An Open Letter to My Friend Who Broke Up with Me – Losing Friends after Leaving Religion

By Tico+Tina

Last updated July 10, 2024

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I had a dream this morning. I have many dreams and they’re always very real, never anything that would make me wonder if it was a “pizza dream”. So real, in fact, that several years ago I started feeling textures. But this morning there were no textures, just a conversation I overheard.

I don’t know why our family was at this other family’s house – we barely knew them (I don’t know them IRL), and weren’t interacting that much. But from the next table over I heard the lady mention your daughter, which highlighted to me to ask her if you allowed her to hang out with them, but I didn’t get the answer because I was instantly awake. My eyes popped open with the immediate realization that one of my recent posts probably would have seemed to prove to you one of the reasons you decided to break up with us. Have you ever been completely asleep one second and completely awake the next? I don’t think I have – I’m usually very groggy if I get woken up mid-dream. Perhaps that’s the difference between being woken up by the 3D physical world vs being woken up by Spirit?

The truth is, I wasn’t looking for friends, so you caught me off-guard.

The first time we hung out I felt very odd. I’m used to filling in the cracks with my energy – raising it in some situations, grounding it in others. With you, I felt like I could just be myself in a different way that I almost didn’t know how.

In hindsight, I had to question if we were ever really friends or if it was really just me-sided all along.

You were in a deep valley when we met, with many difficult circumstances, and I listened a lot. Our conversations were always interesting, though, delving into all sorts of topics. I felt like we matched each other’s weird in many ways. Over time, some of the circumstances got better, but somehow it didn’t free you up to meet me halfway in the friendship. I get that most people default-mode friendship and hanging out. We do life with who’s easily accessible, and connect in convenience. Our friendship was far from convenient, living an hour apart, but we made it work to some extent because of our kids.

I guess I kinda forced a formal breakup because I stopped buying what you were telling me after awhile about why it wasn’t working to hang out. I wasn’t just going to fade away gracefully, because friends don’t do that. But I realized that’s what you were doing to me. So I thought back over our friendship and had the sinking feeling that I had forced the whole thing. Was I really that un-self-aware??? Then I remembered YOU were the one who invited us to move to your town the day after we met… that’s probably part of what made me feel like we were so on the same page from the beginning – because that’s something I would have done! But who knows how many other people you invited also… somehow that hadn’t occurred to me… I know what you said about various whys, but from a broader perspective of the things you did find time to do, it sorta had to largely boil down to beliefs.

I could never figure out what gave you the idea our beliefs were so different than yours, because I don’t think it was our personal conversations. With some of the things you disclosed to me about rather out-there experiences you had, it felt like an unspoken understanding that we could talk about anything without judgment or writing the other person off because we could trust each other’s hearts. That’s why it hurt when you wrote me off. But then I remembered you have a pattern of isolating.

That’s an example of something I didn’t agree with, but could respect to some extent. Everyone is on their own journey and that’s ok. Everyone has value and we can learn something through everyone, if not directly from them, regardless where they are in that journey. I didn’t remotely agree with your conclusions, but I respect you and I respect your journey. That’s why I let you go without a fight and have honored your wishes.

Which reminds me of God, and my post that probably seems to justify your decision.

I realized this morning when my eyes popped open that some things are so obvious to me that I don’t spell them out, which leaves room for major assumptions. Again, why it hurt that you didn’t remember my heart or care enough to talk to me. [I know there was another factor with our kids, but going from a chill environment back to a volatile one does feel emotionally destabilizing to a person, especially when they don’t feel like much of a person in the volatile situation. (I do recognize kids have a very different perspective than adults, and I also would have appreciated being able to have that discussion with you – on the same team, mom to mom, the way we had an unspoken agreement that we respected each other and could trust one another’s interactions with each other’s kids.)]

When you broke up with me I didn’t defend myself or the beliefs you had somehow concluded we had.

But I feel today is the day to leave less room for assumption.

Growing up, it never occurred to me that I was every much a part of a religion as we believed Buddhists, Catholics, Mormons, etc. were. Sure, our church had a denomination, technically, but I never saw it as defining us and certainly not myself. It was never about that – the heart of our belief was “it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship!”

