Whatever else they may be, fundamentalists on the whole are very, very tired people. They’re told that they must rise before the dawn to do lengthy devotions and commit themselves to prayer. The men must go to their jobs early and stay late in order to be pleasing to their masters while the women are busy cooking, cleaning, teaching, sewing, organizing, and serving.

Then there are church duties to be maintained; church work days to attend; church projects to complete. Soul-winning and bus ministry are hours out of each week even when there aren’t one countless special services, conferences, and revivals that go on through the year. Even brief vacations carry the requirement of finding a church to attend.

So when the weary fundamentalist finally reaches that day of rest and gladness on Sunday and drags himself into his pew he will find there no more rest for his soul than he has had rest for his body. For all his labor will not be enough to sate the son of a horseleach who stands in the pulpit and screams “Give! Give!” as if the people in the pew have are not already fully spent. And so those hapless souls repair once again to their grindstones to see if they can appease the angry god who’s yoke and burden are heavy indeed.

There may be no rest for the wicked but the ultra-righteous would seem also to find little respite for their bodies and souls.

155 thoughts on “Exhaustion”

  1. I have joked that if I was in church six days out of seven in a week, that was a slow week. Seriously, how did we handle it all? I was at church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, visitation, youth activities, plus going to school there and being involved in extracurricular activities. For me, it was extra torture because I was mercilessly bullied by students and staff alike and never got a break from that. A break was a sin, obedience was hell. Couldn’t win, but didn’t have the “why even try?” attitude so I really suffered. I still don’t know how my mom handled it because she had to work full-time on top of everything else. Heck, even as crazy as her job was, it was probably a break from church.

  2. How many people have heard their MOG say something to the effect of “the Lord placed a burden on my heart for [insert MOG’s pet peeve here]”? After this statement, the MOG then proceeds to burden the flock with his “burden”. I call BS on this every time! The MOG’s “burden” will invariably be something that will increase his standing within IFB circles (like starting a school or college or starting a “bus ministry” to increase church attendance). Everyone in the church will then be pressured to fund (either with tithes/offerings and/or sweat equity) whatever this “burden” is. This is pure, unadulterated heresy. As many on this board have pointed out, Christ specifically says that His burden is light…as opposed to the MOG’s burden which is always oppressive. ALthough the Baptsits tend to hate the Puritans, they certainly have no problem co-opting their work ethic.

    1. Bro Bruno!

      Very well said!

      I remember the dread when the direction of his words led toward this newly “God-sent” burden given to the preacher. That meant that at our house at our own table as we gathered for meals or when we were just living at home that we would now be even more absorbed with how it was our “DUTY” to give even more to a new project.

      But you hit the nail on the head when you point out that it was all self-serving to create an image of the power of the preacher and the growth of his “business”, gaining his colleagues adoration and respect for “growing” his church.

      At least in the development of a business, employees get paid and are respected, for the most part!

      I’m so glad I’m not under that type of mind and body control that is very burdensome and oppressive!

      What a relief!!!!

      ~~~Heart 😛

  3. so I have been lurking around this site for quite a few months now.
    We just “officially” left our fundy church this past week. I feel as if a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders, but I also feel very lost. I was so used to the busyness and exhaustion of fundy living that I’m not quite sure how to live “normally.” 😕 Not to mention, I am losing friends right and left. (mostly right, though, I mean, they ARE fundy.)
    I grew up in an extremely small fundy church with the usual stuff – no Christmas, skirts and dresses only, even when delivering papers in waist-deep snow, hymns and gospel songs, etc. After graduating (from our church’s small Christian school, of course), I attended PCC. My upbringing was so strict that PCC, despite the paranoia and random ridiculous rules, felt a bit liberating to me. When I graduated from college, I “rebelled” by taking a teaching job at a Christian school in MA where the girls wore pants (gasp!) and CCM was played in the church services. Still, that church and school was fundy in every other way.
    When I got engaged, I planned on moving to his home state (OR), and we had decided to church shop after we got married. A few days before we married, I got a job offer from a fundy church to teach at their Christian school. I accepted, and we attended that church (most of the staff are from HAC) for over eight years.
    Anyway, we left for many, many reasons. It was much easier for my husband than it was for me. When you grow up in that stuff, it is so firmly entrenched that it is very hard to shake it off.
    This post is one of the biggest reasons that I was willing to leave. I was children’s church director, nursery worker, singer, pretty much whatever they wanted me to do. It was killing me. I hated Sundays and had a hard time even faking it for my kids’ sake.

