The Choice I Made To Stay In My Faith
I grew up with a strong influence of faith around me. I am proud of it, and the person that it helped mold me to become. When I was a child, teen, and young adult my faith came easy to me. It didn’t just help define me, but it assisted in life choices- big and small, relationships and friendships I had, the way I conducted myself, and the way I spent my time. I was confident in my religion, my faith, and my trust in God.
My Faith Community
For me, a large part of my faith is my faith community. Every time my husband and I have moved I have looked forward to meeting and integrating ourselves into our new community. Serving, and ministering side by side with other Christians. Belonging to a faith community has helped me feel less alone when I’ve lived far away from family. It has offered an immediate support system, which has been crucial to our success in various adventures around the country.
Adjusting to a new Faith Community
A few years ago our family relocated to South Texas and something that always came easy to me suddenly was very different. The faith community in our new town was extremely different than anything I had ever encountered. The culture was extremely hard to understand, and I felt extremely misunderstood and unwanted at every turn. Church suddenly became a huge source of anxiety for me. Where I used to immediately feel purposeful and uplifted. I now felt unwanted, and disposable.
For the First Time, I contemplated leaving my Faith…
I found myself for the first time in my life questioning what I was even doing there. Why go through this anxiety and heartache if I am made to feel this way. And for a time I contemplated leaving my faith. Walking away from something bigger than me, walking away from the very thing that has always made me feel safe. Because I didn’t feel safe. And I didn’t feel loved.
I had never understood people who walk away before. People who have felt God’s love and still left. For me, the choice to stay had always been the EASY choice. But suddenly the choice to stay in my faith felt like the HARDEST choice.
It’s not up to them. It’s up to me.
But then one day. In a quiet moment of prayerful pleading, I had this distinct impression. If I leave, I am giving all of THEM the power over my relationship with my God. It’s not up to them. It’s up to me. And as hard as that was to admit. It was true. Because ultimately as wonderful as going to church is, it’s about so much more. And I was letting so many other people determine my destiny. I was letting them steal my happiness.
So I stayed
I stayed in my faith so that I could keep the promises I had made.
I stayed so that I could guarantee when someone new walks in those doors they are never made to feel the way I have felt. Because I vow to be different.
I stayed in my faith so that my kids would know how to stay when life gets hard for them, and people are mean.
I stayed because, in the end, it was up to me, and only me.
My Commitment To My Faith:
One of my favorite authors Ben Schilaty said: “My commitment to the Church isn’t just because I want to be better, but because I want the church to be better too”. Sometimes we stay because, if we don’t there maybe someone else who comes along that feels the same way, and we can help them along their faith journey too.
We can make sure they don’t ever feel unwanted or disposable.
And in that effort, we are reminded that we always have a purpose.
If you want to check out more posts from the collective check them out here.