We rejected every objection people had about the church and Christians as coming from a misunderstanding or place of hurt – just imperfect people/sinners saved by grace, or not “true” Christians, or legalism, or the enemy working, etc.

What we largely failed to realize, however, was how rotten the fruit often was, when there was actually any fruit at all…

As the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

We saw 2 good hours, called it God’s perfect timing (sometimes revival), and did our best to shove down the cognitive dissonance of the other 22. While some of us just didn’t want to check the time at all, ignorance being bliss, or like it wasn’t our business anyway.

I began deconstructing the same way most probably do – without realizing it.

All I was doing was looking for clues about the missing fruit. I was trying to understand why the math wasn’t mathing. I was over making all the trite excuses for God.

It all felt so gross to me.

But was I just not surrendered enough? That fear buzzed like a nagging fly around my mind.

Or could it be possible that Holy Spirit was calling to my heart and pulling the loose threads that began to unravel the itchy, hot, ugly, too-small sweater I’d been told was a beautiful white robe?

Eventually, it became apparent the emperor, indeed, had no clothes.

And that fear fly got pretty quiet.

Because I realized it’s impossible to imagine a goodness that’s better than who God is. (Matthew 7:7-11) But the church has continued to receive things from the hand of the enemy while doing their best to surrender to God’s ways being higher than ours, like the suffering slaves they believe they deserve to be……. Friend, do not accept a stone and call it bread or a snake and call it a fish! Jesus says that’s insulting, basically.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why we’ve done this. We were trying to make sense of a broken clock.

Ok God, you said this, but all I’m seeing here is something else, what gives?!?! Oh, I guess your ways are higher and it’s not for me to understand until the great by-and-by.

Meanwhile, God’s like hey guys, your paradigm is broken. I sent Jesus to give you a new one, but you keep trying to find me in the old one that you made yourself…………. in the Garden of Eden….. from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil… talk about distance, distortion, and disempowerment… (Matthew 3:10) (Mark 11:14)

Over the years, I began to recognize the enemy’s voice had been undercover, deeply embedded in my psyche just like in the original Garden, and masquerading as a nagging, guilt-tripping Holy Spirit in my conscience.

Sure, Holy Spirit got through sometimes, but my paradigm had meshed the two together in so many confusing ways. Not unlike many stories from other very well-meaning humans in the Bible, like Balaam, for example, who seemed to be hearing from a bi-polar God. Like the disciples, familiar with Old Testament history, asking Jesus if they should call down fire to consume people, which Jesus rebuked.

My receiver had a lot of static because it wasn’t correctly tuned to who God is.

Trying to adjust the dial based on the Bible, rather than the Word of God made flesh, the person of Truth – Jesus, simply cannot establish a clear connection because it’s full of people interacting with God from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil paradigm.

I know that sounds kinda confusing, especially since many of us know of Jesus mainly through scripture, which does testify OF him and point TO him. But it’s not him. (John 5:39-40) And reading scripture without the starting point of Jesus as our lens literally kills people. See Saul of Tarsus, the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

God is always present, like the loving Dad he is, weaving truth, speaking to hearts, working with our yeses to continue to connect and establish relationship with his children bit by bit.

But he is never controlling. Because Love. is. not. controlling.

There’s a part of me that wants God to be controlling, that feels like it would be so much easier in so many ways, but that’s simply not in his nature.

If you have kids, or have worked with people in any capacity with some awareness, you know that relationships are two-way streets, and all the nuance and variables that go into that.

The greatness of God is that he can turn anything for good, including all of our miss-steps and complete misunderstandings. He’s not controlling, not even our narratives about him… but he is weaving.

God is patient, God is kind, he is not jealous; God does not brag, God is not arrogant. God does not act disgracefully, God does not seek his own benefit; God is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong, God does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; God covers all things, God believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails...

Love is relational, creative, familial.

God wants for us what any good parent wants – to be in relationship and to help us become the fully realized potential of who we are. He has no interest in obedient robots. Just like our kids carry different facets of us and make a beautiful picture of family together, we each carry different facets of our Father.