    Anyway, sorry for the long comment. Thank you for this site. It has been hugely beneficial in the whole process and now in the healing as well. 😎

    1. Welcome aboard. Sit down and rest, you are among friends and fellow travelers here. Rest and heal. We’re glad to have you here with us.

    2. Step One: Rest. Be still and know that He is God.

      Step Two: Realize that you are His beloved.

      Step Three: Realize that, as one who is beloved, you are secure. You can’t make Him love you more, no matter how hard you try (because He already loves you to the uttermost). You can’t make him love you less. His love for you is not dependent on what YOU do, but on who HE is. There is NO condemnation for you, because you are in Christ Jesus.

      Step Four: Realize that you are one of THOUSANDS who have been through what you are going through. That doesn’t make it easier as you lose friends (and maybe family), but there are others who understand and care.

    3. Weclome! And ditto what Don said.. take your time. Maybe even consider taking a break for a while. Dont feel like you have to hop right back into something or you have to “start looking” immediately. To every thing there is a season.

    4. Something Different in the Air,

      My dear, personally I welcome you with open arms! We know your pain and can certainly empathize with your emotions and physical movement (or rest) at this time!

      Girl, you are so special! You have so many facets of your life that are multi-purposeful and while you are gifted in so many wonderful ways, that does not mean that you have to exhaust yourself beyond any healthy state of mind, state of being or peaceful contentment.

      Your intellect, your common sense, and your God has directed you to this realization. This is a good place to be my sweet friend! Allow yourself to relax, breathe and honestly think about how God really wishes for you to live your life now. Think about how you want to live your life. With that, I know that you will choose a path that is of a giving nature, but my dear, please, please do not make it a selfless endeavor.

      You have the right to think about how any actions you take are going to effect you. It is not completely about the church. Free yourself completely from those chains and the heavy burdens, they are wrong.

      This will be difficult and there will be so many changes, but my dear, your life will progress both slowly and swiftly, and if you are patient and anxious, you will find that you can give of your self to the Lord and still be happy, sane, and at peace!

      Many of us walked away, lost circles of friends, lost our familiar settings and even lost family. It is hard. But we are here for you! Talk and we will talk back! Personally, I am more than willing to be your friend during this change! I feel your pain and I want you to know that you are not alone!

      I’m happy that you came and shared! I look forward to hearing about your bright days ahead and am always willing to give you my shoulder to cry on too!

      You’re special and worthy of a wonderful life! Remember that my dear! You’re God’s child and He wants the best for you!!!

      Hugs OOO
      ~~~Heart 😉

    5. Dear brave girl, you’re going to be all right.
      You’ll make new and better friends. And, susprise, surprise, some of the old friends will eventually lose the blinders from their eyes and seek you out, needing to draw upon your experience and strength. Life is a grand adventure outside the fundy prison. I hope yours is beautiful!

    6. Dear Something Different in the Air:

      Grace is good. Breathe it slowly and deeply. This world belongs to God. So do you. He will uphold you by his almighty hand. Bask in the sheer pleasure of God’s love and freedom.

      Welcome to Stuff Fundies Like …

      Christian Socialist

    7. I felt a little lost when I left. I wasn’t nearly as busy as you were, but mostly because I was pretty much cut off anyways.

