[Disclaimer: This post is not directed to any or all churches specifically but only based on personal experience. This post also does not intend to stereotype the church or ‘church-people’. The purposes of this post are to bring to light and encourage humanity, Christians or not, to be more aware and empathetic of those who are hurting emotionally and the physically ill – to provide proper and adequate support.]
I like to make my posts as short and to-the-point as possible because it’s easier for reading and also easier on my dizziness. So here are 6 points based solely on personal experience on why I left the church ministry. Maybe some of you can relate similarly.
1- I don’t sing like them.
After a conversion retreat I attended in December 2010 brought me closer to God and away from my anti-christ beliefs and lifestyle choices, I decided to join the worship ministry. I passed the audition and had a platform to do what I’ve always loved, singing. However, it wasn’t all embracing and teamwork-ish as I thought it would be according to how they welcomed me with big smiles, hugs and words of encouragement. I was thrown on platform as a back-up singer and I never knew what was going on. I’ve never ever listened to Christian music in my life except for the regular church hymns which I know growing up from going to church on Sundays. I stopped going to church somewhere in my teens.
I was always lost, had no clue what the song was and had no lyrics (until I got an ipad and they sent me all the files of songs). I was told to Youtube the songs we were to sing each week, but I could never get used to the songs. It was a completely different genre from what I was used to: Emo, goth, screamo, rock etc. It took me a long time to grasp the genre of Christian music. I felt frustrated and literally no one would tell me what to do – if I should sing along with the worship leader or harmonise, when I should come in etc. So when I sang however I wanted to, I was often stopped and then told in annoyance when I should come in and when I shouldn’t sing etc. No one listened to me whenever I voiced that I was lost or that I didn’t receive the chord charts for the week and I would end up having to share the ipad with the other vocalists at times. The other 2 male worship leaders at the time always believed in me. They liked my style of singing and welcomed it with open arms. They always told me to sing along with them. They told me they could hear how it comes from my heart and at certain points even gave me the daunting task to lead a verse or a song.
However, the female and only worship leader at the time who was the most senior, never liked the idea. She always told me I wasn’t ready to lead, she told the other male worship leaders that she didn’t think it was a good idea to let me lead, and they had to comply 99% of the time as she was the boss. *eye roll*. She always told me to sing like her which was a very churchy-choir type style which was a complete opposite of me. I was more of the Brooke Fraser style and tone. (See also: Christina Aguilera, Adele, Billy Holiday influences) So this happened for about 4-5 years. And it hurt. It added on to my long-standing issue of never feeling good enough.
2- I can’t ask questions
Whenever I asked stuff like: Why can’t we do it this way? Why can’t we do it that way? Was there a reason things have always been done this way? What’s the point of this rule? Or questions about scripture: I don’t think God meant to take this literally. But God said this so I don’t understand the way the leadership runs in this ministry.
So on and so forth, they were always received in annoyance and seen as a rebellion when I was merely questioning, not challenging the story or intention of things.
Here’s an example I always like to share:
Girl: “Mom, why do we have to use green apples in our pies and not red?”
Mom: “Grandma always and only made them with green apples”
Girl: “Ohhh, but why? Is there a reason? Does it taste better? Sweeter?”
Mom: “I don’t know, it just has to be that way”
Girl: “But why can’t we try it with red apples instead, or a mix? Why must it be green?”
Mom: “I don’t know! It’s just always been this way, how grandma made it!”
You get the point. And many of the newer members or the younger ones who joined us along the way agreed with me but were always afraid to speak up. Some of them who fought along with me or fought for me when I was misunderstood or refused to be understood left in anger as they just couldn’t take it anymore. The leaders always said it’s just the ‘culture’. What culture?! *eye roll* More like leadership control. Corporate style of working. Systematic. No questions. Rules. Rules. Rules.
3- They don’t journey with you
They said they would but they don’t carry it out completely. Sometimes they left you halfway or sometimes only give you the tools to get there on your own.
An analogy: They tell you to get on a plane to the Maldives, they give you a little information of the island and tell you to book a ticket there where they’ll meet you. You get on the plane alone and something happens in the middle of a transitioning flight. It’s your first time flying, you have no idea which terminal or gate to go, where to check in or collect your luggage etc. You don’t know what to do to get on the next flight out to Maldives etc. All they do is meet you there. They don’t journey with you through the ups and downs. They expect you to know the ‘right’ way to do things, to figure out on your own.
4- I smoke, I drink, I party and I have a tattoo
Okay, I get it. Being on a ‘platform ministry’ (worship) as they call it has some form of requirements. Based on my social media posts during that time, they didn’t want me to sing anymore because I smoke, drink and party. (I’ve always been like that and never hid it. They knew I was this way right from the start) According to them, I cannot possibly be a good example because of that. Okay, I get it.
