I have been a student of the Bible since childhood. As a matter of fact, I have a degree in Biblical studies from a Bible college associated with the denomination in which I was raised. As I home educated my two sons, while they studied, I studied with my concordances, resource books and my Bible spread out all over the dining room table for hours. I have continued to study on a daily basis.
I have always loved to study things that I believe will make me a better person. I’m not much on reading novels, so reading personal development, wellness, and spiritual books are my passion.
For years when I studied the Bible it was to find supporting scriptures for topics I was interested in proving–whether for myself or to show others. I had such a narrow approach to spirituality and religion that I had to prove how right I was for believing what I believed. It’s quite exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time. That rush of adrenaline when you find just the right nugget to prove your point–to show somebody that you are right and they are wrong.
Looking back on that attitude, now, makes me a bit queasy. I was never really happy because it came from such a small heart. It was from wanting to control what others thought and set them straight.
Plain and simple, I was raised to believe our way was the only way. We, our denomination, had The Truth. That there was only one way and we knew it. Heaven forbid you should open your mind or entertain thoughts from a different perspective or belief system!
Even though I was raised in a very strict Christian home, I still couldn’t seem to be compliant to the dogmatic rules to follow the path exactly right. I was always getting into trouble at home, because I couldn’t fit my freedom-loving butterfly wings into the box in which they wanted me–even required me–to live.
When I was little I loved things relating to Native Americans, to mythology, to astrology. Those things interested me because those subjects were so different from how I was raised. Now I can see that this was just my Inner Being guiding me to my unique path, but this was quite disturbing for my dear mother. She tried her hardest to squelch my interest in other cultures or subjects that might turn me away from the church’s Christian belief system.
Later, I remember thinking, if it only took just reading about other cultures or belief systems to turn me away from my Christian rearing, Christianity must not be that interesting or important to me. If it is that easy to turn aside from your religious beliefs, maybe they are not really your beliefs, but the beliefs of those who imposed them upon you. Maybe your path is a little–or a lot–different from theirs.
After hearing a visiting minister speak about the meaning behind some of the New Testament scriptures because he studied Hebrew and Aramaic, I remember telling my mother as a child, that we really didn’t really know the Bible and what it meant because we were not Jews and did not speak or understand Hebrew. My reasoning as a child was that they got it first from God and how were we to know what things really meant if we didn’t get it directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. So that made me interested in learning about Judaism.
With all that talk about tainting my Christianity with secular studies I decided that I wouldn’t come out a Christian if I went to a secular university, so I decided I would attend Bible college about four hours from home. The year I had to take biology I decided to take it at our community college back home, because I really didn’t think a Bible college professor would teach it right. I loved science so much that I wanted a science-oriented school to teach me for that course. Growing up I always said I wanted to be an archaeologist or a mad scientist! But that would mean studying at one of those atheistic universities and that was out of the question for my higher education.
Attending that class with that particular professor did challenge my beliefs. I was exposed to new ideas, but that just made me more determined to prove them wrong and my beliefs right.
After college is when I really started to enjoy studying. I could study what I wanted regarding the Bible and learned how to study well. I always had a thirst for knowledge, but never liked someone directing my studies. This new freedom was enjoyable.
Yet, I always struggled to find real, lasting peace in my heart. The church was such an emotional roller-coaster. I grew up with such extreme emotions in the services, that if you weren’t crying in anguish for your sins and repent, it just wasn’t a good service. If the service didn’t run over the dismissal time by an hour or two, it was just a s0-so service. Very extreme. I was always made to feel that I was just on the precipice of eternal damnation. There was so much guilt and fear heaped upon me that I just could never maintain the feeling that God loved me–unconditionally–like I’d read in the Bible.
