Reading Time: The Book That Led Me to Let Go of Christianity

Have you ever read a book that changed your life? I have.

It’s called Dying To Be Me, by Anita Moorjani.

This book impacted me SO much, I wrote about it a LOT in my own first book, Bliss Beyond Belief.

In today’s 8-min. episode of “Reading Time” I read out of my book, Bliss Beyond Belief, Chapter 9: From Religion to SPIRIT. This powerful section reveals the moment I was inspired to LET GO of my Christian beliefs.

“Dying To Be Me,” is the book that inspired me to take this brave step in my journey of awakening. And my life has never been the same! Enjoy these powerful 8 minutes of my magical journey out of religion, into Spirit.

Reading Time with Noelle – Episode 2 – “The Book That Led Me To Let Go of Christianity”

Did you miss last week’s episode of “Reading Time with Noelle”? It’s a powerful one that made a lot of people cry, including me!!

For over 2 years, I did almost nothing but journal and learn how to connect with myself. I felt guilty for doing this, I felt lazy, I felt crazy, and yet it was the BEST gift I’ve ever given myself and is the REASON I’m such a powerful, productive person today. If you struggle with feeling the need to be productive with your time, as opposed to just ENJOYING your time, you will be VERY UPLIFTED by this video. Enjoy!

Reading Time with Noelle – Episode 1 – “How Doing NOTHING for 2 Years Led Me to My Dream Life”

Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss an episode of “Reading Time”! Click HERE to subscribe.

Time to Share the FULL ME Again

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I’m gonna be honest with you, I’ve been holding back a big part of myself lately. Last year this same time, I blogged about my journey of moving beyond Christianity . . . and it was scary and exciting and controversial and it was kind of the rite of passage for me becoming a fully authentic version of myself.

But since then, I’ve held back.

I like the peace that comes from not talking about controversial subjects. And there is a time to hold back, and there is a time to share. And now the time has come to share again.

I realized this morning that I’ve been holding back, not for fear of judgment anymore, but because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable . . . my family, people who still really love Christianity and church, and I thought . . . I will just keep that part of myself to myself.

But then I had the thought, “What if I didn’t worry about people being uncomfortable? What if I could just feel free to be me, and stop feeling responsible for everyone else? What if there is no more perfect time to be ME, than now? What if I could just share from my heart about where I’m at with my faith, with no agenda to convince anyone else, but with the simple desire to share ALL of me. To hold nothing back, to just allow myself to BE ME? Don’t I deserve that?”

Of course I do. I let everyone else be who they are. And I admire it when people share authentically.

And I also had the thought,

“How can I NOT share something that’s brought me so much freedom? So much joy and peace and ecstasy? How can I keep that to myself?”

So here’s the deal: I’m not gonna let the worry about others being uncomfortable keep me from sharing anymore.

And in this week’s upcoming Coffee Time show, I share it all. All the stuff I’ve been holding back. And it feels pretty damn incredible. Huge weight lifted. So thank you, Amy Winebrenner, for your post on my Facebook page yesterday that inspired me that I can share ALL of me, even the controversial parts, and that others don’t have to agree with me in order for us to love each other. More to come on this subject.

And make sure to stay tuned for Coffee Time this week. This is one you are NOT going to want to miss. Raw. Real. Controversial. Fully Me.

P.S. Haven’t seen my weekly YouTube show yet? It’s 25 minutes of inspiration every week — just me in my van, drinking coffee with you, talking about lots of great stuff that will encourage and inspire you.

See all 26 Episodes of Coffee Time Here

Look Beyond The Cross, To The Miracle (#8 of 10 Things My Hero Jesus Wants To Say To Christians)

In every experience of our lives, we choose what we see. One person looks at the snow falling today, and sees only the discomforting realities: dangerous roads, freezing temperatures, annoying commute to work, etc. And another person sees only the beauty and magic:  She sees the snow as fairy dust that covers everything with purity, she hears the enchanting music and sees the splendor as the white flakes transform the world into a wonderland, calling her to explore her own grand adventure.

For 2,000 years, Christianity has been focused on the crucifixion of Jesus.  The suffering. The torment that Jesus endured as punishment for our sins. Movies have been made that glorify the intense suffering he endured. He is still pictured in many churches, hanging on the cross. Many churches encourage us to focus on the pain he endured, which reminds us daily of the punishment that we deserve as humans, just for being born.