Honestly though, I’ve had many of the other members especially the younger ones actually telling me that I’ve been a big inspiration to them (it’s a heavy and unwanted responsibility that I didn’t sign up for but still I tried to be the best Christian or person I could possibly be) and that I helped them more then any other leader has. Why?
I lived through it. I’ve grown up and lived in the secular world. I’ve had shit happen to me (please pardon my french), I’ve worked under horrible bosses, met backstabbers and so on and so forth since I started working from 14. According to my parents, I’ve experienced so much and too much of what I should have during my younger years. That explains why I’m so screwed up. (Maybe a little better now with God’s help)
However, most of the leaders there and members have led such sheltered lives compared to mine. Compared to so many regular people out there. These are the kids who have parents who pave the way for them. All they need to do is study, get good grades, get a car from their parents and study and study and study. Even after they graduate, they need not have jobs immediately and can take their time searching for one. Some still got their allowances (even down to transport fares!) though they were receiving full-time salaries. I, on the other hand always had to worry about exceeding my data, my allowance would be cut if the bill came back more than the monthly payments. I had to work and study to feed my social lifestyle and to even buy clothes and makeup etc. When they found out I did all that, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know how you do that! How do you keep up with schoolwork and exams then rush off to work till late after school ends?!”
Well honey, some people don’t have a choice.
5- They left me when I got sick
If you’ve read some of my older posts maybe you’ll have an idea but the summary is:
I had an accident where I landed on my spine due to a prank gone wrong. I couldn’t sit or stand or lie without excruciating pain for almost 2 months and could only lie on my front. The guy I was dating at that time, let’s just call him A, took real good care of me. Our worship teammates too, we frequently met up for meals and hangouts and A would help me move around or sometimes even carry me making sure I was comfortable out with them. Everyone was so accommodating and caring it made recovery easier. I returned to work with the pain because I couldn’t stand being useless anymore. I missed my kids (students) so much and cried whenever they sent me videos saying they missed me.
After about 3 weeks of forcing and working through the pain, I got dizzy one evening after a long day at work and I never stopped since then. It worsened and developed into vertigo literally overnight. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep (the vertigo would come on the moment I lay down and I had to sit up to not throw up, I couldn’t sleep sitting either) and yeah, basically I was just pathetic. This leads to the next and final point.
6- After they left me, they embraced the people who hurt me the deepest
I’ll do this as short as I can.
A was in a loveless relationship for about 7 years, he left her for me. I still feel horrible as crap about that having being cheated on in 99% of my relationships and I guess karma (secular world term) came back to me.
The day he left her was the day my vertigo began. He didn’t know he would feel so empty after the break up and I couldn’t care and be there for him fully because I was so caught up and stressed up about trying to figure out my dizziness. I almost fainted at work a couple of times as I was spinning my head off, I could barely walk without holding on to walls and I still had to teach my classes as we had no relief teachers. It was horrible.
So 6 months went on like this with A. Then one day, he left me. I found out awhile later that the friend, C, who we both confided in was there for him, visited his office, went out with him a couple of times all while she was telling me that he didn’t really tell her much and there was barely any contact.
Well, what do you know. They got together a very short while later and are still happily together up till today. All our mutual friends were shocked and shook their heads in disagreement at first. Some even wanted to open a Facebook hate club (Hahaha) for them and many said they would talk to them and figure out what’s going on. My godbrother was so mad and planned to talk to A nicely. Guess what, he’s now hanging out with the both of them too. Many other things too which I won’t write about. It’ll probably take you years to read.
So here I am, not seeking or asking for a pity party, just extremely hurt. How could these followers of christ hurt me so much more than my secular friends ever have? All I wanted was support. For them to stay by me through these 3 years of going from doctors to doctors, being admitted in hospital countless times, visiting the ER countless times with such frightening episodes. Where were they? I had some of them whom I was never that close to before visit me once when I was warded. Whatever happened to all those who I talked to and texted everyday? Whom I rushed to when they were heartbroken or needed someone? Who’s house I visited when they broke a bone and couldn’t get out? Where were all these people? Where ARE all these people now?
All in all, this is why I left the ministry. Also, my dizziness coops me at home. Mobility is difficult though there are better days now. I have never felt so alone in my life. So deeply hurt. I will never join a ministry again. I do not even dare go near a church. I feel so uncomfortable being in it.
This is my story. What’s yours?
“The human love is limited. God’s love is infinite.”
Be kind to one another,
Tweet me @Godvsdepression