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  1. “Growing up without a TV, never going to the movies, being terrified (literally) of rock music, and only having friends at my church – I lived in a clean, sterile little bubble of Christian goodness.”

    ^ ^ that was all me, no tv, my dad controlled and watched any kid’s movie before we watched it, never went to the movies until after I graduated high school, and rock music was taught to us that it was of the devil.

    I felt the same way at the college I went to and eventually had to leave because my anxiety from it all was too great. In answer to your question, when I finally got away from it all, (my parent’s divorced, I quit college and went home to finish online) and got in a good church I realized that I can’t go by my parent’s convictions. I have to go by my own- what’s right between God and I.

    The rock music struggle was one the biggest strongholds as I always felt immensely guilty even listening to Christian music with a beat,but eventually God showed me that these things aren’t sins. It doesn’t say thou shalt not listen to this music or go to the theaters in the Bible. It gives us rules and guildlines and it is up to each of us to decide how we meet those – it is our convictions and it is between us and God.

    Some may feel it’s wrong to watch rated R movies, while others may not. We can’t be their Holy Spirit and we can’t judge. Each of us answers to God and God only and the things we choose to do or not do – our convictions are between us and God.

    Great post! I was like you in so many ways… but I was able to get away from it more after my parent’s divorced. My mom was much more lenient than my dad was on these things.

  2. Brandy

    Exactly what I thought when I read your quote about your “bubble”, Jesus did not live in a bubble. It is a difficult balance but we need to be able to connect to sinners. He purposely sought out some of the people who were looked on as being the “worst sinners.” And, he called out the people (Pharisees) who thought they were perfect and above everyone else. However, I do think that we need to evaluate the things we are watching,listening to, etc. If we feel convicted, then we shouldn’t do it. I also think that it’s hard for kids who grow up in this kind of environment to make sound decisions when they enter the world and they have been sheltered so much and not seen the reality.

  3. heartsonguard

    My experience is so different from yours. I grew up outside the bubble. My dad was a Christian (but not – his views don’t really mesh with scripture), and my mom was an atheist (having been turned off from Christ early on after being told her non believing parents were doomed for hell). I grew up as a stubborn atheist who knew the Lord’s Prayer but scoffed at any notion that God was real. Then He called me and gave me the Holy Spirit , and I longed for a Christian bubble away from the world. It took me years to see that we need to be in the world, and we do need to get our hands dirty. If we don’t, we can’t serve others. We can’t share God’s message of grace from a bubble floating above. We can’t truly serve The Lord if we are propping ourselves up above him (which is really what we are doing when we insist that we can be good enough and that our deeds are what earn us salvation. To believe that is to deny his word when he blatantly tells us otherwise (Ephesians 2:8-10). :). I have loved this series and learning about your history.

    • Thank you, “April” for sharing your perspective, and for reading! I know my upbringing is so different, and I’ve heard the same thing from others who grew up in a secular/Godless environment – how they longed for standards, convictions, clean/holy living, protection from sin because they were never protected from it, and were hurt by it. Sin has so many consequences and causes so much heartache, and I hope that people know that I am not trying to discount that. But a lot of rules, standards, and judgment can also cause a lot of heartache and that’s the issue that I’m hoping to shed light on.

      There has to be a balance, for sure, between the two extremes. I haven’t completely figured out what that balance is for me personally, which is why I’m overly thankful for grace! I don’t know that we will ever fully understand the balance between lawlessness and grace out this side of heaven!

  4. Aprille,
    What a series you have going here, girl. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. So, there was never a bubble (which as you know, comes with it’s own problems!), but this post is a reminder to all of us even today, as parents, evaluate how we are raising our kiddos.

  5. I grew up in my parents’ own version of a bubble – not as strict and conservative as your’s, but still a bubble with boundaries that I have had to pop and learn to make my own space as an adult. It’s definitely interesting now being a parent myself and the responsibility to care for their hearts and minds, yet at the same time not wanting to place such tight restrictions as I had as a child. It’s a constant battle!

    • I hear ya. I think my grandparents generation (as parents), at least from my experience with my parents, was a little bit more liberal with rules – so my parents tried to do the opposite, and in so doing may have swung the pendulum the opposite way. I’m nervous I will do the same, but in the opposite direction again, and be too liberal or permissive with my parents. Seeking wisdom DAILY for parenting, because it’s terrifying!

  6. […] Introduction: some self-observations about legalism Part 1: what is “legalism”? Part 2: standing under the broken heart Part 3: hiding in shame, packing up my dreams Part 4: when you “trust and obey” but your heart still gets broken Part 5: when you’ve been hurt by legalism, hold onto faith Part 6: What do Brad Pitt, Josh Groban, and Sleepless in Seattle have in common? […]

  7. […] heart still gets broken Part 5: when you’ve been hurt by legalism, hold onto faith Part 6: What do Brad Pitt, Josh Groban, and Sleepless in Seattle have in common? Part 7: perfection is not possible Part 8: finding healing and freedom in secular music Part 9: […]

  8. […] your heart still gets broken Part 5: when you’ve been hurt by legalism, hold onto faith Part 6: What do Brad Pitt, Josh Groban, and Sleepless in Seattle have in common? Part 7: perfection is not possible Part 8: finding healing and freedom in secular music Part […]

  9. […] your heart still gets broken Part 5: when you’ve been hurt by legalism, hold onto faith Part 6: What do Brad Pitt, Josh Groban, and Sleepless in Seattle have in common? Part 7: perfection is not possible Part 8: finding healing and freedom in secular music Part […]

  10. holly

    My parents raised me in such the same way. It wasn’t until after we were married that I started feeling OK with even watching movies, any movies, on a regular basis. Then I was in college full time and felt so very out of place, because I didn’t know what they were talking about. Even their ways of talking to each other and relating to each other were so different. So I began binge watching movies from the library, feeling guilty, yet desperate to understand more of this world i was in. Through this, and through getting to know college and work people better, i came to realize that the world out there had some good parts, that the bubble was kinda boring and stifling, that sometimes people outside the church loved me better than those inside. At this point, since I have a vivid imagination and a tendency toward anxiety, I do try to be careful what I watch and listen to; but I’ve come to appreciate the talents that God’s given creative musicians, screenwriters, and actors, even if they don’t acknowledge him as the giver.

    • I’ve heard from others going through this experience (as well as from personal experience) that spending a lot of time watching TV shows and “worldly” movies was a huge part of recovery, healing, and getting acclimated to the much bigger world of humanity that’s out there. I love me some Netflix therapy!!

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