The Honest Prayer of an Exvangelical

The Honest Prayer of an Exvangelical

A Poem by Ziggy Matthews
"

This is poem 6 in my series of 300. In this poem, I try to bring you into the spiritual overstepping and harm that I experienced through very specific individuals.

"

I lie on the floor

Shaking, wondering

Why?

Why must I continue to give

Into every

Temptation, sensation

As if I would die

Without it?

 

I first heard of your saving grace

That late August night.

My friend told me all was forgiven.

All could be healed.

That I no longer

Needed to hold up my shield.

But vulnerability doesn’t come over night.

 

My sponsor tells me

We have to think of all the reasons

Not to give into our

Addictions, pains, resentments.

All the sleepless nights

And pitiful sentiments.

 

But tell me God,

What do I do if I have become

Addicted to the

Pain, suffering?

Needing the self-pity to breathe

And function.

It’s as if my hurts

Have become my drug

Sinking into a depression

Trying to fill this void.

Why am I so scared of you?

 

When I first accepted you, God,

Inviting you into my life

There was so much peace.

I remember trying to quit

Cold turkey.

The shaking and withdrawals,

Outbursts of anger.

But the preacher told me

It would all be worth it.

 

But I’ve held on

Twistedly thinking something

Would go wrong

If I finally submitted

To you.

Why don’t I trust you?

 

In spiritual infancy,

I’d walk miles to pray with you.

Open communication

As if we were talking on a cellphone.

I’d pray for my family, friends, and future.

There was so much peace.

When did I lose that peace?

 

Was it when they asked me

To stop being me?

To be more like that man

Everyone was attracted to.

We threw out everything

That reflected who I was:

My clothes, my music, my writing…

All because if I wanted to be

A Godly Christian,

Then I couldn’t be me.

That conversation still lingers in my memory.

 

Perhaps it was the numerous times

I felt compelled by your Spirit

To help change lives

Whether it be through your Gospel

Or a loving friend who listens,

But every single time

I was told that was not our business.

 

The pyramid scheme of evangelism

Has become so twisted that

It is literally turning me away from you.

But that’s not what I want.

See, you’re a God of peace.

One that only wants what’s good for me,

And you created me to be me.

 

This is never what you wanted.

The Bible says whoever

Leads one of these young ones into sin

Is better to have a millstone tied around their neck

And dropped into the ocean.

Does the church realize

They are the ones creating such commotion?

 

You must be this. You must be that.

Sacrifice this! Get rid of that.

You see, God can’t work in you

Unless you’re obedient.

 

But under the systemic pressure

Of trying to be perfect

To gain respect inside of these pews,

Aren’t you slowly dragging me to

My own spiritual noose?

 

When I think about why it’s worth it,

I think about you.

The God I fell in love with

Not the distorted one I hear about

Through politicized sermons.

In some ways, I lost you

Through my addictions and struggles.

But I shouldn’t overlook

How they claimed to represent you.

 

You’re obviously not trying hard enough.

Try harder!

 

I’ve worked with dozens of people,

And knowing Jesus was enough to recover.

 

Have you tried praying?

 

What do you think?

That’s all I used to do

Before you clouded my mind

With your own arrogant lies!

Just like Adam,

I hide in the garden from you

Because I was too scared to reveal

What was under my fig leaves.

The hurt, the pain

My fears of abandonment

The way I fear that I’m becoming my father

As if it were imminent.

I used to be honest with you God.

I was real with you.

And you did what you promised,

Guiding me into this

Beautiful, intimate relationship.

 

But every time I acted on your Spirit,

I was told by those people

That I was wrong.

No one could hear from God.

If I didn’t hear it directly from “my” pastor

Then it was blasphemy disguised as truth.

He told me I couldn’t speak with you.

Does my walk have to be so dependent

On the words of humans

For me to have the ability to

Connect with you?

 

After that, we stopped speaking.

It’s not because I wanted to God,

But I felt like it wasn’t worth it.

If we couldn’t have a relationship,

Then what was the point of doing any of this?

The Bible promised me intimacy,

Love, and grace beyond my imagination.

And this was true, so true

In my heart.

But I gave it up over what?

The approval of men

Who only wanted to control me.

 

God, you’re worth it.

As much as it pains me,

I have to start the process

Of spiritual healing.

Will our relationship ever be the same, God?

Will I always carry the baggage of

Equating men’s words with yours?

You healed many blind men,

And I’m scared that you’ll heal me

Because if I can’t run away from my problems,

Then I’m scared of what my life might be.

