I am perhaps the poster child for putting everything else before God–the exact thing my ten year old self gasped at the thought of. I always heard the statistics growing up, that the majority of college students separate from their faith during these years. But despite the commonality of this, I don’t feel any less guilt. Because the little girl who roared with passion for Christ, who sang at the Christmas Eve services and found the most joy in going into the Christian bookstore, would have been appalled to know how much I’ve drifted from everything I ever believed.
This is not me judging myself based on the thoughts of others. From most perspectives, I’m a good enough person. I consistently put in 30 to 40 hours a week at work and still maintain good grades; I’m fairly protective of my body and mind; I don’t judge or slander or manipulate. In almost every circumstance I put others before myself, usually to the point that there’s little time left for me.
This is also not me saying that you have to attend church weekly to have a solid relationship with God. In fact, as my religious journey these last 20 years has dipped and risen and faded and glowed, I have always looked to God for guidance and compassion as well as given him the credit for my glory. I have been and always will be a child of God.
This is me realizing the beautiful potential there is for my heart and soul and realizing I’m neglecting the opportunity to fill this oh so important part of myself. This is me remembering the overwhelming joy I have felt when I am closest to God, because it is during these moments that the horrors of earth don’t matter anymore. It is during these moments that everything raging around me calms down, if only for that second. This is me understanding I cannot do this on my own, no matter how hard I try.
I went to church today for the first time in a long time. And I oddly found myself a little nervous to enter the very establishment that had so shaped my childhood. I felt shame that I had been gone for so long, that over the last two years I couldn’t take an hour of my week to give solely to God.
Let me reiterate that attending church is no measure of someone’s faith. I personally gain a lot from interacting with other Christians, and I think we all owe it to ourselves to know what makes us blossom spiritually. After all, it is one of the most poignant parts of the human experience.
When I left church that shame was replaced by excitement. We are all on a personal journey; young or old, God takes us in with open arms. I am determined this year to not just maintain my faith, but to help it flourish. The fire has been relit.
Cover photo found here.