I’ve been contemplating what to, well, how to, write my next blog post for a while now. I still am not sure how but here goes.
A couple of weeks ago I posted on my FB a couple of questions:
- Why do you go (or not go) to church?
- What does going to church mean to you?
- When did you first know God and what does having a relationship with God mean to you?
I got many different responses which was my intention, I thought. Then, after thinking about it even more, I realized, I’m not looking for other people’s answers. I’m looking for my own.
If you read my last blog post about Mother’s Day and if you know me at all, you know I didn’t have the most stable of upbringings. That includes any type of faith base. Yes, my family talked about being Christians and such but not a single one I grew up around went to church or followed any type of “rules” regarding Christian behavior. Yes, I was taken to church by some family members sometimes and went to church with friends sometimes. All kinds. I even went to a Mormon church camp one year….that was interesting. But, overall, religion, spirituality, God, what it means to be a Christian….I didn’t have. That’s ok.
There is NO DOUBT I know God is real. I can still remember the first day I realized this. Quick rundown: It was after my dad died so I was about 7. My life situation was no good, probably the worst it ever was; no running water, run down trailer, surrounded by things I shouldn’t have been, just turmoil all around. It was in the afternoon, sun was shining bright, I was crying because I missed my dad, was pretty much alone. I was laying on my bed just thinking about him gone. My 7-year old mind started thinking (what I thought to myself then) crazy thoughts. Paraphrasing here: “My body is not real. My voice is not real. I mean, it’s mine but not mine. How can I just be gone one day? I can’t be. That doesn’t make any sense at all to just disappear.” From that day on I had a peace about it all. Not just my dad dying, but everything.
I also know He’s real because, just like the quote above says, there’s no way my life would have turned out the way it has without some divine interventions. First off, my attitude and ability to be resilient; to take the situations I was exposed to from a young age and make sure I was safe and stay positive and move forward. Second, the people I was surrounded by who influenced my life and helped take care of me.
That being said, I’m still not comfortable with calling myself a Christian. What still wins my internal argument is my embarrassment, or probably more accurately, my self-consciousness, or even self-control about calling myself a Christian openly, saying I go to church, etc. Also, these same feelings happen when I go to Chris for the opposite reasons; I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know “the basics”, I don’t know much about being a Christian.
I always have this internal battle of Christianity vs spirituality. I’ve been known to say, “I don’t go to church but I’m spiritual and believe in God.” And things such as, “what makes one religion better than another?”, “Isn’t it all the same God?” You know, what many people say and question. I also have a battle of I can’t be Christian and also be okay with social issues such as gay rights and abortion and having an occasional margarita. Something that hit home and I always think about now is something my ol friend, Joan says, “Everyone has their own convictions. It’s not up to me or you to decide for anyone else what those are.”
I’ve decided, on my own, this is a cop-out. At least for me. I’m just scared. Scared to let go even though I know what is true. Scared of being judged by people who don’t have the same beliefs. Scared of making the first step to learn more. Scared of the not knowing. Like my friend, Joan, says (she’s pretty smart), “It’s your journey with God, no one else’s. It’s up to you and Him what you do on it.”
So, here goes on this new journey of letting go and letting God. Like, really this time.