 

You can change my heart.

You can change me.

I just have to walk on the waters and try

Regardless of my fear of drowning.

One step at a time is what they tell us,

So God, show me how to walk again

Because happiness,

Sobriety, and intimacy with you

Is worth it.


Photo by Fran on Unsplash

© 2021 Ziggy Matthews


Author's Note

Ziggy Matthews
My hope is this is relatable not just for Christians, but anyone who has experienced shame, harm, and even abuse throughout their life. Thank you for reading. I greatly appreciate it!

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Featured Review

You know...you've managed to accomplish something I never thought was possible...you got ME to read a religious poem...and actually cling onto every word, too (I know I've said that in every review I've left on your profile, but I can't help it! Your way of poetry is so...CAPTIVATING!!) I'm not really a Christian...being raised Pentecostal, I've never really felt a relationship with god...I used to pray...on the daily...but now it's like nothing matters to me anymore...this poem was simply amazing. I really felt like I was walking in your shoes reading this. I've never been captivated by a religious poem in my life! And then here's this!!!
This was amazing, Ziggy. Thank you for sharing! :)

Kindly, Nix ❤️️

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ziggy Matthews

4 Months Ago

I'm glad to hear it was engaging. Sometimes I get nervous when I write these long poems. A lot of ti.. read more
Nix is typing...

4 Months Ago

You are so very welcome! :)



Reviews

Very painful and very real. I am not much of a religious man, but I was able to feel pain and sadness, the feeling of being lost. Yet, hanging on to the last thread of faith left in you. I love this, but it also hurts me to know you were in such situation.

Posted 4 Months Ago


There is so much that could be said about this write..... but let me start my rant, like I've been dying to do since the beginning of the poem. First of all this is well written. Second, this is a very real poem, about as real as we true followers of God get. I have known this place well. Where you feel so disconnected from God and all you long for is that feeling of closeness that you had in your infancy with him. It is an extremely painful place to be, and only people who have experienced a deep life changing relationship with him can understand this. I could quote the whole poem for lines that were relatable for me, however, the ones that stood out to me the most was this,

"But tell me God,
What do I do if I have become
addicted to the
Pain, suffering?
Needing the self-pity to breathe
and function.
It’s as if my hurts
Have become my drug
Sinking into a depression
Trying to fill this void.
Why am I so scared of you?"

This is the rock bottom of faith. Maybe, we are all supposed to get there at some point? I'm not really sure.

God is amazing, but church can be really toxic. Religion is often just a bunch of people pulling on the strings from behind the scenes, and it really is a shame. I wrote a poem about this very thing called, "Don't be a sheep," which sounds counter intuitive until you actually read it.

In conclusion, you did a great job with this. I respect you a lot for writing about this topic in such a clear and honest way.


Posted 4 Months Ago


A powerful prayer shared Ziggy.
"I just have to walk on the waters and try
Regardless of my fear of drowning.
One step at a time is what they tell us,
So God, show me how to walk again
Because happiness,
Sobriety, and intimacy with you
Is worth it"
I liked the strength of the above lines. I lost and found God often in a life. I saw the worst of men and the best of women. Thank you for sharing the amazing poetry and your thoughts.
Coyote

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You know...you've managed to accomplish something I never thought was possible...you got ME to read a religious poem...and actually cling onto every word, too (I know I've said that in every review I've left on your profile, but I can't help it! Your way of poetry is so...CAPTIVATING!!) I'm not really a Christian...being raised Pentecostal, I've never really felt a relationship with god...I used to pray...on the daily...but now it's like nothing matters to me anymore...this poem was simply amazing. I really felt like I was walking in your shoes reading this. I've never been captivated by a religious poem in my life! And then here's this!!!
This was amazing, Ziggy. Thank you for sharing! :)

Kindly, Nix ❤️️

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ziggy Matthews

4 Months Ago

I'm glad to hear it was engaging. Sometimes I get nervous when I write these long poems. A lot of ti.. read more
Nix is typing...

4 Months Ago

You are so very welcome! :)

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Added on March 7, 2021
Last Updated on March 7, 2021
Tags: poetry, depression, spiritual harm, evangelical, Christianity, God, religion, poem, ziggy, matthews

Author

Ziggy Matthews
Ziggy Matthews

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About
A disturbed "at-risk" child that grew up to become a semi-functional adult and teacher who helps other "at risk" children become semi-functional adults. Writing is my therapy and passion. Realistic fi.. more..

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