Just like there is no possible way for anything I accomplish to erase or diminish the glory of my earthly father, because I am who I am because of him and build from the foundation he laid for me, so there is no danger in ever diminishing God’s glory by being the fullest version of I AM here in this dimension. (Acts 17:28, 1 John 4:17)

God did not make this dimension/the earth to destroy it.

And our distortion of him did not change his original purposes.

God did not make humanity so that we would eventually get around to dying and finally be able to be in Heaven with him. (He’s not limited to Heaven, nor are we limited to Earth.)

Death was not any part of God’s purpose or design. He is LIFE.

I heard a different way of understanding recently: God receives people, he does not take them.

Death was never our savior.

That is a seriously demented conclusion straight from hell.

One of a million examples of the way the law of sin is so embedded in our understanding.

The serpent was literally like hey, there’s this concept of I am not, what do you think?

And as we chewed on that apple (more like fig), we were like oh yeah, possibilities must be conclusions.

And as that seed grew within us…

Separation. Death.

To the point we started embracing and HONORING IT.

To the point we made Earth into something to endure until we could access God and a better life more fully…

Somehow reciting, but still missing, the prayer Jesus taught for our Father’s Kingdom to come and his will to be done ON EARTH as in Heaven……

So focused on evangelizing the escape that we all but ignored the gospel/good news Jesus was actually preaching – PRIOR to the cross. What gospel did we think he was telling people to repent and believe in, when all he was doing was going around in AUTHORITY and LOVE, taking the life-changing atmosphere and power of Heaven with him…… he hadn’t died and risen yet! No one even knew that was going to happen, let alone had time to make up the sinner’s prayer yet! WHAT WERE THEY REPENTING AND BELIEVING IN??? (Matthew 4:23, Matthew 9:35, Mark 1:14-15, etc)

I would submit to you that Jesus’ ministry was not a big pre-sale campaign on salvation; that all those people being baptized prior to the cross were not pre-ordering their salvation.

Jesus was fully God, fully holy, fully interacting with every aspect of humanity that had believed since “the fall” that that was no longer possible…

The lamb slain from the foundation of the world… a problem fixed before it was created. THAT is the goodness of God.

Repent: change your conclusions.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

We are always creating aspects of our experiences through our beliefs. Our default conscious interaction with our world is only about 5%, compared to the other 95% of what’s going on subconsciously, under the surface, in the background. That 95% comes out of whatever is programmed in our subconscious minds – what we actually believe, not to be confused with what we say we believe. Thus why our minds need to be renewed for transformation. (Romans 12:2)

Made in the image of the Creator, we also create – I don’t think there’s really any way around that. The question is, how much of that is conscious? Well, I already kind of answered that, I guess. Our perception is creating so much for us. See this experiment of people who thought they had hideous scars on their faces and perceived their public interactions accordingly… no doubt they interacted differently based on their perception of themselves, projected other people’s thoughts about them, and very much changed their actual interactions through their beliefs. Which were completely false, but their perception of what happened during their belief also fully supported their belief.

This is the reality of our understanding of, and interaction with, God.

“The one who is not with Me is against Me; and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.” Matthew 12:30 This goes along with being double-minded and not understanding God’s true nature.

Repent: change your conclusions.

I want my conclusions to match God’s conclusions.

And that is why some of what I say may sound a bit weird or off sometimes, compared to what we’ve come to understand Christianity to be, particularly here in the West. God didn’t make religion, people did.

Ultimately, I understand that it didn’t feel healthy to you to prioritize our friendship. It hurt to have the page I thought we were on together ripped out of my life, and it hurt to think that maybe it was only ever a page in my book, not yours. But at the same time, I know you’re still strongly you and I’m still strongly me. Maybe just two strong ships passing in the night who briefly shone a light on each other. I still appreciate glimpsing that light. And now I aim to be a lighthouse instead of a ship.

We're well-acquainted with being stuck in soul-sucking survival mode, and the intense internal friction of not living in alignment with your potential. We're all about discovering, creating, and sharing adulting cheat codes™ so you can level up faster! -David (Tico) & Chris(tina)

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