Rarely do I write or speak about my religious faith. I keep that part of my life out of my public communications for a reason. Religious beliefs come in many forms and degrees and for some are non-existent. I do not want my beliefs to turn away someone who could benefit from my message of hope for survivors.
Today I will stray from the secular and include a story related to my faith. It is the best way to convey my message. Think of it as the slice of bread needed to indulge in the peanut butter and jelly.
Sunday morning I attended the service at my church. The sermon, in brief, was how Christians show their faith. Attending church on Sunday is not enough. Christians should be willing to “wear” their faith by example.
As I sat there I thought; this is a pretty simple message and one we have heard many times. By the end of the sermon my mind was already moving on to what I was doing next in my day. Well, believe me I was not prepared for what our pastor asked us to do next.
When the organist began playing we were asked to profess our faith in some public display either by walking up to the altar, standing, or raising a hand in the air. It was a means of saying, “I accept my role as a Christian.” My first thought was: Whoa, I’m not a “Praise the Lord”, “Alleluia”, kind of person. I wasn’t sure how I would react until the music started. In that instant it became clear to me that I was receiving a strong message and it was directly related to my work with sexual abuse.
Here are my thoughts:
As committed as I am to breaking the silence of sexual abuse, helping victims and working to educate others, it is not always easy. What I write, say and do on a daily basis can raise my personal issues of abuse. Sometimes my openness about abuse is not well received. And recently, I have experienced frustration with people still wanting to stick their heads in the sand rather than learn how to prevent child sexual abuse.
Society is not ready to break the silence of sexual abuse. The only way to make a difference; give a voice to victims; help others heal and end sexual abuse, is by sticking our necks out, putting ourselves in that uncomfortable place and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and say it out loud!
The message resonated with me on Sunday and was important enough to share. Whatever your cause—domestic violence, sexual abuse, autism, aids, gay rights or going green, you will not make a difference unless you are willing to wear your cause on the outside even when it is uncomfortable.
On Sunday, I walked out of church with my strength renewed. I will keep “preaching” my story of sexual abuse, even when it is hard to do. I will do it because it is my cause and I will make a difference.
If you are passionate about a cause don’t keep it to yourself. Embrace it and wear it on the outside, say it out loud!
You must be the change you want to see in the world.