I have a long history in religion, more specifically Christianity. I went on my first ‘Missions trip” when I was 12. We went to Mexico and Israel, as well as did “volunteer help” at various churches state side. I was (and still am) the daughter of a pastor, a pastor who believed in treating everyone, no matter their belief or religion, with love and respect, not shoving the bible down someone’s throat. When I was 16 I traveled to Florida to go through a Bible school of sorts and then did another “Missions trip” to Thailand and again some places here in the states. My husband and I joined a ministry founded by my folks called ‘Street Level’, the goal was to be the people Christ called you to be and was founded on the principal and words of St. Francis of Assisi, ” Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.” Meaning, live it, don’t muck it up with your own interpretation and with your mouth.
Since those days, I have stepped away from Christianity and belief in Jesus as a savior. I have never been able to fake it when it comes to belief. Some of this comes from my own morals of standing by your thoughts and heart and some of it comes from witnessing others fake it, in the church and out of the church. I do not hold hard feelings against God or the church. I have my serious questions about organized Christianity and I am not entirely sure any of us know what the original church of Paul was like, but several denominations seem to think that they do. I would be a liar if I said I haven’t been hurt by ‘the church’ and I would also be a liar, liar pants on fire, if I didn’t say I held some anger. But this is not why I have chosen to back away, though it seems to be the only reason that some Christians can think of.
What they fail to realize is that I have been there. I have seen my friend slip away from belief and I have been sad and prayed and said to myself, “Yes! This is it! It is because they hurt, it is the devil it is those damn skirts they wear!”. I obviously joke about the last one, but I have said all of those things. I know the thought pattern, because I used to think that way.
Now, I am not saying that I know better or that I am more enlightened by my perceived step backwards. In fact, this has been a very challenging thing I have done. Understand I grew up my whole life believing in God and his son Jesus. My entire family and many of my close friends still hold this faith, It has been a difficult journey to have to tell my friends and family, ” Oh, hey, by the way I am not a “believer” anymore.” There is a lot of pressure, especially when you hear some people talk about those “poor back slidden people” and how the devil has a hold on their lives or they are just ultimately selfish. You don’t want to be talked about that way. I couldn’t however, remain in a faith I no longer was sure I believed.
I haven’t come to any resolution on the subject, I am still wandering and I do pray to God because despite my questions, I do have something in me that tells me all this wasn’t accidental, weather by evolution or in 7 days, does it really matter, we are here and look at this amazing world we have.
One of the greatest “I must hold my tongue” things I have faced, is not getting angry when some people assume they know where I am mentally and spiritually. The worst thing to hear is ” I know exactly the way you feel, when I was….”, No, you don’t. That’s like me telling my cousin I know what she’s going through, when in fact, I don’t have cancer, so no, I don’t. We as people are trying to be too supportive or understanding at times, and it ends up with a lot of foot in our mouth moments. Please don’t assume you know why I am going through what I am, or don’t assume you know me and my thought process, because you don’t. Just listen if I talk and if I don’t, support the journey, Because that’s what life is, a journey to our own soul. I’m trying to find it. It’s not without frustration and tears and my mind is open, if Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, then I am willing to accept. And yes before you say it, I know, That’s what faith is and guess what, I can quote the Hebrews scripture about how faith is the assurance of things hoped for , but the conviction of things not seen. I know that came off angry and I could feel it in my chest, so I was. I’m being honest.
I have peace though in this odd place in life and I am enjoying this journey of discovery. I can only control what’s in my realm of control (how stoic of me), so for now I am, as so many Christian book stores have printed on mugs and greeting cards, letting go and letting God. I almost threw up typing that but that’s what I am doing, so if the shoe fits….