Completing the Circle: Moving on in Life with Power and Freedom

Have you ever wondered why the same issues keep coming up in your life? Different circumstances, different people, different places, but the same kinds of problems occurring over and over. Maybe it shows up in relationships. Maybe it shows up in recurring habits and patterns of life that you can't seem to shake. No, God isn't out to punish you. Karma isn't a... well you know. Then why does this happen?  Because you're not complete on the chapter you're in. The lesson life is giving you isn't over. You haven't completed the circle. 

I've been through multiple rounds of this in multiple areas of my life. For the sake of simplicity today, I'll focus on one example: faith community. For years I looked for other things to complete me and my life, and finding a community of my dreams has been a lingering frustration. Over time, I was able to trace back this phenomenon to one core aspect of my identity: Belonging. Due to experiences of the past and stories in my mind, I was convinced that I did not belong. I did not feel that I could belong anywhere! This incompleteness on my part resulted in a raging war between trying to conform to other groups on the one hand, and distancing myself from others as its opposite. I would long and wish to be a part of the group, then remember the things I didn't like, then lash out and complain. To put it lightly, I was incomplete. During my participation in The Landmark Forum, I was able to see this more clearly. I realized how I had been blaming others for my own experience of inadequacy and belonging. That experience was a catalyst for me learning to accept myself and others in my faith community. I called the leaders of our church and acknowledged how I had been and committed to new ways of being for our relationship. They really appreciated it, but at the end of the day, it wasn't for them, it was for me. In accepting myself and others, I granted myself new permission to be. I didn't have to be upset at the ways other people believed or behaved, I simply had to be honest about my own. In forgiving others and myself, I had a newfound freedom to choose where to be. Whether I stayed or I left the community, I would do so by my choosing, not out of fear. I was able to love my brothers and sisters more honestly, because I was complete. 

This led to some powerful participation in the community and to one more step that we took this summer:
We left. 
Courtney and I left our church two months ago.

I realize that we are hardly the exception. More and more people have had it with organized religion.
Over the course of five years, plenty of things happened. I had plenty of negative experiences, and I'm sure that I had created negative experiences for others. We didn't leave because anything happened. We didn't leave because we had been wronged. Our experience in that community ranged from the amazingly positive to the frustratingly negative, but neither end of the spectrum forced our departure. We left because we were ready, because we were complete


We could leave in good conscience because I wasn't afraid of being rejected, nor was I afraid of leaving. I wasn't co-dependent on the congregation to feed my identity, nor was I threatened by the identity or practices of the group. Whereas the me who was incomplete on "belonging" looked for other places to escape to and other people to blame, I now know that the biggest factor in belonging is my choice to value myself. I still value community and connection, and now I have a say in what that means for me.

Like my relationship with "belonging," once we complete a circle in our lives, we are able to move on with power and freedom. This is not a power or freedom to control others, but to be masters of ourselves. Rather than forfeiting your power and freedom in your relationship to people, things or ideas, you will be able to more consciously choose. When you are complete, the old baggage that you carried will simply cease to be important, freeing you up to focus on what actually matters to you.

Whatever chapter you're in, whatever plotline keeps repeating in your life... Get complete. In completing the circle, you move on in life with power and freedom. What more could you ask for?
Benjamin FaderComment