Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Who am I? The one where I tell you I am no longer religious.

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It has been...awhile.

A long, long while.

I do not even know who I am anymore. I contemplate blogging. I sit down at the computer and I try really, really hard, but then anxiety takes over and blogging seems like the worst idea on the planet.

It has been almost a year and that makes me sad. They say there is a time and a season for everything, and I truly believe that. I have tried to be gentle with  myself in that knowledge. The past year has been difficult, but also very fulfilling. I have learned so much about forgiveness, and growth, and knowledge. There is so much I want to share, and I hope to have the courage to do so with time.

I guess I will start with a big one. This one isn't easy for me on any front, but the more time that passes I have come to realize that I need to share.

A year ago this past January, after three years of blood, sweat, tears, heartache, heart pouring, soul searching, grasping, study, prayer, fasting, panic, pain, sorrow, anguish and any other word you can use to describe horror and torture, I made the decision to no longer weekly attend the religion I was born into. It was not until I made that very difficult decision that I began to feel peace, happiness, grace, love, strength and hope.

I know for many of my family, and friends this comes as a shock and for some even a disappointment. For me, it was really hard to slowly share my decisions. Many still do not know because it really isn't something you shout from the rooftops, "Hey guys! I am no longer religious, but I am still me and nothing has changed other than that." If it is really hard and takes you three months to actually talk to your spouse, and then another to get up the courage to talk to your children, imagine how much longer it takes to tell those outside of such a sacred circle.

My "leaving" has been wrought with mixed emotions. Mostly because our religious views can be so deeply set, and our belief systems come with consequences. A lot of people are genuinely worried about me. I think this is the hardest part of this entire situation. I do not like people feeling sorry for me, or having anyone worry about me. Please don't. Really. I am okay. I am so so so happy.

I may not be religious, but I still am and always have been a deeply, deeply spiritual person. In fact, that hasn't changed one bit, if anything, my spirituality has only grown deeper because of this. Believe it or not, I am a kinder person, a softer person, a much better person than I ever was when I was religious. I was even able to stop swearing. I actually love myself more deeply. I am more confident. I am more patient and loving and open. It is freeing and it is beautiful.

I recently opened up to a dear friend, and she helped me to explain it best. Religion for me is not right for me right now. I am not going to say that it will not ever be a part of my life again in the future, but for now, I feel confident in my decision.