Faith in our world is something that can be very contentious. Who do you believe in? How strong of a believer are you? Why don’t you believe? What church do you go to? Why don’t you go to church? Why do you despise people who are faithful or go to church? Why do you judge others because their faith is different? Why do you judge those who aren’t outward about their faith?
So many people act like, and probably believe wholeheartedly, their way of faith, spirituality, and/or religion is the only way. This is what fuels so many disagreements, fights, and wars.
But that’s on the massive level. What about in our every day lives?
We deal with the same thing. I deal with it.
A little history about me growing up learning about faith.
My parents weren’t spiritual or religious. My mom started life as a Catholic, but didn’t stay dedicated. We were taught about Jesus and that believing was what we were supposed to do. Until our parents divorce, we didn’t really go to church except for with our grandmother to a Lutheran church. After the divorce, mom forced us to go to a small Methodist church until we moved further away than she was willing to drive to get there. In college I attempted to go to a church that hosted a weeknight college group. That was a horrible experience. I wanted to belong to a faithful group, but I didn’t know where to start. Until I started dating my husband and I went with him and his mom. Then we moved. We found a church, stayed a couple years, then stopped going.
All this while I believed in Jesus and God, but I didn’t feel my belief was good enough. I struggled with being the perfect Christian, being the perfect church member, and being true to myself.
I have believed hard and prayed hard. I have lost or questioned my faith. I have been down right angry at God. My belief and faith has been tumultuous to say the least.
What I realized recently, was that it doesn’t matter one bit what other people think about your personal relationship with God. Or whomever you believe in. I’m definitely not here to tell you that your belief is wrong.
In the past couple years, there have been defining moments that made me question religion and my faith. I know I am not the only one, so I want to share with you that it is normal not to be 100% in your faith for all of your life.
A couple pastors at the church that we went to, did sermons that were absolutely unaccepting of those who are not heterosexual. It made me feel horrible about being connected to someone who is so unaccepting of another person. I didn’t feel comfortable listening to interpretations of the Bible from these individuals. That is definitely not how I interpret it.
Another pastor and his wife were also battling infertility at the same time as we were. Every Sunday they led worship and shared how deeply their faith was in the gift of having their own child. That no matter what, they believed they would become pregnant with their child. I felt crushed that I questioned faith and promises from God during this time. I felt like I was a horrible believer because I wasn’t as faithful as they were. I didn’t feel good enough to call myself a believer.
I have a friend who, from my view, vehemently hates any church and anyone who talks about faith. I feel like absolute shit when this friend talks about others who believe or spiritual practices, or just neighborhood churches sharing news. I let this friend’s views bring me down and truly question my faith and if I could be faithful while remaining friends.
I have never been comfortable praying out loud these really long, deep prayers. I have never been comfortable with those who speak in tongues during church. I have never been comfortable sharing much about my beliefs or my faith, aside from saying I am blessed or Thank God for blah, blah.
I began to think that my night time prayer of thanks or my prayer for people when scrolling my feed had just became habit, so I fought it.
I truly fought my faith and belief for months. I was lost because I didn’t feel good enough to be considered a believer because I don’t look like what most people consider believers (church every Sunday, limited to no cursing, pray this, pray that, etc.) and I felt separated from close friends because I do believe.
But I made a decision in the past week. I don’t care if I look like a believer to others. I don’t care that I have friends who are so hateful towards faith. I believe in my way and I have my relationship with faith. It is about me and my belief and relationship, not theirs.
So yes, I believe in God. I will pray when you need it. I will pray when you don’t accept it but you need a breakthrough in a challenge. I will keep my crosses on my walls. I will forever consider tattoos that show faithful sayings. I will curse whenever it comes out (but respectfully watch my tongue around your children should you prefer). I will be okay not going to church because not all believers have to go to church and recruit people to church. I am going to believe in my way and not apologize, or let others views bring me down, or lead me to question my faith.
This is me and I believe.