In late 2005, I burned out. I had been a pastor for 12 years. As is typical with a small-church pastor, I burned the candle at both ends. I was working two jobs and homeschooling my special needs daughter. I became clinically depressed for about four years. It actually turned into a season of healing for me, more like I collapsed into the arms of God.
I quit going to church and reading my Bible, but I didn’t quit on my relationship with God. I was hurting. I talked to Him through my journal and I heard him respond. (For more on listening to God, see Mark Virkler’s Communion with God.)
God told me I needed to get mad at Him. I was stunned. I protested. I didn’t want to. Even though I was mad at Him, I didn’t want to admit it, much less talk about it with Him.
I wasn’t afraid to get mad at him because he would get mad back or that he can’t handle take it. I was afraid that I wouldn’t bring him glory. I had heard so many sermons that said our lives need to glorify God. I just couldn’t imagine that I had the freedom to get mad. God said an interesting thing next:
“If you don’t get mad, we can’t have intimacy.”
It’s true. In intimate relationships, we practice honesty. I think of my kids. I know when they are struggling with something, but it means so much to me when they come and talk to me about it. I want to hear from them. And if they are mad at me, I especially want to talk so we can clear the air. I want them to know that I love them. No matter what. Why would I think it would be any different with my Heavenly Father?
So, I got mad at God and I entered a wonderful time of healing. I wish I had Jacqueline Bussie’s book Outlaw Christian (2016) at the time. She identifies six Christian laws that need to be broken because they are destroying life. Breaking these laws is what makes you an outlaw Christian.
Bussie’s definition of an Outlaw Christianity: (noun)
- A new, life-giving faith for those who ache for a more authentic relationship with God and other people by no longer having to hide their doubts, anger, grief, scars or questions
- An honest, outside-the-law faith for those seeking a hope that really speaks to the world’s hurts
I want a more authentic relationship with God. I want to stop hiding in fear. The idea of being free to be authentic with God and others makes me want to spin around in a field of daisies. I want to dance and giggle and feel the joy of connection. Real connection.
Brene Brown in Gifts of Imperfection: I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
In the next few blogs, I will reflect on the book, Outlaw Christian by Jacqueline Bussie (2016). My purpose is to launch us into relationships that give sustenance and strength. Somehow, I had fallen into a relationship with God that was depleting. And to that I say: no more. This is not meant to bash Christians, but to create self-awareness and encourage growth.
“… we should follow only laws that are life-giving and not life-destroying (Luke 6: 9). In order to really follow Jesus, we must stop following laws that destroy life.” Jacqueline Bussie in Outlaw Christian
According to Bussie, here are the laws to break:
Law #1: Never get mad at God. Anger at the Almighty is blasphemy.
Law #2: Don’t doubt. Doubt is faith’s opposite, and is therefore sinful.
Law #3: Never question.
Law #4: Always speak in clichés about suffering and evil.
Law #5: Never tell your real story. Vulnerability is weakness.
Law #6: Always believe hope comes easy as pie for those who truly love God.
Some of these laws with be easy for me to give up. Others will cause me to wrestle. So here we are going deeper, wrestling with ideas so that we get to authenticity.
©2017 Belinda Perez McDanel