Reclaiming My Agency

Deciding to move to another city has given me a lot to contemplate and reflect on. It’s a big change, and carries a lot of responsibilities. When I started this journey, I realized this, and took to task to building a list of things I needed to accomplish and why I wanted to move. As I accomplished things, I congratulated myself, set new goals, and overcame obstacles when they came up.

I took responsibility for my own actions, and I relied on me and myself alone for accomplishing my move, and the task is still a task in progress. Earlier this week, it dawned on me that I really haven’t been relying on some unknown person in the sky, sitting and contemplating on thoughtful things unrelated to the task at hand while “someone else” deals with the problems, and when goals were met, I thanked myself, not some kind of spiritual deity.

This realization hit me harder than I thought it would, since I hadn’t really been actively been working on further healing and cleansing myself from my abusive religious upbringing. I realize now that this process has, in and of itself, been a process of cleansing in that regard. I’ve realized that I indeed can rely on myself and have given myself back the permission to congratulate myself for these wins.

I was talking with a friend last night about this, and he reminded me that one of the observations he’s consistently seen in many organized religions is the denial of one’s own agency. Religious followers will often turn their problems over to someone else and then also say that their maker deserves the thanks when they were the ones that made the decisions and did the deeds. For the longest time in my life, this was all I knew how to do, and it was all that I did.

I realized that throughout this process, if there was something that was not within my control, I did not worry about it because it was someone else’s responsibility. Instead of it being “god’s problem”, I identified the person responsible (or company, etc.) and set myself to remind myself at a time when I should hear follow up from them. When something was my problem to address, I identified the problem, considered alternatives, made decisions, and celebrated successes. It was my success in my decisions, not some decision influenced by some unknown person.

Untangling myself from Christian ideals has been a very difficult task, but it is one that I can see that is happening whether I am directly working on it or not. This gives me a lot of peace knowing that I don’t necessarily have to set myself to task to working on “Cleaning out Jesus” in order to effect that goal. Considering all the abuse that I endured in the Church when I was growing up, I’m grateful that this is happening. The weight of this burden being lifted off of my shoulders has been a much-needed relief.