It takes a while to be free from this world. Even when I realised I was no longer a Christian, no longer a believer, I was not yet free.
Deconversion is not merely an intellectual exercise. I had made the mental shift, but disconnecting the emotions and untangling the superstitions from my thoughts was a longer process. Though the heavy work seems to be now finished, I still occasionally find tokens of my former thinking hidden away in drawers.
I spent most of my 45 years in a Christian culture where angels, demons, and deities were hidden behind every corner and influencing every event. People were always telling stories about how they were "under attack by the evil one" or "going through a trial orchestrated by God". If you got the job you wanted, it was a gift of God; if you didn't, He simply has something better in mind. Every good fortune and every tragic circumstance, had its origins in the hand of some unseen force. If you are an intuitive person with a gift for words, you can become quite popular by assigning spiritual meanings to these life events.
Looking in life's rearview mirror, I can see now the toll that all of this superstitious tea leaf reading has on the psyche. It is a heavy juggling act of performance and appearance. The believer is involved in a wide array of emotional and mental gymnastics to give these events divine meaning, while interpreting them in a way that is acceptable to the community.
The release from that pressure is freedom. Things are what they are. The same amount of good and bad circumstances befall me as ever have.... there were never any unseen forces at work. Now that I know that, life is better because I now deal with reality... as reality.
I occasionally have believers tell me that they are praying for me. They are sure my rejection of religion is the result of my being angry with god, or being disappointed with other believers. Once I "get over that", they are confident I will be back into the faith better than ever.
"I know Jehovah God is real. I feel him and his presence in my life daily. ...I see him moving everywhere I look. ... I am going to pray that God will reveal himself to you. You won't be able to escape it. I can't wait to hear your testimony one day. "No. There is no one moving. There is no one to reveal. There is nothing to escape. I am simply being invited to put on, once more, the mental chains I have cast aside. Though perhaps offered with kindness and good intent, there simply could not be anything less appealing. To quote CS Lewis from his book The Great Divorce:
"If a corpse already liquid with decay had arisen from the coffin, smeared its gums with lipstick, and attempted a flirtation, the result could not be more appalling. "I am in a world of freedom and (again to quote Lewis from the same book) "out of it I will not go!"