Losing It is a series detailing real accounts of people who have transitioned away from faith, particularly Christianity. It also includes the stories of those who’ve transitioned from traditional theology to a more progressive faith. The author of the following story is guest contributor, Carla. It has been edited only for syntax and flow.
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I am honestly and genuinely thankful for my spiritual development through life lessons, powerful inspirational sermons and messages, as well as “make-your-head-bob-and-body-move-from-side-to-side while-you-clap-and-or-wave-your-ands-and-stomp-your-feet-good-old” gospel singing choir music. I have been blessed to experience this for over 40 years having participated and been involved in organized religion by way of traditional Christianity through the Black church experience. I am thankful for all the numerous times of communion and fellowship. And now, I can even honestly say that I am thankful for the times of challenge and growth. I am also thankful for the many times of good old plain and simple fun I’ve had over the years with church family and friends.
Most importantly, I am grateful for the greatest truth I believe I’ve ever learned in life and will always KNOW and BELIEVE as long as there is breath in my body. And that is – that I am unconditionally loved by God. Always have been, am now, and always will be! (Side note: And so is everyone else whether they know, understand or believe it or not.) Getting to know this truth and firmly grasping it fully is possibly for me the most important purpose of the whole experience: to KNOW we are unconditionally Loved, we come from Love, and that on earth we are conduits of Love! And for ALL of these things I am eternally grateful.
In just a few months I will be turning 51 years old and although I am thankful for all the positive ways in which my life has been shaped over the years as a result my traditional religions experience (in my case Christianity), I realize that at this point in my life there is no longer a need for my spirituality to be contained within the boundaries of the beliefs and traditions of any one faith community.
To me, God, the concept of God, Spirituality, and Truth is vastly bigger than any one way of believing. Because of this change within me (which I see as an awakening of sorts and an expanded view of God) I have come to terms that for me, the traditional religious experience that I once had no longer serves my life view. And because of this, I have chosen to humbly and respectfully move beyond the limited boundaries of the experience with grace.
This choice is not because I am embittered by church hurt and, for that, I am thankful as well. However, I do know that there are a lot of people who have been consciously or unconsciously hurt and/or negatively impacted by their religious experience and this has resulted in both anger and resentment in regards to God and/or religion. For those whom this rings true, my hope, prayer and thoughts for you is that you will eventually be able to forgive the offenders for your own sake and be healed of that past experience so that you will be free to experience your absolute Best Life!
These days when it comes to spirituality I don’t pretend to know all the answers and thankfully no longer feel a need to know all the answers or act as if I do! And although some would try to convince others that they do, I am 100% sure that no person (or no one group/faith community) knows all the answers either. As a matter of fact, the longer I live (and truth be told) – I believe we all are trying to figure it out and do the best we can with what we have been taught, learned and have come to believe to be true and truth. I no longer ascribe to the belief that any one group has the monopoly on truth or the mystery that we call God. I agree with the words in a poem by Rumi which says “Truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.” I also agree with something else I’ve read before that said (and I paraphrase) that religion is simply man’s attempt to explain the mystery we have learned to call God.
As for now, I can very simply just say that to me “God is Love” and right now, that is enough for me. I can comfortably live in the space of “not knowing all the answers”. I do believe there is divinity in all of creation. I believe we are all connected. And, I believe that I was born to use this experience we call life to make a positive impact in, through, on behalf and for the connection; and that is simply what I plan to do for the rest of this life experience. To use my gifts, talents, education, skills and all that I am – to live, to learn, to love, to laugh and to serve by making a positive impact in the world for the greater good of all! And so it is, and so I am and so be it.