I was also raised to believe that the wife was supposed to be submissive to the husband. I tried–I really did–but I just couldn’t make that work for me consistently. I had moments of happiness and peace, but it just never lasted. All this submissive teaching just left me knowing it was not safe for me to speak my truth or ask for my needs to be met. I truly believe this is why I suffered Grave’s disease after my second son. We are vibrational beings and I believe not feeling safe to speak up for myself or communicate my desires created energy imbalance in my throat area.
Even as a kid growing up, I had stomach problems. My stomach was always in a knot, because I was always getting into trouble. I was never doing it right. I was already starting with throat problems and by age 15 I had to have my tonsils taken out. Migraines started in high school. After college I developed a lump in my thyroid that had to be removed. After I married, I suffered a miscarriage before each of my two sons. After my second son I had to have emergency gall-bladder surgery and then developed the Grave’s disease. Later, a hysterectomy after another miscarriage. Blah-blah-blah!
I only mention this because I know, now, that all my physical imbalance and dis-ease was caused by how bad I felt in my spirit trying so hard to be a good Christian–because it was totally against who I really am. I was in such resistance to who my Inner Being knew me to be and was calling me to be, that I created imbalance in my body that showed up as dis-eases.
I am so thankful that in the past several years I have gained the peace and joy I was searching for. Leaving the church and searching for my own path was the best thing I ever did. Sure I still had a long journey ahead of me, but now it was bringing peace. I was no longer fighting against the guilt and shame of Christian dogma. Now, when I study it is anything and everything that piques my interest.
When I was in my mid-thirties, I’d had enough of the migraines and dis-ease, so I went to a health food store and told the owner to fix me. That was the most inspired and rewarding thing I think I’ve ever done for me. It put me on a path of wellness and discovery. It opened my mind to herbal healing, energy healing, astrology, paganism, Judaism, Eastern religions, meditation, crystals and stones, and all sorts of wonderfully enjoyable study material!
I was still in the church as I began to look around at different thoughts and belief systems for about another 10 years. But I was able to find some comfort from other ideas that there are more peaceful ways to fulfill the empty feeling inside. That nagging pain of an distraught spirit.
It is such a joy to remember who I really am! I am the pure, positive extension of Source Energy. I am wonderfully made, because I made me! My non-physical Self focused enough attention upon this physical world that I created my body and how I would expand my continued Being. When I’m done with this life and I return my focus back to non-physical, I will transition back into the wholeness of All Source Energy–of All That Is. Only a part of me is physically focused right now, as the majority of my non-physical is still non-physically focused. I’m just here to expand my whole BEing. That’s how creation works in eternity. Ever expanding and ever broadening–eternally. The larger, wiser, older part of me is still non-physical–and I have access to all that Infinite Intelligence any time, all the time.
Rather than gathering knowledge to prove my point and show others how they are wrong and how I am right, now I’m gathering knowledge to grow and expand who I AM. It’s a much larger heart-place and so much more enjoyable. It’s none of my business what other people have decided to believe. It’s also none of my business what their opinion is of my path. My only business is growing myself and loving life and being at peace and harmony with Source Energy. My alignment with Source Energy and my harmony with the Inner Me is all that I need to focus upon. Feeling good is my purpose and I’m actually accomplishing it!
When I started this blog post I was heading in a certain direction. I was going to talk about why I believe what I do about the Bible. I was going to tell you why I don’t believe it is the inerrant word of God. But my Inner Being apparently had other plans, so I will write the Bible blog another day. I think this enough for the moment and I’ll talk to you soon!
I love you all! Please know that you are in my thoughts–which are–that you remember who you really are and know you are pure, positive, unconditional love!
All is well!
Mary Ann Pack, YOUR Life & Wellness Coach
PS: I know many of you have had similar experiences being raised with a belief system that was not your own. I would love for you to share your story with us either in the comments below or email me privately. We are each on our own path and it’s so much fun as we allow it to unfold before us!
If you would like help with life, spiritual or wellness issues, I’d be happy to help you feel better–because that’s exactly what we’re here for–to feel good!!