      It will take time to get used to the new life. I skip church for any reason or no reason and I’m okay with it. I no longer go to three services. It’s okay. Really. We don’t even tithe anymore and we haven’t been struck down yet. Not even the hurricane did anything to us. Put on a pair of pants, listen to some good music, and skip church some Sunday morning. If you still hold on to your faith, remember that the Sabbath is for man, not man for the Sabbath. You have to have something in you to give, and it sounds like you have very little left. Rest a while. It is good.

    8. Something Different – My advice to you is to go read the Gospel of John with your husband and re-aquaint yourself with the true Jesus Christ. The Jesus of fundamental circles is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. In John you will see that Jesus directed his scorn at the religous leaders of the time, but treated His own with the utmost love and compassion. Fundies make Jesus out to be almost vindictive…nothing could be further from the truth. When I left Fundydom, I found peace in reading about Jesus without having someone “interpret” for me. Pay no mind to the teachings of men…Jesus’ words and actions speak for themselves. He is THE Good Shepherd. Speaking of the Good Shepherd, remember that in that parable, He goes in search of the lost sheep…that lost sheep is ONE OF HIS (not an unsaved person as some teach) who He is bringing back into His fold, under His care and protection. I am convinced that fundy teachings amount to a sheep toss…they try to throw sheep out of the fold so they are no longer under Christ’s care and have come groveling back to the MOG (who stands in Christ’s place). What they are really doing is trying to make a goat out of you. Damnation on all who practice this! Feel the freedom of trusting only in the omnibenovolent One.

    9. thank you all for the kind and encouraging words. no one has written a manual for “how to leave your church” but you guys come awfully close. thanks!
      We are taking a “break”, attending my in-laws’ nowhere-close-to-fundy church here and there and just resting.
      Well, that, and trying to figure out how to handle “breaking up with” your church.
      I appreciate all your advice and encouragement and plan to be around here a lot in the upcoming days and weeks.

    10. Your story made me cry. I have friends who literally burned out and burned up because of the heavy burden. They hate God now and won’t even speak of Him. Thank God you made it out with something of faith intact. I was there. I got to where I simply believed God hated me and so I began to return the favor. I read “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning. It literally saved my life. I read Chuck Swindoll’s “The Grace Awakening” and it took me further. I’m glad you’ve discovered freedom…as uncomfortable as it seems. Fundamentalism does to us what Shawshank did to Brooks Hadlin…it institutionalizes our Faith until freedom becomes so scary and uncomfortable that some commit spiritual suicide and walk away altogether. (From active faith…not salvation. I’m no Arminian 🙂 ) Glad you’re here!

    11. What an amazing post! To see the influence that a little honest, free thought can bring. I want to say congratulations to “Something in the air” and her family for there courage, honesty and faith. We must love God more than we love our church or even the friends that we have known so long. You have made the RIGHT decision. You have made the HARD decision. You truly are now “outside the camp”! You will realy learn now to slow down, live one day at a time, love the Lord that has created you and freed you and allowed you to SEE and understand and yet not to get bitter from all the crazyness. Keep your eyesan hearts on Him and He will most definitely lead you. Blessings to you. I’m sure that I speak or most of us here – we are proud of your courage and faith. Welcome to Freedom and Liberty!

    12. Dear Something Different,

      Let me join my voice in welcoming you. Life outside the IFB for me has been both very hard (in losing friends, structure, rules, a lifestyle) and so very liberating. It’s amazing to get a clearer picture of grace, of Jesus, of discipleship. It’s so different than what we were taught. Sometimes freedom is overwhelming and scary, but I pray you will find it wonderful and beautiful as well!

    13. Ive loved ready your story, as well. Everyone one here is so very welcoming and God’s grace overflows. I grew up in fundy land and when I left it was the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I have a relationship with Christ that I never knew was possible.


    14. Dear Something Different,

      I’m new to this site also, but not new to escaping the legalism of IFB.

      My husband and I have been “out” for over 22 years, so I can tell you that there is life after “Fundydom.” That life is frightening sometimes, since we were used to being instructed in our every thought and action. But being free is worth that bit of fear.

      You may have a fight on your hands, but remember, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)

      God’s peace to you.

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