The Crutch and the Confidence

(this was written several years ago. I thought I’d share it here, as it was during a pivotal part of my ‘transitional’ phase)

Something that happened when I moved out of participation in the church. I lost my confidence. Of course, I was no longer getting the validation and sense of responsibility that comes from callings/teaching/etc… and for a introvert like myself who does not naturally seek out service/leadership/human contact opportunities that has noticeably reduced my sphere of influence in the world. But I noticed something else as well. I had thought I was just going explore and expand my belief system, but instead I found my belief system merely disintegrating and when that happened, I lost grace.  I lost the shield that had previously softened my failings. I don’t mean this in a salvation way, a “repent or your sufferings will be sore” getting-to-heaven way. I mean this in a day to day, suddenly feeling much more overwhelmed by my errors and my insignificance. By the utter in-consequence of being a human animal.

I just finished Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. Campbell talks quite a bit about the importance of our spiritual Myths and Rituals in giving the individual a sense of place, purpose, connection to something greater. And he’s pretty clear that the literalness of these myths isn’t the point, it’s their ability to give humans some sense of meaning in an otherwise meaningless world. A sense of confidence.
A crutch.

I’ve been trying to write this post now for several weeks, and I am still no closer to having some sort of nice wrap-it-up epiphany about finding meaning, having confidence, metaphorical belief systems, etc… So I though it was about time I just hit the publish button anyways and see what your thoughts on the subject are.

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5 Responses

  1. Macha says:

    I agree. Leaving Catholicism behind did leave me feeling a little pointless, useless. But I think I’ve found new meaning outside of the truth claims of Catholicism.

  2. marie says:

    Thanks for this G. I feel very much in this place you describe and I’m curious how you worked through these feelings to rebuild meaning and strength.

  3. Leaving a belief system leaves a void until you replace it.

    I don’t mean you should jump into another religion, but you do need to explore your own spiritual feelings and beliefs and seek through reading or in person the wisdom of other people as you work out the core values and beliefs which will give meaning to your life. This is not an overnight process.

  4. Howard says:

    I left long ago in my early twenties and have since returned but I experienced leaving more as finding my confidence. The void I initially felt was related to having left the “group think” where almost everything is defined for you and reenforced by those close to you. At first I lacked confidence in trying my ideas out on the world and adjusting to their feedback but I gained it over time and now I’m comfortable in or out of the church. Btw I love that Joseph Campbell series.

  5. anonforthisone says:

    i just glanced over your posts, G, and felt relief and a sense of – camaraderie, I guess. connection. kinship. how did you get your confidence back? i lost my faith and a major relationship at the same time, and i’m still trying to find an anchor. maybe not the same sort of anchor, not a blind faith, and not a crutch that i lean on entirely, but something that can help me feel rooted and … oriented. like i can speak from a space within my flawed, bare self and have it be ok.

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