As a little girl learning about Jesus’ intense suffering, I became afraid that I would suffer someday like that too. It’s a natural thought to have, when you are taught to follow Jesus. I took the call to follow him very seriously, and I had nightmares about one day possibly having to endure what he did. I didn’t want to be a mediocre Christian – I wanted to be just like him – courageous, loving, and willing to die for what I believed. I knew he already took my punishment, and that I didn’t NEED to suffer, but I wanted to be willing to suffer, out of love and commitment to him. It was terrifying.

Last week I posted The Biggest Christian Lie Ever Told, where I revealed the truth that we are not inherently sinful, but that we are innocent and inherently good. This caused a lot of controversy, and I am amazed at how many people used their own kids as examples to prove that we are not inherently good, but full of sin. You can’t see the sadness and absurdity of this unless you have let go of the Christian grid. The entire Christian belief system hinges on the fact that we are BAD, and need a savior, or else we will go to hell. The idea that we are sinful is so crucial to this system, that people use their own kids as proof that we are inherently evil.  Wow.

When I courageously let go of my Christian beliefs, I felt instant freedom and joy, but a lot of questions came up for me.

One main question, was:

“If we don’t need to be saved from anything, why did Jesus have to suffer and die?”

My entire life, the idea of Jesus intensely suffering for ME, was SO ingrained, it took me a long time of having distance from Christian theology to be able to see that my question itself came from within the Christian grid. The only way to see the answer, is to have eyes outside of the Christian story. When you have so many songs running through your head about Jesus dying for YOU, it’s not an easy idea to let go of. It’s a mental construct that was woven deeply into my thoughts. So it took time to dismantle it and build new neural-pathways. Once I did, I was able to discover what Jesus actually wants us to see from his life.

When a baby is born, it is often after many hours of painful labor. But in most cases, once the new miracle of life arrives, there is nothing but celebration. We don’t hold this precious new baby and focus on how terrible the labor was. My mom said that once each of us five kids were born, the pain of labor was a distant memory – almost unreal, compared to the miracle of us being born.

The fact is, we have no idea how much Jesus actually suffered. The only reason we have glorified and magnified and exaggerated how much he suffered, is because we need the suffering to be huge in order for the Christian story to make sense. He HAD to suffer more than any other human had, in order to equal the punishment of the entire sin of the world. But once you accept that we are inherently good and have never been separated from God, there no longer needs to be any focus at all on Jesus’ suffering.

Yes, we know he was crucified on a cross. Most likely, that was not pleasant. However, this is the same extraordinary man who healed diseases and rose above every physical limitation. Why is it so preposterous to think that he was able to rise above the pain? I think he did completely transcend the pain. He embraced it, and it transformed him. And he literally rose above it, because even the crucifixion couldn’t hold him down. He conquered death. Why couldn’t he also conquer pain?

I think Jesus is deeply saddened that we are choosing to see the cross instead of the miracle of the Resurrection.

As Paulo Coelho says in The Alchemist:

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

I don’t know about you, but I choose to see the miracle.

When I look at the snow today, I don’t see anything but a delightful and magical wonderland.

Image Credit: Bert Kaufmann

I Am The Way The Truth and The Life (#7 of 10 Things My Hero Jesus Wants To Say To Christians)

As my journey led me beyond Christian theology, but still in deep fascination with Jesus, his famous words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me,” (John 14:6) were beckoning me to further exploration. I had always resonated with that verse, and still did, so how could I reconcile these words of my hero with my new worldview? I talked to God, and read what several other ‘seeking’ spiritual leaders had said about this, and ultimately, I had to let go of it, just as I had everything else.

And just like everything else in my life that has fallen into place so effortlessly, after letting go of beliefs, the true meaning of this verse has illuminated itself to me, not through a book or another teaching, but from deep personal experience.

As I have embraced seeking within, trusting myself, trusting that God is interwoven in my very being — in the deepest fibers of who I am — I have realized the importance of closing off every other voice in this noisy world. As I have quieted the voices and looked only within, just as Jesus exemplified for us, I have found the one true path, the ONLY true way to LIFE, is by BEING FULLY ME. The ME who is connected to God, the ME who is not my body, the ME who has access to all the wisdom and love I could ever desire, the ME who knows she is safe with God for eternity.

And I can confidently say that being FULLY WHO I AM is the Way, the Truth, and the Life – it’s the way to connecting with God, the Father.

