One thing that I have learned that has greatly helped to shape the person I have become is that it is okay for someone to challenge their beliefs. I grew up going to church and never really questioned the reason I was there or whether anything else may be accurate. But when I went off to college, my mother wasn’t there to wake me up every Sunday and take me to Sunday School. I was faced with the decision of whether or not to get up and go on my own accord without any persuasion from anyone else. I found a church here in Johnson City and went for the first several weeks, but my attendance dropped until I found that I rarely ever went. I began to rethink the things that I had always taken for granted. I wanted to know whether or not I really belonged in church. At first, I had a feeling of shame for this because I could not believe that I was questioning my religion, but I talked to a mentor of mine and he helped me to realize that questioning beliefs only makes them stronger. After this, I felt that this was perfectly fine, but as I continued on this unfamiliar path of absence from church I realized that there were changes in my day to day life…changes that I did not particularly like. I slowly began to change into a different person. It took a while to find a solution, but I realized that going to church every week helped me to examine my lifestyles regularly and to fix the little problems that arose. Without this, I lacked a time of personal reflection and correction. I started to go to church again and to work on my personal religious practices and my life took a turn for the better. As I did this, I realized that I just felt better in general on a daily basis, and knew that I was back where I belong. And so I realized that my mentor was right after all when he told me that questioning beliefs may end up strengthening them.
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