This I Believe

Cristin - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I had always struggled with my faith as a child. I was raised Catholic but I was never a fan of church, let alone mass. After I had expressed my disconnection with Catholicism one day, my friend Dan, who was also Catholic and interested in studying the priesthood, asked my why I had my “falling out” with the church. The question took me by surprise and I began to really search for the answer. I realized that mainly I had just grown to resent Catholicism because it was something that was forced on me as a child and had a lot of negative memories attached to it. In our discussion that we had, I told him some of the Catholic beliefs that I did not identify with and share a belief in. I never understood why it involved so many rituals, why mass had to be so serious, what point the priest was trying to convey or what I was supposed to take away from his homily. I didn’t see why purgatory, more than one type of sin, or confession were necessary. All of these things I knew I didn’t believe in, but then Dan asked me what I did believe in, and I found that I couldn’t give him an answer.

It was then that I realized the key to strengthening my faith was to not only find out what I didn’t believe in, but also what I did believe in. How could I strengthen my faith if I wasn’t even sure of that?

I began searching for what my beliefs were and what denomination they fit with by attending different churches. I was encouraged to attend Blythfield Hills Baptist Church. I liked the youth group and I felt that my youth leader’s teachings made sense to me. However, when I attended service at Blythfield, the skits and dramas that were a part of many of their services I knew did not represent what I believed in.

Then it occurred to me; why did I have to identify with a specific denomination? Wasn’t faith supposed to be about a relationship with God above all else? I believe it doesn’t matter what denomination you are, it is the relationship that you build with God that is most important. I attend mass again, now that I have allowed myself to appreciate it, and I feel it is right for me. I still attend the Baptist youth group as well, but I don’t consider myself to be either denomination. I believe your relationship is not measured by whether or not you follow the rules stipulated by a denomination. It is okay to pick and choose things to believe in from different denominations because it’s having a relationship with God that allows your faith to strengthen. The relationship allows you to find your identity, and once you find it; your faith has the ability to grow and flourish.