Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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

 photo KimVSCO-48_zps8f30d074.jpg
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.

22 comments:

Lindsay Gilbert said...

Love you, Kim!!

Melinda Davies said...

I admire you and your bravery! My husband went through a similar situation several years ago and is no longer religious. It took a lot of courage for him to work through his thoughts, tell others, and live the life that made him the most happy. He truly has become one of the happiest and content people I know. He has experienced a lot of the same feelings you have. He has also become so physically and mentally healthy. It has been the absolute best choice for him! I hope you continue to feel such joy and happiness! Everyone deserves to live a happy life.

Holly said...

Good for you. I'm so glad you're happy and of course you know I love you no matter what religion you are or are not.

Julianne said...

I love you and I'm so proud of you! I couldn't have said that any better. xo

Jandi said...

Thank you for sharing a bit about your personal journey. I hope you find much love and support as you travel along. It can be hard for others to understand, but authenticity is always the right path and leads to a deeper joy and understanding than what we could have ever thought possible. Much love.

ellen said...

I have some dear friends who emailed me recently that they left the church and I wrote them right back "friends forever". Their decision hasn't affected our friendship at all and I'm glad that they are following their hearts.

Melissa Bielaczyc said...

Big HUGS, I am sure this was hard to write..
I am very spiritual, and don't believe that going to a building will bring me closer to whatever comes after we leave here.
I believe, that the person I am everyday, how I treat others, how I make others feel... will do that.
May you always be the loving, always helpful person you have always been.
Melissa

Emily said...

I love you. And I love that you're being kind to yourself. Please continue to do so. xoxo

Heather said...

You are so brave for writing about this! None of this could have been easy, and I admire you so much for your honesty. I am so glad you are so happy! xoxo

Patricia (Raymond) Wellisch said...

I am so happy it makes you happy and even more importantly at peace. Like you said spirituality is really more important. Love you!

Pam from Over the Big Moon said...

I'm glad you have found happiness - you deserve it and the world! Love your guts! xoxo! Am I gonna see you at BYBC?

miss kristen said...

It's been a long time, but I found ya thanks to Julie and Lacie liking this on FB, I hope it's ok I stalked you.
Having been in a similar situation I can relate. Admitting it to yourself is the hardest part, and honestly, I still struggle with my decision because my religion was so deeply seeded for so long. But, the older I get the more I learn and trust that Heavenly Father is a loving, and patient Father who knows the desires and things in my heart. And in my heart I know right now I'm a better person without my religion than I was with it. But, that may change one day, and if that day comes I hope the transition back isn't as rough as the one away was.

Jess Cox said...

My beautiful friend shocked yes, disappointed no. You are such an amazing person. How I'd love to just sit and chat with you about your journey so far. Not to try to get you to change your mind or anything of the sort, just to hear how it's been, how you've been. You are wonderful. I hope to see you at SNAP!

Jessica Havican said...

I don't know you but my friend shared your post with me because she said it reminded her of me. I too left the church approximately a year ago. I know exactly what you are talking about and I want you to know you aren't alone. It can be really hard to be so vulnerable, especially if you live in Utah County, but it is so essential. The more I was vulnerable the more I saw it returned to me. Some friendships deepened and some have fizzled out and I have made several new friends. I have been able to build a wonderful, loving and support system this way. It's been so wonderful! It feels so good to live my truth now. To not merely accept things but to truly know for myself what is truth. That truth may be subjective and personal, but as long as I feel peace, harmony and happiness, I will seek truth to support that. May you continue to find peace and be able to live and speak your truth regardless of what others say.

Alaina Sturgeon said...

You're amazing! Love you, girl!!

Emily3littlefishys Newell said...

I loved this. It resonated so strongly with me because of a similar personal experience. I am touched by your willingness and courage to be true to yourself and then to open up about it. Sending you lots of love and positive vibes.

Sarah said...

I love you my sweet friend.You are brave, bright, and beautiful. May you always feel peace on your journey. Thank you for sharing your most personal thoughts. xoxoxo

Lori Allred said...

I have always loved you for YOU...not the type of mom, friend, crafter, religious person. I think it is very brave for you to share this with the world...it really comes down to it being about YOU. My adoration for you Kim has not changed at bit. I am glad you are finding what works for you and are happy!!

Cristin said...

You don't know me but my someone liked your blog and I was drawn to it. I could have written this post. Almost ten years ago I went to church for the last time. I came home and cried for the umpteenth time, went to my bedroom and said "No more. I'm not going back." For the first time in years I felt peace come over me and I've never regretted it. I believe I'm happier, kinder, more thoughtful of others and less judgmental. It's a freedom that I never felt before and I could never go back. Thanks for sharing this. It's good for people to see that when people leave the church doesn't mean they are bitter angry people but still good people that no longer believe.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, it's like you are taking words out of my month. It's so nice that we are not alone. I've made lots a friends that try to get me to church and I worry if I spoke my mind if they would stay my friends. I've decided that I'm just going to be me and nothing else! You are courageous to put this out there! Good on you!

Michelle Masterson said...

I understand completely. And support you 110%. It's a very personal decision, and I applaud you being brave enough to share this. My respect for you as a person has grown immensely. May you find peace in your spiritual journey.

Angela S said...

Much love. I believe in a loving and merciful Father who understands when we peacefully step away. I'm glad you're happy and feeling healthier!