Saturday, May 26, 2007
Hold on a second!
The past two years, there has been lots of change taking place in my life. For the most part, I think I have gotten better in many areas. I've made lots of changes about I how I think, how I feel and so on. But hold on second! You mean there is MORE I have to "get"? Dang it!

I grew up in church. I became a Christian when I was five years old and have pretty much lived the life since then. My entire life I have been surrounded by people just like me. Growing up in the church has now been something that is causing an issue for me. I'm realizing how much religion is inside of me and I would NEVER say that I am a religious person. While I am so thankful for my heritage and thankful for knowing Christ the way that I do, I have a lot of things that I need to get rid of.

Something I have always wanted to do is to get my nose pierced. The first time I thought about it was when I was twenty-two years old. I had a wild and crazy friend and we always had a blast together. We both sang at our church and both of us were knowing for pushing the boundaries a little. People looked at us at rebels but really we were just having fun with our hair and clothes. The Dixie Chicks had just come out and people used to tell us that we looked like them. So we got a kick out of being different. My friend told me I should do it! "Get your nose pierced! I will go with you!" But at the same time I was working at the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. My hair was shorter than it is now and the "go go" boot look with short skirts was a very popular thing to wear. The skirts I wore were not too short by any means but I pushed the line a lot. I remember walking into Monday morning chapel and getting mean, judgemental looks from the old Southern Baptist Women. Finally one day, after someone complained that I was not wearing panty hose and that my dress was too crazy for the Annuity Board, I quit! All morning I sat at my desk in my cubicle and could hear whispering going on. It wasn't paranoia, it was really happening. Then I began to hear them actually talk about me. The whispering ended. They said things about my hair, my clothes and my lack of respect for the Annuity Board. So, I got up, walked into my boss' office and quit. And the fact that I did not like him either, made it even more fun to quit. I will never forget what I said to Ken, the boss. "I am leaving and I will not be coming back. I have enough in my 401k to pay rent at my apartment for a few months and to pay for a few other bills. These women here are mean, vicious and I don't fit in. I'm not going to wear panty hose and I don't know if I want to go to a Southern Baptist Church (which was required)!" I think he was relieved because he did not like me either. There was no way they would send me to a state convention to tell them about insurance to all those SBC pastors! No way! I was not conservative looking enough and I KNOW they were relieved to see me go. I'm not quite sure what all those rigid old women talked about after I left, but it wasn't me. Actually I am sure it got pretty boring around there! I'm certain of it! But, I decided against the nose piercing because I felt like it would be wrong and that it would not be a "Christian" thing to do. HA!

The truth is, I have never fit in when it comes to the Christian circles. Unfortunately I think I am having a hard time fitting in with people searching for God or people that are finding God or whatever else. I've come across as "churchy" and as a "spiritual know it all" to some. Anyone that knows me, really knows me, knows how much fun I am and knows how down to earth I really am. If there is anything in me that is going to freak people out when it comes to Christianity, I've got to change and show others that I'm really just like them.

Because I KNOW God has called me here and because I KNOW God has great plans for my life and because I KNOW that the bigger picture is worth it all, I'm changing my blog again. The people that will not understand it will be "Christians". They will say I am compromising. They will say I am not being true to myself. You know why I know they will say that? Because that's what I would say. But I am trying to do away with that old time religion inside of me and it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Hold on a second! You mean to say that I've got to do some changing so I can reach people in my community? You mean how I am doing things right now is going to have to be refined? You mean some of my blogs and some of the things I say come across "churchy" and holier than thou? Oh my, oh my!

All day I have been processing this because everything I am about to do goes against everything I know. I have not done the nose piercing thing because I thought God couldn't use me to speak to women or lead worship if I looked like a punk rocker. I thought I needed to try a little to look like a Mom and appeal to my Christian circles. How can God use a girl with a tattoo?( Kelly Ann! :) How can he use a girl with a crazy haircut and a stud in her nose? Well, I am not sure but I have decided to push all that religion to the side and be free.

