I began asking myself about my beliefs when I was around twelve; the age when I fully realized that I would someday die, and that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. So then, I asked myself, what happens after I die? Do I just go back to what I was before I was born, unaware of nothing and everything? Do I get reborn as someone else or…what? I come from a Christian family and at that point my family was still regularly attending church. During my internal dialogue I noticed that I did not once factor Heaven or Hell into my afterlife. This was the beginning of a long struggle between who I was and who I pretended to be.
Naturally, I suppressed my feelings of uncertainty and immersed myself deeper into my “faith” by joining youth groups mostly to make friends. It worked for a while, but then I fell into a deep depression at around age sixteen. Because I had been left to my own religious devices, I basically gave up being a full-time Christian. Cloaked in cynicism and drenched with teen angst I felt as thought I had a life too bleak for Christ to take part in. God and I were fine, however. I felt as though God was just a very large puppet master, and I was just kind of laying in the wings, not being picked up, just laying there waiting to be used or thrown away or anything.
When I started college, I gave Christianity one final try. I checked out an on-campus outreach ministry with an acquaintance from high school. I thought the people were so nice, and I felt like making new friends and getting out of the habit of being a wallflower was a necessary step to take.
Christ found His way back to me for maybe a good month or so. Then I really began to question the actions and the beliefs of not only myself, but also the people around me.
I began to answer the questions I asked myself about faith and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t keep forcing myself to bend to the spiritual will of others just for the sake of being socially accepted. Once I met people who were on the same page as I was and loved me for who I was and not what I believed, I wondered how I even functioned as a person without them. I realized that they were why I am here on this planet. I’m here to make the world a better place little by little; to help others when they need it, just as my friends helped me. Being loved in this life makes the afterlife seem like less of a destination. Who cares what awaits me later? Right now I need to do what I can to ensure that I can leave this world knowing that it was a little better than it previously was the day before.
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