Posted by: ImpendingDawn | November 26, 2012

Matthew 27:46

I have to admit, I felt a little bit guilty during the year I struggled most with my faith. The irony of chaperoning a group of youth to a Christian conference while desperately trying to cover up a massive hickey on my neck did not escape me. It was funny, yes, but as someone who was trying to keep up the appearance of the “Christian role model”, it was immoral. It was wrong.

And then one day I opened my purse in the church bathroom and saw a pack of condoms I’d forgotten to take out. Seriously? This is me now? Disgusted and empowered in equal measures, I had no idea what to make of myself. What to do when you still believe in God but not in the book that’s said to contain his Word? What to do when you’re to the point of only attending church to see your friends, not because you care at all about “deepening your Christian faith”?

Several months later, I found myself at that same youth conference, this time just with my boyfriend. He, as an agnostic, found almost no value in the services, but I was still trying desperately to believe in the One I was told I owed my entire life to. I thought and I worshiped and I prayed and I cried over and over again.

My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why hast thou forsaken me?  

It’s hard. It’s SO DIFFICULT to realize that you’ve outgrown the belief system that largely shaped you into the person you are today. It’s even harder to realize that you were depending on this God of yours, this beautiful Savior, for fulfillment of so many of your basic emotional needs. I may be in the process of abandoning my religious faith, but I still need love. And hope. And a life goal. I still need fulfillment and the sense that I am important, or perhaps the ability to recognize that I am not and that’s okay.

Most importantly, I need people around me to reassure me that the world isn’t going to end if I don’t believe in God anymore. This talk of life decisions having an eternal impact is really getting old; I’ve heard the fire and brimstone sermons. I’m not going to mercilessly dump my otherwise amazing but *gasp* AGNOSTIC boyfriend, simply because some people think I might be dooming myself to a hellish afterlife. Sorry.

It would mean the world to me if all the important people in my life understood that I need their love and support, not their advice. But they don’t. I guess I can understand that, because in their minds they’re just trying to save me from an eternity of indescribable pain. They have only the best intentions. But let’s be honest, their religion and subsequent inability to accept differences in belief is forcing me to divide into two distinct people.

I cannot be myself, yet I must. Religion is slowly suffocating me. Religion has chained and gagged me. And I don’t know how long I can keep quiet while my family and friends insist on pulling the chains tighter.

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