I wish I could remember the first time I was introduced to God. I wish I could remember what I felt when I was told that heaven existed and that God watched over me and protected me every waking moment of my life. Although I was much too young to remember the exact moment, what I can remember is how secure I felt knowing that the Omniscient protector would always be there to guide me. Fast forward to middle school; I wish someone would have told me that it is okay to make mistakes. I was never told to not dwell on each and every one of my transgressions and that they are not a strike against my chances of getting through those pearly gates. Instead, I was told to fear God and fear Him I did because one day I might wake up to find that God has left me behind and did not want to spend eternity with me, even though I badly wanted to with Him. Fast forward to junior high; I wish someone would have told me that there is a world outside of prayer and church. The safe haven of private schools and Sunday school teachings sheltered me from the rest of the world. The Bible did not contain all the answers to my questions as I attempted to navigate through the public school system. How badly I wanted to be a part of this new world, I began to stray. Fast forward to high school; I wish someone would have told me that it is okay to doubt and question your faith. How did I come to such a pass? My faith was always in the back of my mind, but when it would make its way to my consciousness I would be overwhelmed with feelings of shame for questioning my once Omniscient protector, shame for doubting that God would punish me to eternal damnation for one moment of weakness, and shame for straying off His path. Then again, why if my doubting alone would send me straight to hell? I dared not turn to a church member, for feelings of doubt were unholy. Fast forward to college; someone told me that it is okay to doubt and to wonder about God. Why was I never told that there were others like me? Others who struggled with their faith and admit that they were uncertain about God? What a burden off of my shoulders. So much anxiety alleviated because of these ideas that I thought were conflicting.
If there is anything to be gained from my experiences, it is to let others know that it is okay to have feelings of doubt and to not let it ruin your life. It is okay to speak up and say that you are not sure because you may never know if it will change someone’s life as it has changed mine.