Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wavering Faith

I used to pray all the time. My days were consumed with connecting with God. I was always on the prowl to find whoever needed Jesus. I would be witnessing all the and night. It was my mission, my passion, my reason for living. Jesus was my role model and God was my father. I grew up in this religious atmosphere. There was no other way to live for me; however, I was always ALWAYS falling short of what I knew the Bible and God and Jesus expected of me. I was having sex before marriage, smoking cigarettes sometimes, and drinking alcohol. I wasn't praying for an hour a day because It was hard on me to find time in the day to shower and eat being a single mom....but I tried to be THE BEST christian I could be.

When I was growing up in the church the message from the pulpit was always centered around how we needed to be a better christian and the only way to do that was to spend tons of time in the Bible (at least an hour a day) and to not cuss or drink or smoke or fornicate and to spread the good news to everyone I met. I believed with my whole being that this was absolutely the way I needed to live. Looking back at this upbringing and the messages being handed down to me from the pulpit I can see that it bred into me feelings of dislike for myself. No matter how hard I tried I could not meet these perfect expectations that I felt were expected of me by God, Jesus, my pastor, and my parents and christian friends. I began to battle with myself. I always had good intentions but it would never fail that I would let myself down. It could be something as simple as reading my bible in bed before sleeping and falling asleep before I was able to get the full hour of reading and prayer in like my pastor encouraged his congregation to do. When I would wake up in the morning and realize I had fallen asleep it would be the start of lots of repentance for my sins and ultimately lots and lots of guilt. I began to not like myself. I felt that I was the only one falling short of what was expected of a good christian. As I got older and started to struggle with other sins the feelings of shame and guilt just got stronger and stronger until I did began to medicate with cigarettes and some alcohol and sex with men. Of course this type of "medication" only proved to make me more disappointed in myself and the shame and guilt ran deep. I didn't think Jesus and God were happy with me. I knew that they would "never leave me or forsake me," (WHATEVER THAT MEANT) but I still knew that I needed to get my life right with God or I would not make it to heaven or if I did make it to heaven I would not have many rewards stored up for me. This may sound crazy to a lot of you but it is my truth and something I struggle with to this very day. Even this very night I feel like I am not a good enough mom and I am just falling deeper and deeper into this unsuccessful life.

About 3 years ago I made a HUGE decision to divorce religion. Thats right, you read that right....I divorced my religion. When I was growing up I heard from the pulpit CONSTANTLY that we were not religious but just in a "relationship" with Jesus. So I convinced myself for years and years that I was not religious. This was so far from the truth but I just didnt know any better. In the pentecostal/Baptist/non-denominational religions you are told constantly that your not really religious but just in a relationship. This could not be further from the truth. When I made the decision to divorce my religion I did it because I could no longer try and reach these expectations that were being put on me. I finally realized that I was never going to be this perfect christian. So I stopped witnessing, and I stopped reading the Bible and I started really digging into why I believed what I believed instead of just believing what other people told me. It was very eye opening. I learned so many things about the Bible and where it came from and how it came to actually be a Bible and who put it together. In some ways it was good that I was discovering the roots of this religion I had followed all my life but in other ways the information I was learning was really really sad for me. I felt very let down. I had to discard most of everything I knew and start from the beginning.

I still do not have it all figured out. I have put countless hours into research of God and Heaven and Near death experiences. Ive compared stories of people that have died and gone to heaven. I have spoken in person with people that have died and gone to heaven and come back to earth to tell about it and my mind was literally blown (if a mind can actually blow....Im not sure LOL). But this did put a huge rift in everything I believed.

I still believe in God. I don't necessarily believe that is his name because WE HUMANS gave him that name. To me he is bigger and different then the Bible portrays him. I still have trouble connecting with this God. I remember begging God on my hands and knees to please talk to me in a voice I could hear. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't just speak to me. I didnt want a "still small voice," I wanted a loud audible voice to speak to me. I felt I was worthy to hear something. After all I had spent ALL of my life pursuing this God....trying to reach him through my actions and love and prayers. But no.....not a single word.

This post is not to bash faith and Christianity...but I felt reflective tonight as I was looking at the shape of my life right now and just sorting out the pieces of my heart and trying to figure out what I am doing with myself right now. I actually thought that maybe if I reconnected with god that maybe I would gain some clarity. It has happened for me in the past. That is why I have not lost my faith that there is a higher being somewhere that cares about me. So I am not denouncing God....but actually wondering why Ive had to go through the things I have gone through and why do I have to be so confused? I am almost 45 years old. I would have expected to be settled by now and have a few things figured out....but I don't. I know I am not the only one with this story. I think its just the cycle of life. We all question our upbringing, but I think I dive a little deeper then some people. I question more than most and I don't settle for a mediocre life that seems to want to over take me. I want more...I want extraordinary. I think its possible.