God without Religion

Carrie - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I grew up playing the part of a good, young Christian girl. I went to Sunday school, sang the praise songs as loudly as I could, and never let a swear word exit my lips. I prayed before dinner and before I went to bed. I was never late to Awana, and I always memorized the verses I was supposed to. For all I knew, I was doing everything right.

Life continued on, and I slowly drifted away from the idea of God. I still attended church every week, but, if asked what the purpose of it was, I would have been clueless. In reality, I went to church so that others saw me going to church. I wanted them to see how dedicated I was. Because I attended the morning service and the night service, Jesus loved me, and so did everyone else. I finally realized how pointless my religion was. It was a self-centered way of making other people accept me and it had nothing to do with God.

My mind drew farther and farther away from God, and my heart grew colder towards those who had judged me based on how many times I missed the service each month. I finally gave up, and stopped attending church altogether. Church had become an unwelcoming, judgmental place that I wanted nothing to do with. I was living for myself, but I never would have admitted it.

I couldn’t tell you exactly when the realization that I had been living my life the wrong way came to me. It took me days to put it into words. When I finally did, I broke down. Religion wasn’t God’s plan, but that was what I had been taught. I thought that memorizing scripture was more important than God Himself. However, God wants trust, not Bible verses.

I believe that God is how to live my life. He gives me purpose, and He gives me passion. It’s hard to see others focusing on religion more than God, and it’s even harder to listen to them criticizing my way of loving God. It’s hard to see others ridicule the idea of God altogether. I am stuck in the middle of two ways of life, and it’s uncomfortable. But I believe this is how I’m supposed to live, whether it is the right or wrong way for others to live their lives. This I believe: God is real, and God is my life.