I SET MYSELF FREE.

Today, after many years of recovering from this experience, I truly value, appreciate and celebrate who I am as a woman. I have learned to love myself from the inside out and go within for my answers.

I am using my gifts and standing in the light of my magnificence and it feels really good. I remember the truth of who I am as a child of God. I am LOVE. You are LOVE. Do you remember the truth of who you are?

My affirmation: “I am a star that shines brightly to lead others to the God within.’

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

Simply A Woman of Faith
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