Walking Away From The Old And Into The New

by Yvonne Chase on January 2, 2022

If I had to pick a theme for 2021, it would be walking away. My greatest accomplishment and what I am most proud of is being a cycle breaker. I went full no-contact and walked away from a narcissistic abusive family of origin. There is no going back. That chapter of my life is closed. It’s been a long time coming, and I am grateful that I got out alive and with my health intact. Whenever my lifelong friend SJ and I talk about it, he says, “With all that you had to endure, most people would have given up and or committed suicide.” He is right. Suicide is an unfortunate result of narcissistic abuse, yet the thought has never crossed my mind. Life is too bountiful and beautiful.

walking away

I also walked away from a spiritually abusive pastor and church, The Brooklyn Tabernacle; yes, that Brooklyn Tabernacle with the Grammy award-winning choir that I was once a part of in the alto section. I felt uncomfortable sitting in the congregation for many years, especially while listening to this sermon because something about Pastor Cymbala never sat right with me. You should know that at the end of this letter was a request to meet with the pastoral team to share my concerns about the message. Not only did Pastor Cymbala block me from his inbox, but that request fell on deaf ears. So, what is spiritual abuse? David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen, authors of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, define it as:

The mistreatment of a person who needs help, support, or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining, or decreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment. It overrides a person’s emotions without regard for the consequences. Power is used to bolster the position or needs of a leader, over and above one who comes to them in need. Spiritual abuse happens when the caregiver fails to care for the person seeking help. Instead, they use that person to meet their own needs, perhaps out of needing affirmation or support of their authority.

During my time there, I had several meetings with the pastoral staff, who was manipulative, controlling, dishonest, and dictatorial. I should have left when I was escorted out of this Bible study, but I continued to attend. I also should have left when the choir was singing during a Sunday evening service, and a pastor walked up on stage and asked my friend to come with him. A few minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder from my friend who said, let’s go. I hurriedly grabbed my purse, and we left. When he told me the reason, I was astonished.

I thought someone died or there was a life-threatening emergency. No one died. The reason given was the absence of a jacket, shirt, and tie that was distracting to Carol, the choir director. I cannot make this stuff up. He wasn’t wearing a tank top with pierced nipples protruding which he did not have, by the way. Instead, he wore a short-sleeved dress shirt with a pair of black slacks and hard sole Sunday best shoes. He left the church and never returned, not even for a visit.

As I was walking away from the old and what no longer serves me, I am walking into newness. New places, new people, new projects, and new passions. According to Google, I visited over 1,000 places and twenty-five cities in 2021. One of those places is a new church where I have direct access to the pastor and his family, a musical family I have been a huge fan of for a long time.

walking away

We will see what God has in store even though I am over all the antics that come with attending church. I told my pastor so a couple of weeks ago. Meeting real people to do life with is the goal, not people hiding behind a spiritual mask. I am sincerely over the Sunday masquerade show, yet I remain optimistic. Logging on from my bed during the pandemic was perfect. Since we are still not fully out of it with Omicron floating in the air, I just might continue that practice. In closing, I am walking into 2021 with confidence and gratitude. Crystal clear about my boundaries while leaving room for whatever God wants to do in me and through me. Onward and upward.

Something to think about…

What say you? What did you walk away from in 2021? 

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now: 

1. Leave a comment below

2. Share this post even if you don’t like it. Someone might like it or need it

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley January 3, 2022

I’m sorry that you’ve had such bad experiences but glad that you’ve been able to find some closure in 2021 to move on and leave it behind. Praying that you know God’s blessing as you step into the new things he has for you in 2022!

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Yvonne Chase January 4, 2022

@Lesley,

I appreciate your kind words. Know that I am the happiest I have ever been because I am free. God’s got me. He knows what I endured and he will make it all right. He’s a just God.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Walking Away From The Old And Into The NewMy Profile

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Lauren Renee Sparks January 3, 2022

Wow. I am so sorry. I pray 2022 holds many blessings – spiritual and otherwise – for you.
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Yvonne Chase January 11, 2022

@Lauren,

Thank you. 2022 is already off to a great start and holding many blessings because I am free. It feels great to know that certain chapters of life will never repeat.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…People Who Are Easy To Lose Aren’t Worth KeepingMy Profile

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~ linda January 4, 2022

I am so sorry that you had such an experience at such a church as that. I was quite shocked at that fact myself. But there are people of all sorts everywhere we are. May God bind up those wounds. May He use those experiences to use you for His kingdom on earth. You are loved with an everlasting love.

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Yvonne Chase January 4, 2022

@Linda,

Thank you. You are right; there are people of all sorts everywhere. We need to stop placing preachers and people on pedestals. That’s how preachers like Ravi Zacharias and others like my pastor get away with all kinds of abuse. No one would ever believe what goes on at the Brooklyn Tabernacle because it’s been placed so high up in the clouds.
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Joanne Viola January 5, 2022

It saddens me deeply when churches are not what they should be. May we, the Bride of Christ, repent and seek forgiveness, for this world needs Jesus desperately. May we represent Him well. I cannot imagine how we are grieving His heart when we have so harmed and hurt His people.
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Yvonne Chase January 11, 2022

@Joanne,

I put up with a lot at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Enough was enough. And yes, we, Christians, the body of Christ and especially those in leadership, need to represent Jesus well.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…People Who Are Easy To Lose Aren’t Worth KeepingMy Profile

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Michele Morin January 6, 2022

How sad when appearances take precedence over true ministry. I am walking away from excess in 2022 and walking toward rest.

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PaulaShort January 6, 2022

So nice to meet you, Yvonne, Wow! I’m so sorry you went through pastoral abuse. Thank you doe sharing this powerful message today. Blessings.
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Donna January 7, 2022

Yvonne, thank you for sharing your experience; I had a similar experience and have walked away from a church who never even bothered to ask why.
Sometimes it’s not family or church, sometimes it’s habits or practices that no longer serve us. We need to be brave enough to let go so we can move on and grow.
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Yvonne Chase January 11, 2022

@Donna,

Thank you. I love your addition of habits and practices that no longer serve us. Yes to moving on and growing.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…People Who Are Easy To Lose Aren’t Worth KeepingMy Profile

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Jerralea Winn Miller January 12, 2022

So very sorry you experienced such pain. It is sad when the church wounds their own.

Love your attitude though! It is true sometimes we need to walk away. Our journey to our forever Home is more important than any set back we have endured. I’m glad you are excited about what God has for you in 2022. Onward and upward!
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Lisa Blair January 19, 2022

This says it all, Yvonne, “Yet the thought never crossed my mind. Life is too bountiful and beautiful.”

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