Being ‘fully and fearlessly ME’ is the WAY for everyone to truly live. And waking up to this wonderful reality, I see now that Jesus said the exact same thing – his use of “I Am” was not to say that believing in JESUS, the historical person born in Nazareth who lived 2,000 years ago, is the only way to God, but to say that he had found ‘the way to truth’, through seeking within. He had found the way for all of us to live. He told us that the kingdom of heaven was within us. He was constantly leading by example, and this is another instance.

People so misunderstood his great teaching to seek within for treasure, that they set up a whole religion that points people away from themselves, to an external source, a dogma, a belief system, when what Jesus was really saying was, “You don’t need religion; you need to seek within. You have all the answers right there inside you. YOU are the way, the truth, and the life!”

If you are open and have ears to hear this, you are open to the great mysteries of life. All of the most incredible experiences I have had with God, the most thrilling revelations, have come from letting go of externals and seeking within. The treasure I find here, in my daily times journaling and looking inside, is all the wisdom and love I could ever need. I’m connecting with the Original Source of Life. Why would you go through a book to get answers, when they are all there, right inside you?

Jesus showed through his own example that he wanted us to rise to the same level as he did on the earth. He called us his brothers and sisters, he said we are the Light of the world, and in the very same passage where he said ‘the way, the truth and the life’ he said

that we will do greater things than he did.

He didn’t sit back and let the disciples worship him and only wash his feet, he got down on the floor and washed theirs too, showing that we are all connected, we are made of the same GOD-stuff, that he is our brother.

I know this is a hard teaching if you are looking at Jesus as so high above you, on a level where you can not go, and that your job is to go to church and worship him.

But what if Jesus really meant it when he told us we would do greater things than he did? How could we be so much lower in our essence and identity if we are capable of doing what he did?

DOING flows naturally out of BEING. They are inseparable.

I think what Jesus wants most from us today, is to stop worshiping the image of him, and to start living in power, love, and freedom like he did. It’s time to embrace the exciting reality of who we are: the Sons and Daughters of God who can fully follow the path that Jesus laid out for us, the path that he showed us through his incredible example.

It’s time to follow him authentically, not in copying his specific actions, but by living in a supernatural, enlightened, powerful way that is unique to each of our own incredible destinies on this earth.

He showed us that we truly can transcend the physical world, that nothing is impossible for someone who dreams BIG. This is the Jesus I love, this is the Jesus who is real to me because he inspires me to be Noelle – fully and fearlessly.  He inspires me to let go of all limits, especially the religious and doctrinal limits that have kept me from the real Jesus and therefore from the real Noelle.

I am not saying Jesus isn’t powerful, Divine, and the Son of God –

I’m saying he IS –

and so are WE!

Photo Credit: Mariano Cuajao

Response to Pastor Amy: Original Sin vs. Original Innocence

I’m dedicating today’s blog post to a comment from Amy, who is a mother to beautiful triplets (OMG bless your heart!)

and before that was a pastor at the church where Vince and I got married and most recently attended.

This church is a shining example of the goodness in Christianity where they have a deep experiential understanding of the Spirit — this church is full of Freedom, Life and Love! I have been focusing in my blog on the downsides of Christianity, and I do think as a whole there are a lot of issues in this religion; however, there are churches like this and people like Amy who exemplify the love of Christ, and raise Christianity to a new level, where unconditional love is utmost, and they don’t get lost in dogma. Her family (she is one of 12 kids) contains some of the most beautiful, loving, full of Spirit people I have ever met.

Instead of getting offended or preaching at me when I stirred up great controversy in my recent post: The Biggest Christian Lie Ever Told,

Amy responded with this gracious and heartfelt comment:

Noelle, This topic is something dear to me, and too much to put down in words. To try and simply put it: I believe God sees and treats us according to our heavenly nature. He loves us all so deeply. In fact I have made it the very focus of my parenting to call out who they are in Christ. If my daughter hits her sister I show my grief (not anger) and tell her that she was made to love her sister. I learned that from my own parents. But we are fighting a spiritual battle. The Word says we are constantly choosing between being led of the spirit and being led of our human nature, even Jesus was dependent on his Heavenly Father. In that way we are dependent on Christ’s love, not our own. When I am in a moment of pain where someone has severely wronged me, my first desire is to defend and want to make them hurt the way I have. But I have made it a habit to go to the lord in prayer and ask for his love. His eyes for what’s happened. It’s in that moment of dependence that I find all the love I could possibly need. I don’t pretend to have everything all figured out, but it’s in Christ where I have truly begun to live! I love you and I hear your heart in this matter. I would love more discussions around this. Peace

