I am always shocked when I hear about people abandoning faith due to a corrupt church or something bad happening in the world. “How can there be a God when there are children in this world being abused?” I hear these statements often, “If there is a God, then why…” These comments and questions are never-ending and it is sad to see how many people turn away from faith because of the evil in this world. God gave us all free will; we are not all puppets with our every move decided by God. We are created and given a choice, to walk toward God, or away.
Here at Literally, Darling, there are a lot of opinions about religion. Some writers are skeptical, and others have turned away from faith, and I felt as though an article about embracing God, believing in Him and loving Him, was needed. This is where I am today and an account of the road that led me here.
I am fairly new to faith, only a couple of years in. The church or The Bible were never pushed on me as a child, they were never talked about at all actually. I would sometimes attend church with friends and I always wanted to know more. I found a warm feeling in my heart when I was around other Christians. I felt I was on the right track.
As I got older, I became angry with God, as some people do. I found myself in a dark place and instead of leaning in toward faith, I tried to find peace outwardly. To be honest, I felt God didn’t care about me, so why should I care about Him?
The following years were pretty self-destructive. I felt empty and lacking in personal purpose. I was reaching for fulfillment in people, behaviors and bottles. Nothing I did or felt touched my heart; nothing mattered to me.
Deep into my life of not giving a shit, I met my now-boyfriend, who reintroduced faith to me. He was able to answer my questions about the Bible and he threw fuel on a small flame in my heart that I had thought burned out. Despite learning about God and Jesus, I still wasn’t jumping on the faith train. He had not found a church to attend regularly, nor was he looking. And I didn’t realize at the time the importance of attending church to grow your faith.
For the next couple years I continued to spiral downward, I knew about God but I didn’t know him. I wasn’t trying to know him, I was ashamed of some of my decisions at the time and I felt it would be hypocritical to pursue faith. It never occurred to me that my life would be fulfilled by admitting my faults and asking God for help.
I hit my personal rock bottom soon after and, as they say, the only way from the bottom is up. It finally occurred to me that I can’t help myself. My life needed to be given to something so much bigger than me. I needed a church, I needed a community, I needed to aggressively pursue God, and I needed to get to know the person He designed me to be. I needed to love myself the way He does.
I will be the first to say, church is intimidating, y’all. The first time I met my pastor I was literally sweating all over the place. I don’t know why—I was proud of myself for taking the first step, yet I was so nervous that I would be rejected, seen as not perfect and unholy. Come to find out, that is the type of person the churches I have attended look for. I was accepted for who I was and immediately adopted the phrase, “Come as you are—just don’t leave as you came.”
I found a home, not only in my church but in my faith. I found out that my closest friends were interested in pursuing their faith with me and I threw my heart and soul into faith. And my life changed. I don’t want to sound cliché in saying that but it is true: My life has truly and completely changed and continues to change each day. My life is filled with a sense of purpose, responsibility and peace that I profoundly cherish. I have found a passion in serving the community and being that middleman between a person that wants to volunteer and an opportunity to do so. I have found a place in my church to work with the talents of outreach and community service that God has given me. I have found meaning within my soul.
And I am not perfect. I will never be perfect and I make mistakes constantly. My struggles reach far and wide and I work to push my free will in the direction of good not evil. I hate when I see Christians being judgmental and prideful because that does push people away, and I am here to tell you: Don’t push God away just because people are flawed. Don’t deny faith because someone has poisoned your thoughts. Don’t stop seeking God because a church has become corrupt. Everyone is on a journey with their faith—some lose sight of things and they taint our vision of Christianity. Don’t let them. Forgive the people in your life that have steered you away from church and instead embrace a God that loves you for everything that you are, every flaw and every scar, just the way you are.
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