On today’s blog, I’m venturing into treacherous waters: religion. If you’ve only known me in recent years, you may hear me talk about things like teaching Sunday School and going to softball games for the church team. You may not know about the ups and downs I’ve had with organized religion before getting to this point.
I’m am so thankful for finally reaching the place I am now. We are regular attendees at a church that we all love and feel accepted at. And that is something that is much harder to find than it ought to be.
I’ve definitely gone through stages in my life where I thought everyone that went to church was a hypocrite or just waiting to judge me.
But I was also being judgmental for assuming that all churchgoers were like that.
Many people have unfortunately had bad experiences with religion in their past. Here are a few of mine:
- I was once told as a child that I was “praying wrong”
- As merely an occasional church attendee as a child, I felt looked down upon in Sunday School for not knowing the bible stories that were referenced
- I joined a bible study in college where I was told it was time to be baptized now that I was a Christian (again, I’d always been a Christian, just not necessarily a regular church attendee)
- I also got roped into going door to door across campus with a group and felt horribly uncomfortable trying to push religion on strangers
- When I was diagnosed with Major Depression in college, I got the impression from some people that I simply wasn’t praying about it enough to make it better
- I’ve also once been out to eat with religious acquaintances who made (what felt to me) to be a big spectacle about holding hands while praying, then proceeding to pray over me causing extreme embarrassment and discomfort
Experiences like mine can cause people to turn away from religion, and sometimes God. I’m thankful that my faith in God has remained firm throughout my life, regardless of how I felt about organized religion.
So how did I get to where I am today? I’m really not sure. But at some point, I obviously had a big hurdle to jump. I had to simply try out a new church and see what happened. That’s the biggest point I’m trying to make today, that regardless of your prior history with religion, it’s never too late to give it another try. And you just may be pleasantly surprised.
And if you’re on the other side of the fence, like I am now, be patient with those who are not on the same page. People have to want to seek God. Don’t confuse those who don’t go to church with those who aren’t believers. Try to be welcoming and set a good example and not push too hard.
Have a blessed Sunday!