I grew up in IFB. I went to the church, worked the bus ministry for 8 years from age 10-18, went to the Christian school at the church for 4 years, then did a year of Bible college because that’s what I was “supposed to do” as a young church kid. I even joined the choir, sang in ensembles for the special…if I could, I did it all. As a church kid, as opposed to the bus kids, we were made to feel like we had to be perfect. We weren’t allowed to have fun like bus kids. We had to be the example and we all felt like we had to be adults to show the bus kids the right way to act. If we misbehaved, we were back slidden and needed to get right with God and be punished. They even had corpal punishment at the “Christian” school.
We were taught that the KJV was the only inspired and true word of God and that anyone who said other-wise was a liar and not a true believer and that they weren’t saved. We were taught that if we dressed immodestly (wore jeans) we were asking for attention from men. We were taught that bad things happened to back-slidden Christians because God was trying to wake us up and punish us for our faults and failures in our daily walk or lack-there-of.
My sister began dating the preacher’s oldest son and that family put her through actual hell. They criticized the way she sat, spoke, dressed, ate, fixed her hair, and then said “We only do it because we want you to be the best for Christ.” While also spreading rumors that she was whore because she wasn’t good enough for their son.
At the age of 18 I started dating my now husband and his family were “contemporary Christians” so they weren’t really saved according to what I had been taught. But I noticed something different about them and started going to church with my boyfriend instead. It was like a light came on and I felt a huge weight come off my shoulders. They didn’t preach solely on how bad us sinners are and hellfire and brimstone, they preached about God’s Grace and love. They preached about God being rich in mercy and grace, and that He loves us regardless of our shortcomings and that He is always there. They preached that my relationship with Christ is mine and mine alone and that’s it’s a partnership with Him that grows as long as I’m willing to accept Him. The people in this Christian Church are happier, they are mentally healthier. I don’t feel like I can’t be myself. I still struggle today, at 25, with anxiety and self-consciousness
I just heard about this podcast 2 days ago and I love the feeling that I’m not alone. Because it felt lonely for a long time. So thank you for what you’re trying to do!