I grew up in church all my life. Getting up early Sunday mornings was always a must. I loved going to church. It was a time that I got to spend with my friends that I only got to see a couple times a week. I would bring Barbie’s to play with while the pastor was preaching, sometimes I would even fall asleep. When I was a kid I never really thought about all the rules that went along with being a Christian. I was just at church to have a good time.
As I got older it seemed that the fun of church was erased by the rules of church. Rules like you had to dress up when you go to church, jeans were an absolute rule breaker; No talking while the preacher was talking; If the church doors are open you have to be there. I started noticing those rules the older I got. Once I started middle school it got even worse. I couldn’t listen to certain music, I couldn’t watch certain television shows, I couldn’t hang out with certain people, or dress a certain way. All the rules of church very soon made me feel like I was trapped.
When I started high school even though I still went to church I slowly drifted away from all the rules. I ended up on a road that I was not ready for. I had a pregnancy scare at the age of sixteen, and drinking heavily once I was eighteen years old. My first year of college I was going to bars and staying out all night. My parents didn’t understand why I had completely stopped going to church. All I knew was that the life I was living did not have any rules, and I could do whatever I wanted. But even with not having any rules there was still something missing.
I started going back to church when I was nineteen, but it was different this time. I still hung out with my old friends that I had all through high school, I still listened to the music that I had been listening too, and dressed the way I wanted to. Instead of trying to change the desires that were inside of me, I simply realized that God loved me the way I was. He made me with the desires that I have. Now God is my absolute best friend. He is with me everywhere I go. I don’t see him as this person who is going to pounce if I do something wrong. He is there to help pick me up when I fall, and to show me how to not fall the same way again. He is with me while I’m listening to country music just like he is there when I listen to Christian music.
I believe that being a Christian is not about having a bunch of rules. I hate religion, but I love God. Religion has twisted what God has intended to be a wonderful life. Many people turn away from Christianity because the church makes it look like it’s a bunch of rules that you have to follow, rather than just having a real relationship with God. Just because you are not at church every time the doors are open, look a certain way, or listen to music that’s not Christian doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want a relationship with you.