Write 31 Days circa October 2016
It wasn't until I entered my thirties that I began toying with changing my mind and choosing my beliefs. I was slave to the thought, "This is what I was taught. This is just who I am."
If I'm honest, I've never truly practiced religion. I merely existed within it - because I was born into it, because it felt safe to have a box and boundaries. But it did not hold me, and it did not comfort me. For years I taught what I had been told, thinking that speaking it aloud would make it my truth, but the truth is, I rarely opted in myself. I said, "Read your bible. Pray expectantly. Hope. Find your identity in Christ." But did I do those things? No. I talked the talk but couldn't fully give in to walking the walk. Something about it just felt... off. I felt like a liar. Rather than explore that feeling, I pretended, and I was a spectacular pretender. I hid in plain sight and threw most everyone off the scent.
After leaving the church, 2016 kicked off a year of intentional discovery, putting into practice the beliefs of my choosing. As I dissect my history and my choices - conscious and subconscious - it is abundantly clear I am not one to do things because "this is how it's always been done." I'm learning my spirituality is fluid, meaning I can take or leave pieces of religion but my soul is stubbornly aligned with God/The Universe, focused intently on personal experience and growth. Being myself has been the best gauge for what I keep and what I discard.
I was writing a book about seeking God outside of Christianity, and writing it proved more difficult than I imagined. It was a very personal reflection, full of upheaval and deconstruction. But what is more difficult than writing it is the bold action I'm taking every single day to make the decisions I'm making. I wander the abandoned hallways of my beliefs, picking up things for safe-keeping or memories, and leave most other things behind to decay. The foundation remains in disrepair, as nothing more than a structure, a shrine to a former life. I stop by every once in a while to check in but I do not stay because I do not want to live there anymore. I thank its crumbling walls, grateful for the lessons and the silver linings, and forge a new path outside.
Because I've changed my mind.