Bubble Boys and Girls: There’s LIFE Outside!

One day, many years ago (five or six, to be exact), I was driving from a small, bayou filled town named Broussard, Louisiana that just contained our church, an Albertson’s and a pizza place to Lafayatte, a slightly larger city. I remember turning the corner of one street, the clouds hazy over my car looking like it might rain, thinking, I really hate living here. I hate the weather. I hate this city. Nothing is appealing to me here…But I feel like I can’t leave.

There were many times I didn’t feel fulfilled at my cult life. I felt my dreams were stripped of me, while I was forced to do a job that would get someone higher up their dreams. It was a sad place to be for someone who dreamed a lot–like me.

There are some readers who are still in that ministry group, or in that church, who read this and want out. I know how you feel. I felt that once. At that point driving, I thought of leaving, but I wondered, What options do I have? What would I do with my life? What ARE my dreams?

I’d never given myself full liberty to think about MY own dreams and ambitions, while I was “serving my pastor.” I didn’t think about my options in life, either. I just assumed I’d wasted seven years of my life in ministry and if I left now, I’d leave everything I’d built my life around.

One afternoon, I told my sister I wanted to leave and how the pastor had told me he COULD send me to India to do missionary work (which was at the time, my dream) but he wouldn’t. He didn’t think I could handle it.

My sister said, “You know, Lisa, there are so many groups you could work overseas with. It doesn’t have to be them. The Catholics have missionaries, the Seventh-Day Adventist groups, etc.” She went on to list various groups who did missionary work similar to what I’d wanted to do.

It gave me hope. If someone was going to stop what I thought was God’s will and MY dream for my life, to abuse me for their own, then I could do something about it.

I also started thinking about college. I’d been thinking about college for years prior, and had asked to go, but the answer was always, NO!

In high school, I’d always gotten good grades and been very academic, so I knew I wanted to go to college. I finally started looking into it during my last few months in Louisiana. I even filled out an application to University of Louisiana, Lafayette. I was going to stay and work for the pastor, but he said he didn’t think I could work for him AND go to school at the same time. It’d be a lot for me to handle.

Instead, I ended up moving home to attend a California State University close to my parents. Within weeks, I was accepted to the school and to the Helen Hawke Honor’s Program based on my high school GPA and SAT scores.

Over the next few years, I finally decided that creative writing was something I’d always wanted to do–since I was a little girl. I said good-bye to the dream of becoming a “missionary” but didn’t say good-bye to my humanitarian nature. Instead, the more I learned in college, the more dedicated I became to humanitarian crises and awareness of how to help. Mine was not a religious calling, I found. It never was.

My writing developed over the years. For years, I knew I was a writer, but felt people would judge me and I just felt mute. I couldn’t show anyone anything and worse yet, I couldn’t even type things out for fear someone would read them and judge me. I cried in class when anyone would criticize my work.

Then, I moved cities and took some writing classes. I was published and had to read to around 300 people. I made friends with a great writing community of wonderfully creative, smart people whom I miss. I was surrounded by writing professors who believed in me.

I’ve also taken up painting, drawing and photography. My writing is often realistic and unapologetic but my paintings are lively and show life as eternal springtime.

The point of my post? There is LIFE and DREAMS and AMBITIONS in this great, big world out here. Come out and play! It might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.

8 thoughts on “Bubble Boys and Girls: There’s LIFE Outside!”

  1. I fully, wholeheartedly agree. There is life outside of the bubble, and it’s better than being inside.

  2. As the sister, I know it’s important to find something you enjoy doing and feel like you have made an accomplishment with your choice.

  3. Hi

    Loving oneself can be of two types; selflessly and selfishly.

    The oppressor in your story luvz himself bt selfishly; keeping his ego in his mind all the time.

    U, too, luv yourself and so want to live better but NOT at the cost of others.

    U,too, love yrself but selflessly; toward carving out a smarter, more knowledgeable and successful U in order to physically help those in need, to put a smile on their faces and get to your spiritual station instead of turning into firewood for hell.

    In your writing, there lies a dynamic painting made with the brush of Pain and Sorrow using the colors of newfound Determination and Love. And what comes through is a near perfect blend of servant-hood and godliness. . . acquired on the path of Self-Discovery.

    A humble suggestion still remains that you must keep asking for more closeness with GOD who transcends everything seen and unseen which people ascribe to HIM. And continue to seek refuge in HIM from the accursed satan (who can come in any shape and form). GOD BLESS…

  4. It is truly amazing what one person can do when they are loved and have people who believe in them! The ironic thing is that so many people joining your ex “cult” were seeking that same love and encouragement when they joined, and from the sounds of it most of you didn’t find it until after you left!

    Just a thought, and I promise nothing is implied, do you think you would have truly appreciated that freedom and encouragement without going through the hell you did? After all, skies are generally there blue-ist after a thunderstorm!

    Congrats on all of your post “cult-life” success!

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