I learned from David Ostler that there are three main reasons why people leave the Church:
1- Mistrust about the Church and its Leaders.
2- Feeling that one doesn’t belong in their Ward or at Church.
3- Feeling that the Church doesn’t address the issues that are most important to them.
I can relate to the second one. I work with the youth right now and I always tell them about when I was their age. I had giant, frizzy hair. I was very dark from being in the sun so much with my father’s Italian skin tone. And it was only me and my Mom who went to Church on Sundays. I never felt like I fit the mold or that I really “belonged” at Church.
I remember living in Utah for a semester of College and had those exact same feelings re-surfaced. I didn’t look like everyone else and never felt like I belonged. I can’t pinpoint any specific examples of why I felt that way, but I just did. I always had a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father and that is what kept me going to Church.
Maybe there are times when you don’t feel like you “belong” at Church. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t quite live up to all the expectations of others. Maybe you have tried to put yourself out there and have only felt judged and unaccepted. Maybe since your spouse has stopped coming, church doesn’t feel the same or people have treated you differently. David Ostler helps us understand why this happens:
Wards are full of people just like us, imperfect and with different backgrounds and experiences. It’s hard for some ward members to understand our differences and they may have limited experiences and understanding of difficult issues. Some may try to say the right thing, but just don’t know how. They may judge and make hurtful comments. Some are so certain in Church beliefs, they can’t understand how one could not believe. They may even look for the secret sin which explains away our differences. In these kinds of settings, it’s difficult for us to express our true feelings because they don’t seem welcome. We learn that when we express what we really believe, we can be met with judgement and rejection.
Even though this is happening to wards all over the world, if you were to strip everything away and get to the foundation of this Gospel, it is only about our Savior Jesus Christ. That’s it. And you belong to Him.
Many of you have strong testimonies of your Savior and of the Gospel, so don’t let the culture chase you from where you belong. I had a sign made for all my Young Women that said: You Belong Here, Welcome Home. I hung it up to remind them that no matter their background or what they believed in this moment, they belonged here at Church. I want to offer those same words to you and some others I tell my girls to help them take ownership of feeling like they belong:
Stay true to you.
Stay true to Him.
Be what you wish others would be.
Always remember that you are not alone. Many feel the way you do.
Your voice matters at Church, even if Heavenly Father is the only one who hears you.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God; it never was between you and them anyway. -Mother Teresa.
Always remember… You Belong Here, Welcome Home.
Need help working through this? You are not alone. Click Here to chat with me, I can help.
I remember sitting nervously in my first birthing class. The instructor repeatedly said to breathe through contractions. She firmly said not to get tense and try to fight against them, it will only make them worse.
I was amazed at how true this was when I got ready to deliver my first baby. The more I just allowed the contractions and breathed through them, the less painful they were. As soon as I tensed up and tried to fight against them, they became more intense.
This same concept is also true when it comes to our feelings. The more we just allow them initially, the less pain we will feel. But if we try to resist them, they will become more intense.
We have thoughts in our mind about things happening in our life, which then sends a feeling down into our heart. Good feelings like: love, acceptance, charity, kindness etc- feel really good inside of us. Some of us even experience a warmth in our hearts and chest. However, bad feelings like: anxiety, stress, depression, anger etc- feel terrible. They are extremely uncomfortable and our natural reaction is to try to resist them.
When we just allow whatever we are feeling at first, then we can handle our situation better. Allowing is defined as: give necessary time or opportunity for.
Are you giving the necessary time and opportunity for your feelings? Or are you burying them deep inside you and fighting against how you really feel? That is resistance.
Resistance is defined as: the refusal to accept or comply with something.
Allowing yourself and telling yourself the truth about how you really feel- is like breathing through the contractions. There is some pain and discomfort, but you will be able to handle it. However long it needs to take.
Resisting the feeling and telling yourself not to feel that way or try to ignore it- is like tensing up to the contractions and making your feelings more intense. This is especially true for anxiety. It only gets fueled by resisting it- instead of allowing it and working through it.
I had a client who found out that her husband had been lying to her for years about pornography and other habits. You can imagine the feelings that flooded her heart when she found out the truth. Some of those feelings were betrayal, anger, hurt, and many more. Her body didn’t want to feel these things. It wanted these painful feelings to just go away. So she tried burying them and fought hard against really feeling them. All this did was increase her anxiety. She became more and more anxious and began worrying about everything.
When we started working together, it was time to let some of these feelings out. I taught her how to allow them so that we could look at them, and eventually change them when she was ready. It was uncomfortable and hard for her to finally feel them, but then they stopped having so much power over her. She was able to finally get a grip on her anxiety and get to a more peaceful place in her relationship.
We are meant to feel all kinds of feelings while here on Earth. There will always be opposition in all things, so we aren’t supposed to feel good all the time. Therefore, we don’t need to resist any of our feelings. If we learn to allow them, then we can understand them and change them when we are ready.
Name your feelings out loud to yourself on what you are feeling in your heart. Be honest with yourself. Then, let the Lord help you deal with these feelings so that your hearts remain soft and open. If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you. 1 Nephi 15:11
If you need help with handling your feelings, especially anxiety, let’s get on a call together and talk about it. I can help you. Click Here to schedule your free call with me.
Do you ever feel exhausted in your marriage? The thought of trying to change things sounds tiring and overwhelming?
It could be that you are feeling lonely.
Loneliness is a lethargic feeling. It makes us feel tired and exhausted. When felt for a long period of time, it can feel isolating and like there is no hope.
The opposite of loneliness is connection and inclusion. When we are feeling connected to someone else, it brings us energy. It doesn’t have to be a group of people, just feeling seen and heard by another person you trust can bring large amounts of energy and peace.
Many people are feeling lonely in their marriage, but especially those who have different beliefs in the home. Both partners are feeling very lonely, but for different reasons.
The spouse who has stayed in the Church can feel lonely about:
-Not being on the same page anymore.
-Torn between how to raise the kids when it use to feel like everyone was moving in the same direction.
-Not being able to share spiritual experiences or thoughts anymore, which feels like a big part of who they are.
-Going to church alone or with just the kids, and it not feeling the same anymore.
-Afraid of others judging them or treating them differently at church.
-The Gospel feeling like a “hot” topic at home and contentious, instead of something that builds connection and peace.
The spouse who has left the Church also feels very lonely about:
-Not being allowed to really share how they feel.
-Worried about being rejected by parents or friends.
-Sad for the pain they have caused their spouse.
-Misses the friendships and relationships they had with other members.
-Feels betrayed and hurt by the Church.
There are many more ways that could be added to these lists, but the point is that both people in the marriage could be feeling lonely- and loneliness can make you feel like: What’s the point?
Here is my point:
You don’t have to have the same beliefs to feel connected and happy with your spouse, you just need to feel like you can confide and trust the other person.
Trust takes time to rebuild again, but it is possible. Trust to start sharing your real feelings and allowing your spouse to share their real feelings. Trust that everything will be okay even when it looks different that you want it too or imagined. Trust that your love for each other will help heal and mend things that feel broken in this moment.
Begin to confide and trust in each other again. This will bring peace and energy to keep moving forward together. It doesn’t mean that you won’t feel sad at times that things are different, that’s okay, but you don’t need to feel so alone in your marriage.
We all feel lonely at times, but there is always hope.
If you need help starting to trust again in your relationship, I can help. Click Here to get on a free call to learn more.