The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: speaking truth

It’s Time to Get Real

For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to share my faith journey here on my platform. I keep putting it off because there’s so much I want to share and say, and I don’t know where to start. But getting started is always the biggest hurdle. The only way to get over it is just to pick a point and go for it.

So I’m going for it. I feel like this is necessary because in a time when so many Big Name Christians are “deconstructing” their beliefs and falling away from the faith loudly and publicly, obviously wanting to take as many people as they can down with them, it’s important to hear stories from those who, like me, have faced challenges, carefully examined their beliefs, scrutinized scripture, and come out stronger in their faith than ever before.

First, some background. I came to know Christ at a very young age. I’ve been saved as long as I can remember, and there’s not a time in my life that I’m conscious of when I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus or a reliance on God. I’ll spare you the details, but growing up with a narcissist and alcoholic for a father, my faith got me through a lot of chaos and hard times. I’ve been a prayer warrior from the age of four or five. I learned very early on how to effectively pray.

That’s both because and in spite of the fact that my family were believers. My earliest church memories are of a Vineyard-style charismatic church down the road from where we lived. My dad, though he was apathetic about God, didn’t want us going there and so at some point he started taking us to a Methodist church. He soon stopped going, but my mom continued to take us there faithfully for years, until the teaching there started taking an uncomfortably progressive turn. After that, she got us back into a non-denominational charismatic church with a strong Full Gospel flavor. And all the while, every summer a nearby Baptist church bused all the kids in my neighborhood to their Vacation Bible School. I say all of this only to point out that I had a pretty eclectic religious upbringing, and I’ve never had any loyalties to any particular denomination.

But from the time I was about 14 on, we attended the same non-denom charismatic church. Some might label it hyper-charismatic. It was heavily steeped in prosperity and Word of Faith teaching and practiced a lot of things that I wouldn’t realize until much later were unbiblical. A lot of it never sat quite right with me, but I couldn’t articulate why, and I thought the problem was with me.

Fast forward to my early thirties, when I met the man who would become my husband. By this point I had stopped attending church, though I still prayed regularly and cracked my Bible open on occasion. One evening, early in our dating relationship, I sat across from him at a coffee shop and fell more and more in love with him as he spoke animatedly and enthusiastically about the Bible, and simultaneously more and more convicted that I, a life-long Christian, knew so little about what was actually written in the word outside of the passages that prosperity teachers love to return to again and again.

The next day, I opened my Bible and started reading through the Epistles. I kept it up, day after day, and soon it became a habit. I started it mainly so I could keep up with Matt in conversation, but it didn’t take long for my eyes to be opened to the deception I’d been under for so long, and how so much of what I’d been taught was not actually what the Bible said.

That was the beginning of what I call my Great Spiritual Awakening, a process that is still ongoing today. Since then, I’ve gone through so much and learned even more. I’ve grown in ways I’d never imagined, but I’ve also fallen into — and been delivered from — other forms of deception, which I’ll be talking about here in future posts. The point of all of this is to say, the antidote for deception is knowing the truth that’s written in God’s word.

I’ll say that again: the antidote for deception is knowing the truth that’s written in God’s word.

We’re in a time right now where deception is rampant, both in the Church and in the greater world outside. We’re constantly being deceived by the media, by politicians, by doctors, by false teachers and false gospels, by conspiracy theories and people accusing us of being conspiracy theorists if we merely question the narrative, by gaslighting and propaganda… the list goes on. It’s mind-boggling, and it can feel next to impossible to know where to go for actual truth, especially in a culture that denies that objective truth is even a thing that exists.

But God’s word is truth, and it can arm you against deception and equip you to see through the lies.

For a good long while, I’ve been praying about how God wants me to show up in this small space I’ve carved out here online, and how he wants me to use my talents. He’s given me a gift for wrangling words, and I’m sure I’m meant to do more with it than tell stories about ghosts and zombies or write about dogs and cats for a living. I’ve been hesitant to dive in, partly because, like I said earlier, there’s so much to say and it’s overwhelming. And partly because it’s such a huge responsibility. I don’t want to presume to take the place of a teacher, and I certainly don’t want to come off as trying to be anyone’s Holy Spirit substitute, pushing my personal convictions onto others.

But what I know for sure is that I want to use the measure of talent and influence I’ve been given to be a light in the darkness and to combat deception with truth. And more than anything, I want to inspire women to put away fluffy, shallow Instagram Christianity and pick up their actual Bibles, to learn what is actually written in its pages, to arm themselves against deception and armor up against the spiritual onslaught that’s facing our Church, our nation and our world.

The time is past for me to fly under the radar and be timid about sharing my faith and experience.

So from here on out I’m going to be using this space (not exclusively, mind… I’ll still talk about writing, and life, and whatever strikes my fancy) to do just that. If you’re concerned I’m going to be constantly preaching, that’s not my goal. The Bible is actually a really cool and amazing book, and I hope to help you see that. And to say that Jesus himself is amazingly cool is the mother of all understatements.

