I don’t often write about my faith on here.
I mean, I allude to it or mention it in passing every once in a while, and I’m sure anyone who has been following me long enough has been able to put two and two together.
But to just come out and talk about it makes me nervous, particularly when it’s with anyone who doesn’t know me well yet.
Why, you ask?
When it has come up with others in the past, my quiet statement of, “yes, I go to church” is often met with a small but weighted response:
It’s just two letters, but it often feels SO loaded. I immediately worry that assumptions are being made about me. Assumptions about the kind of person I might be because I choose to go to church in today’s day and age. Assumptions about me made because of negative experiences they’ve had with other “religious” people in the past.
Experiences that often aren’t very good.
In the past, when I have revealed this part of myself to others, I’ve been excluded from things and have been met with judgement. Assumptions that I must be an ultra conservative zealot. Assumptions that *I* must be judgemental, or not accepting of the choices others make. Of the paths they choose to take in life. Of the lives they choose to live.
It’s hard. I feel like there is this stereotype assigned to “religious” people, and it’s not always kind.
So, I often keep this part of my life quiet. It feels easier that way.
…but I spend so much time here encouraging others to be authentic about the lives they lead. To be honest. To be open.
One of my own personal mottos is “You do you”. I believe that to my core. I try not to judge others for the choices they make, because I am not living their life. I don’t know their circumstances. The tiny pieces of ourselves we choose to show the world are only a fraction of the big pictures of our lives.
How can I judge what I do not know?
And honestly, why would I? That’s not my job.
So, here am I, trying to be a little more authentic. Me being me.
I go to church… and I have all of my life.
My faith grounds me. It brings me comfort. It gives me purpose. It takes me outside of myself and provides me with opportunities to serve others.
It has helped me learn my own worth, and has given me light through some of the darkest periods of my life.
It brings me peace.
It’s also not without questions or doubt. As I’ve gotten older I’ve felt less and less like I fit into a box, but I’m learning that I don’t need to. I’m passionate and progressive and I’m learning not to be quiet about that.
For me my faith is about love. I go to church because it’s a weekly reminder that there is beauty in everything, even my imperfections. It’s a weekly reminder to love others just as they are.
To love myself.
Even on the hardest days, I am a child of God, and I’m worthy of it.
So, I go to church. There it is.
And I realize that others may make some assumptions about me when they know that.
Today I realized that I’m doing the exact. same. thing. I am making assumptions about others and what they will think about me when they know this. Based on my past experiences, I am assuming that people will judge me for the choices I make, and will exclude me for it.
…but maybe others won’t.
Maybe they’ll see that while my faith is important to me, it’s also not all that I am. It’s just one piece of the beautiful hot mess that is me.
So, you do you.
And this is me.