Thursday, January 10, 2013

Having a Little Chat with Myself

After relating the story of my baptism to my therapist during a session of EMDR, I was asked to imagine what I would like to say to my 10-year-old self, the little girl who was so fearful of being eternally condemned and who felt compelled to obsess over her big toe. I closed my eyes and held the pulsers in my hands, feeling the vibrations from them alternate from one hand to the other. I let my mind wander and saw the 10-year-old sitting on my lap at a pew in the church where I was baptized. I told her she didn't need to worry over whether her baptism was done correctly or whether she needed to be rebaptized. I told her what really mattered in life was not baptisms but living a life filled with love. I told her to fill her heart and life with loving others.

She was clearly confused. She understood how to fulfill a requirement like baptism, but "living a life filled with love" was vague and impossible to accomplish with certainty. She wanted a neat checklist. How could she be sure she was doing this right? How could she check this off her list with certainty? "On second thought," I said to her, "forget what I just said. What I really want you to know is that you're too young to be worrying about baptism. Don't give it another thought. You're too young to understand." She smiled and relaxed. She was glad not to have to worry about her eternal fate. It was just too much for a 10-year-old. It made me smile with watery eyes to see her so relieved.

   

9 comments:

  1. I'm afraid my 10 year-old self would be too suspicious of my present self undermining the Bible that way. I've learned to live with occasional mental unrest of my new mindset which replaced the old. (But that's okay, I'm also really only joking when I tell my friend's at work that I'm thinking about selling out and moving back in with my mom. At least I think I am!)

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    1. Doug, my therapist blends emdr with internal family systems therapy, which involves interacting with different parts of yourself. Part of doing that successfully involves finding ways to establish trust and caring among the parts. So you are right on about your young part having some distrust of your current self.

      You know, it might actually be wise at some point for you and your mom to live together, given her age.

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  2. DoOrDoNot,

    Did you do this non-verbally (quietly to yourself) while with the therapist or verbally (audible to your therapist)?

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    1. While I imagined and held the pulsers it was nonverbal. However, periodically he would stop the pulsers and I would share what I had experienced and then we would repeat the process.

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    2. Okay, thanks. A little of both then.

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  3. The older I get the more I think making children make decisions about things like "eternal destiny" is child abuse.

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    1. That's one of the reasons I still carry guilt and shame regarding the raising of my own children and the ministry Biker Dude and I were in . . . youth ministry. *sigh* I've spent years working through it and I think I've come to terms regarding "living with it." There will always be a hint of guilt when it comes to this I think.

      At the time though, to not help children make the decision would have seemed abusive. What a mess.

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  4. Why do Baptists insist on immersion? It is baffling that a Christian denomination that shuns all trappings of "Catholic ritual" would insist that the Christian rite of Baptism be performed in such a rigid, ritualistic manner that they even surpass the strict adherence to ritualistic form of the Roman Catholic Church!

    Even if you believe that baptism is only for the purpose of a public profession of your faith, that it has nothing to do with salvation or the forgiveness of sins, why DEMAND that this rite be performed EXACTLY "as Jesus did it"??

    Christianity is about the heart, not the external ritual!

    http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/09/baptism-are-baptists-more-ritualistic.html

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  5. Happy (you've been gone a year) Anniversary! *grin*

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