We’re going to get into some interesting stuff. I”m going to share some personal stories. We’re going to talk about why I quit doing yoga, and the Enneagram, and mindfulness meditation and contemplative prayer. We’re going to talk about the historicity of the Bible and why you can trust it. We’re going to talk about the supernatural and the Powers that are waging war in the unseen realms. We’re going to talk about HOW to study your Bible, as well as WHY. We’re going to be examining false gospels and heresies and why they’re false and heretical. We’re going to look at what truly makes a Christian, Christian. I’m going to be pointing you to good teachers who can explain everything so much better than I can, and reviewing and recommending books and other resources. And more!

These times are scary, but they’re also exciting. And I was scared when I started this post, but now that I’ve laid all of this out I’m excited about this new direction.

What a time to be alive, y’all. Let’s do this.

Photo by Ryan Riggins on Unsplash

Please understand me!

When I first started dipping my toes into the Enneagram, one of the first numbers I miss-typed myself as was a Four. Fours are famous for always feeling misunderstood, and I can identify so heavily with that feeling. As it turns out, I’m actually a Nine. What sealed the deal on my Nineness was recognizing the core fear of people becoming angry with me, and that if that happened they would reject me. And I’ve always felt like the reason people get mad at me, more often than not, is that they just don’t understand me and where I’m coming from. If only I could make them see, then everything would be okay and they would still love me.

Naturally, this fear led to a tendency to constantly feel the need to explain myself, and often to overexplain my thinking and motivations behind my choices and actions. And it’s not only that I hoped to avoid conflict by doing so, but that I sought validation and permission. I wanted others to give their blessing as confirmation that I was doing the right thing so I could go forward in confidence that the thing I wanted wouldn’t lead to conflict.

But the thing is, as I’ve started doing the work of healing from the childhood trauma and wounding that instilled these core fear and beliefs, and untangling myself and my identity from the expectations and labels placed on me by others, I realized how little I even understand myself. This is another thing about Nines – we tend to merge with the ideas, expectations and preferences of others in order to go along to get along and not make anyone angry, which can leave us very confused and uncertain about who we actually are and what we actually want for ourselves. We also tend to fall asleep to this confusion, becoming unaware of it, and also of the anger and resentment that inevitably accompanies such confusion and self-denial.

But I’ve come to realize that it’s not fair for me to expect understanding from others when I don’t even fully understand myself.

And as I’ve been doing this work of waking up to my true self, I’ve realized a few more things that I’d like to share, because these truths don’t just apply to me.

1. No one is obligated to understand me, let alone to approve of me or like me.

There’s a well-known motivational speaker whose Kool-Aid I sipped for a while before deciding her overall message is not for me, but one thing she says that has been helpful is that what other people think of you is none of your business. Pleasing others is not my job and it’s not why I was put on this planet, and if I keep trying to please everyone and make everyone like me, or go through life avoiding conflict at all costs, I won’t have much of a life.

2. My worth and value as a person does not come from other people’s validation or approval or love.

My worth and value come from God alone, whose word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, created in His image, on purpose FOR a purpose, and that purpose does not include being universally liked our accepted. In fact, the very fact that I follow His Son means that many, if not most, will despise and reject me because of that simple fact. I can’t possibly fullfil my purpose and my calling and be a people pleaser at the same time.

3. I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, I have no obligation to explain my life choices or my boundaries to anyone, least of all to the ones who abused me, went out of their way to make me feel less than, and made those boundaries necessary in the first place. Jesus said to let your yes be yes and your no be no. He didn’t say to wrap them in explanations or excuses to make them more palatable to those on the receiving end. Like Oprah – who I am NOT putting on the same plane as Jesus, just to be clear – said, No is a complete sentence.

4. Other people’s anger at or rejection of me often has nothing to do with me.

People often tend to project their own tendencies, beliefs and motivations onto others, whether consciously or unconsciously. And very often, other people’s reactions are filtered through their own core beliefs and childhood wounds and the warped perceptions resulting from both of those. The only thing you or I can do about that is to offer compassion and grace, but beyond that, to let it go and accept that we’re not everyone’s cup of tea.

5. Disagreement, conflict and even someone getting upset with me do not automatically equal rejection of me as a person or mean that the relationship will be damaged beyond repair. 

This is a hard one for us Nines to wrap or heads around, but I mean. My husband’s not going to leave me or decide I’m too difficult to be with if I want to eat at a different restaurant than he does. And any friend worth keeping isn’t going to dump me if I state my honest opinion about something – even politics – and it differs from theirs. People disagree all the time and even have fights and walk away still loving each other. No one who genuinely loves me is going to stop loving me over a disagreement. No one who genuinely loves YOU is going to stop loving you over a disagreement. And if that actually does happen? Refer to lesson number four.

These truths have not been easy to lay hold of, and I still struggle sometimes to do so. After all, a lifetime of conditioning and programming takes a long time to undo. But understanding them has brought me so much freedom and space to figure out who I really am and what kind of life I want for myself and my family, to discover my authentic self and the unique expression of Christ I was created to be in this world, and to live and speak and operate from that place of authenticity.

It’s still a work in progress, but each little step on the journey is a victory work celebrating. I hope you pause to celebrate each step on your own journey to wholeness. ❤️

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