As soon as I find a place to get my nose pierced, I am going and I am taking my Pastor's wife with me! :) Because here, I am free. I can be me and so much more that I don't even know. Today I talked on the phone with Kyle/Pastor for almost two hours about all of this and I feel better about who I am. And I realize that I have been walking around under so much condemnation that I don't have to feel any longer!

The blog is going to change. In fact, I am working right now on something new. Something Beautiful will always be here, just like Far More Than Rubies. I won't take those blogs down. It's a part of me. But a brand new chapter is underway. Be prepared. I can handle the whispers, like the ones I heard at the SBC, it's worth it.


  posted at 1:48 PM

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot wait to see your nose pierced and the new blog too! I heard this quote one day it has stuck with me – “we are all born with an innate ability to think for ourselves – but then we are bombarded with people all around us telling us what and how to think” – that is so true! And that is what I got out of your blog that I just read. I think for so long in my life there was just me and I was loving and I was accepting and had friends of all kinds – and then I went through this period in my life were I THOUGHT I HAD to fit into this mold of sorts and I allowed others to tell me (or suggest to me) whom I could be friends with and who I could accept and who I would allow in my life and HOW to think on top of all that – Thank goodness I don’t allow that anymore!

You go girl! Be you and you will be happiest!

Nancy ;o))

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Tiffany said...

GO! GO! GO! :)

LOVE to hear how God is removing all that cumbersome religion!!!

Life is TOO short to not be yourself...can't wait to see how this newfound freedom is going to reach people...ROCK ON!!!


P.S. I vote for a "diamond" stud...even if it's fake. :)

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Liz said...

Amen!! Living the Christian life is not about following a list of is all about resting...totally contrary to what my natural tendencies are. There is so much freedom in resting in the death truths of the cross. There is freedom in Christ to be who He created you to be! It's wonderful to see what the Lord is teaching you. Freedom in Christ is just awesome! I just wish more Christians truly understood what it means to be free.

I hope you will let us know the new blog address. I have so enjoyed following you on your journey. I feel as though I can realte to you often.

Throw off those shackles of religion...I'm right there with ya!

I'm Excited for you!
Sister in Christ,

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous kaufee said...

Great blog Mandi. I love you. Go for it.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Ok - I emailed you when you had comments closed and there is NO WAY I want to hi-jack your comments section with that long winded speech I gave you... so I will paraphrase because I want to encourage you, yet again!

I too was born into "Old Time Religion" you know the type, Baptist is the only way, KJV is the only RIGHT version of the Bible, you must always wear skirts and dresses to church, no rock music (it's of the devil), and on and on.... but guess what!?!? WRONG!!!!

As soon as I was old enough to go out on my own (basically when I married my husband, since I did so at 15) - we began our search. Not for a "religion" but for the real meanings. Not the ones handed down from generation to generation. What does scripture REALLY say... all different versions.

So - now here we are, not worrying so much about others' opinions, attitudes, but moreso about pleasing God. Do I think I am damned to hell because I have my cartilage pierced, my belly button pierced, a tattoo and (OH MY GOSH) had a nose piercing???? NOPE! Is my husband also condemned because he has an earring?? NOPE! Funny the number of people we've met just like us who are STRONG Christians, but don't fit the "mold" many have laid out for us.

Our search is not complete - but our children know God's love. They are reminded of it in discipline, devotions, and actions. Are we perfect? NO! But we aren't subject to the judgment of others, only of Him!


At 11:14 AM, Blogger Karen said...

You go girl! I can't wait to see your new blog!!


At 11:28 AM, Blogger Munchkin Land said...

I say go for the nose piercing! I love that look; it would just never look "right" on me. =) I am however, contemplating a tattoo. I've been thinking about it for almost two years now. I want the word "Blessed" in a cursive font. We shall see...


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