I grew up in a family that was and is very much rooted in Christianity and the church. My father was recently “installed” as the pastor of the church I grew up in. My mother is now a first lady and missionary. One of my grandmothers is a church mother, the other is an evangelist. My uncle is a Pastor and my aunt is a first lady as well…you get the point because the list goes on. As a kid, I was active in Sunday school, the youth choir, the junior usher board, and the youth ministry programs and activities, but as I got older, none of it felt authentic to me. It was as if I was programmed to practice Christianity because that’s what my parents practiced and their parents and so on, but I never felt like I belonged there. I felt fake. I felt like I was going through the motions.
When I got to college, my first couple of years, Christianity and church were the last things on my mind. I was in a new environment completely free from my parents who didn’t wake me up every Sunday morning to get dressed for a long day in church. I felt free. I felt liberated from it all. Somewhere along the way, I tuned into all the background noise telling me I needed to be in church, and I needed to read my bible and I needed to pray and there I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t doing any of those things. So once again, I found myself in church, and attending campus small groups during the week trying to fake it until I made it. I pledged a Christian sorority and found myself with more questions than answers trying to reach a standard I really didn’t care too much about in the first place. I got tired and burnt out from trying to keep up. So I stopped.
I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve explored faith in my own way. I’ve dabbled in a variety of things and I’ve just learned to live my own spiritual truth. I dabble in tarot cards as a weekly guide, I meditate, I’m interested to see how my lift aligns with the sun, the moon and the stars. I journal in sync with the moon phases and I cannot tell you how much peaceful my life has been. No religious politics, no shame, no guilt, no confusion, no judgement. Just me living my truth and shining my light.
In 2017, I sit and think about how many years it’s taken me to get here and it’s taken me about 6 years. Although, I still don’t have ALL of the answers, I am 100 percent confident in my lifestyle, my choices and my faith, so if you find yourself searching here is some advice I’d like to share:
Allow Yourself to Come Undone
Have you ever typed a Word document, messed up…or even worse used the advance features on an Excel spreadsheet and mess the entire workbook up because of a formula mishap? Before you panic, and think the damage has been done and can’t be changed…just press the undo button. Press it as many times as you need to in order to restore your document. This was how most of my spiritual journey went. I had to undo all the programming my parents had done before I could even start to formulate my questions and even when I got to a place where I could ask questions, I explored other religions and hit the undo button several times before I found something that made sense to me. I say all that to say, you’ll be hitting undo a lot. It’s all apart of the journey, so be okay with finding yourself back at the drawing board more times than you can keep count of.
Tune Out the Background Noise
It’s important to know that any relationship you have whether spiritual or religious begins with the personal. It’s a journey about YOU, so be careful of who you turn to for advice and the ones who offer it without even being asked. There’s been several times where I’ve confided in people about my spiritual struggles and my spiritual journey and rather than listening to understand, they listened to respond and responded by trying to market their religious choices and why I should follow them. It caused much more confusion than necessary and there were times where cracks were left to let that feeling of guilt slip back in.
You might be wondering, “if you felt guilty, doesn’t that mean you knew that following Christianity was right?”
No, my guilt came from my parents raising me at that point for the last 17 years to be a “good Christian” and my feelings that I betrayed them because my heart wasn’t in it nor could I force or fake it to be anymore.
Confidence Combats Confusion
Whatever you decide, be confident in it. It’s your life and your choice. There’s going to be people who will question your beliefs into a debate to try to catch you slipping. There’s going to be people who feel obligated to share with you opinions you did not ask for. There’s going to be people who will challenge you because of their own ignorance. The more confident you are in your beliefs, the less confusion will creep in to try to steer you off your decided path.