Amy,
I think we are more on the same page than we realize, and this is an example of how, when you surrender to the Spirit of God, to LOVE, it doesn’t really matter what the beliefs were that got you there. That is why I do feel a great kinship with Christians who are not SO attached or lost in the Bible, but really live in the Spirit. We actually operate in our daily lives very similarly, and if a spirit-led Christian didn’t know what my core beliefs actually were, and we got together for coffee, there would be no lack in spiritual connection, because we are both focusing on the Spirit. It’s only when we get so tied to dogma that we lose some of our freedom. I experienced great Freedom, Life and Love while I was attending church with you. My experience beyond church has just taken it to a new level for ME, but especially with someone as full of Love and Life as you are, Amy, I am not thinking that I’m somehow ‘ahead of you’ or that you need to follow where I’m going. I just have a passion for all of us to have the most freedom possible. And I look at your life, and I see great freedom, Joy, and Love. While this isn’t true for all Christians, this IS true for you, and I support you and applaud you for how you are living your life in the Spirit.

I love what you said about how “God sees us and treats us according to our heavenly nature.”

YES! I agree! I would just add that I think our heavenly nature is our ONLY true nature, whereas I think you would say that our heavenly nature is only received through belief in Jesus as Savior.

And then you said “The Word says we are constantly choosing between being led of the spirit and being led of our human nature.”
And YES I agree with the basic premise behind this statement, as well — I’ve just had a big TWEAK in my definition of the human nature.

Christians would say that our human nature, our flesh, is who we are, and it needs to be surrendered.

I would say that our flesh is just the ego, and YES it needs to be surrendered, but here’s the difference in my perspective:

IT IS NOT WHO WE ARE.

Christians say that our basic nature is sinful, and we need to surrender it, so that the Holy Spirit can take over and lead us.

I say that our basic nature is good, and as we allow our ego to fall away (by focusing on our magnificence), we are naturally led by the Spirit, because it’s our identity.

Bottom line, we are both being led by the Spirit of God, but the way we get there is different.  You get there by surrendering who you are.  I get there by waking up to who I already am.

God is woven into the very fabric of our being, like I learned in ministry school at your church. The god-particle that was recently discovered shows us that God is literally holding everything together – every single cell in our bodies would collapse without this ‘god-particle’ on which every atom depends. It’s been scientifically proven that God is a force from which none of us CAN be separated!

So what’s the experiential difference in my line of thinking that we are fundamentally good, always connected to God, and just need to let our egos fall away

vs.

the Christian idea that we are basically sinful, and can only connect with God once we surrender our basic nature?

I, too, experience my ego rising up when someone hurts me, and I too, surrender it and find Life in the Spirit.

But here’s how this shift in perspective has dramatically changed my life:

Because I no longer identify Noelle with my ego at all (which you call the sinful nature), I find myself staying at peace more easily, more constantly, and it takes much more to offend me than it ever did before.

When I believed I was basically sinful, but just needed the grace of God to cover my sin, I got offended and hurt MUCH more often.  I was much more insecure and prone to being hurt, because I thought I was basically BAD, and only God was good.  I have found a much greater freedom in the truth that I AM LOVE, I have never been separate from God, and that all I have to do with the ‘sinful’ part of me (ego) is to realize that it’s NOT REALLY ME.

You said, “But we are fighting a spiritual battle.” And I disagree with that, as I explain in my post There Is NO Spiritual Battle. As I have stopped seeing life as a battle, the battle has completely disappeared.

You say “we are dependent on Christ’s love, not our own”, and I think that they are one and the same. I have found a deeper alignment and congruency in my thoughts, feelings, and actions as I see that I am a vital part of Christ’s love, as a Daughter of God, and that LOVE is my basic identity, not something I have to receive.

You said, “Even Jesus was dependent on his Heavenly Father.”

YES on this we agree! I definitely live a life of dependency on the Father, and I love relating to God as my Father, just as Jesus did.

I would love more of your thoughts on this, and please do let me know if I have misrepresented your beliefs in any way.

Thank you for this great discussion, Amy, I love you!