At 18 or so, I quit church and anything to do with God because it felt unreal. It felt like something I had been forcing for years because I was born into it, talked into it, coerced, guilted, and scared into it. It also had many self-righteous church people voices telling me I was not good enough—hey, my head already did enough of that and I really just wanted to get through the hour, the day. It always seemed like they were talking about things that made no sense, like heaven and hell—two things that, even if real, felt far away and not present concerns. My present concern was not letting my brain kill me.
I did not see the Bible or Jesus applied to my life, besides acting as fire insurance for a fire I could not see happening soon.
Late 2015, I started reading the Bible again. Then months after, I went back to church because, for the first time, it all started to make sense. I started to see myself in the Bible, much like how I often saw the poetry of some women reflect me. It was no longer about external interpretations from people who—in hindsight, were probably struggling too—I could see my anger issues and insecurities in Moses; my cunning in Jacob; my constant falling short in David. And I started to learn how to be contrite, how to give up my sins to Jesus and accept forgiveness. I think we find it hard to accept God’s forgiveness because we know how (next to impossibly) hard it is for us to forgive others or for us to forget their wrongs and wipe the slate clean when they have offended us. Anyway, beyond just reading things like forgiveness and faith as abstract concepts, I started to understand how they could be applied.
I started to learn how to forgive others and rid myself of bitterness, how to pray for those who hurt me. And my heart started to get lighter, my sorrows felt less lonely. And now when I read the word or go to church it’s not about trying to avoid hell or the culture of fear I was raised in, it’s about getting to know God more through his word, and thus know myself better. It’s about living now, being a better person with a lighter burden now.
It’s been an interesting walk so far, and there’s so much I haven’t figured out, but there’s also so much I’m seeing and learning everyday, and it is good to be able to talk about some of my walk.