In Michigan one of my first rommates was a born again Christian. I took this as a good sign and got to know him. But what I found out in the course of that first year was he pretended to be born again to try and win back his ex. girlfriend. I lost a bit of respect for him at that point, he was a good guy, but very strange.
The other religous aspect was Campus Crusade for Christ. Oh what memories of that one short visit. My friend's roommate was big into this and being as I was searching for answers and trying to draw closer to God I decided to give it a shot. I was not very open with new people, but thought this would be a group to understand and listen. So I went to my first meeting. They started the meeting with a devotional which I found very interesting and then proceeded with the meeting. The meeting started with me telling them about myself and I should have seen it coming with the looks I was getting. They would ask questions about what kind of music I listen to, what I did on the weekends and stuff like that. So I was honest and then they hit me. They nailed me by telling me about how everything I'm doing was devil worship, how my music was satan's way of getting into my head, how the actions we take everyday condem us and the only way to get to heaven is to give it all up and start anew. Listen to only christian music, watch films and t.v. shows only supported by the church and on and on and on. I quietly listened while in the back of my head thinking "these people are crazy!"
The meeting continued by discussing all the latest trends on campus and how we should pray for their souls, which I was all about, but let me tell you, the style of jeans? I mean really? They believed they were the only saved people on campus. I asked what they did to help show the lost souls the way, if they did any outreach programs and such and they all just stared at me. They felt the world was so lost they could not as a group reach out to these people. I was astonished and stood up and made my way to the door. They asked if they would see me again, I just quietly turned and said "I doubt it, I seriously doubt it" And from that point none of them every spoke to me again. I just couldn't belive it. I had had enough of religion, I was done. I promised God to not give up on him, but this organized religion crap was for the birds.
I had decided I could live a God approved life without organzied religion. I was after all still a christian. I treated people well, I prayed for people, I did good deeds, I tried to fight off sin when I could. I knew I had failed and while guilt sat on my stomach like a lead weight I knew I could be o.k. God and I had an understanding, we were good. I just continued to work really hard at my life. The only time I attended church while in college was when I was home for the weekend, to attend with my family. Even that was ridiculous at times, I would find myself staring at these people while they were talking, listening to them condem entire groups of people, listening to them judging. I was sick to my stomach. I kept thinking, if this is how I was raised, it's no wonder! I began talking with my mother about religion. My sister had opened that door since she was minoring in religion and was trained to question her faith and it opened new doors in my family. New conversations.
I talked to my mother about some of the things that were bothering me about judgements and she turned to me and said "You hate the sin, not the sinner, the sinner should still be loved" While it didn't completely sooth my soul, I knew my mother was a loving person willing to see past the sin and see the sinner underneath. My mother was not like them, my mother is different. She's very welcoming and loving and says wise things like that. I had serious doubts that my church would ever be a welcoming place for me again, but they all knew me, they were like a family. A disfunctional family, but a family non the less.
My senior year of college was quite an emotional roller coaster. I had lost what I thought was the love of my life. I sat on my balcony and cried. I had realized the lonliness really went away even while I was in the relationship. I had still felt alone, like no one was around, like no one cared. I felt as if I was screaming and people just passed me by as if it was nothing. I felt invisible much like I had the rest of my life. I found myself leaning over the edge of my balcony contemplating if I would survive a jump. Bringing myself closer and closer to the edge of my sanity once again. It wasn't all about her, it was more, I was just a wall flower in life that no one noticed, I blended in and I was so tired. As I closed in on the point of no return, as I was standing on my balcony railing on the 4th. floor a moment of clarity came to me. I was suddenly reciting the poem "Footprints". I climbed back down, sat down in my chair and was suddenly calm, suddenly at peace with the world. Like God himself had come down and brought me back to reality, he held me and kept me safe that night, and I slept like I hadn't slept before.
As I moved on to life on my own after college I felt closer to God, I wasn't as social but I found solace in the online world. I would go to random religious sites and read how people were feeling, to communicate with people simliar to me. It was freeing, and yet I started to yearn for worship. I had begun missing worship, as much as organized religion had irritated me, I missed it. I started to realize what organized religion does for people, it gives them a place to celebrate together, a place to be together and worship the reason, the source of everything, and so I began to search. I visited probably 10 different churches in three years time, and kept coming up empty. It was either a comment made by one of the congregation or something said in the sermon that had me still fed up, still wanting to run. I prayed alot about this and kept asking for answers, or to show me the way.
As my third year of being on my own in Michigan was coming to a close, things were bad. My job was impossible, and the lonliness was eating me from the inside out again. I began praying for help once again. I needed a path because I was scared and confused. One weekend when I was home visiting the parents we passed an old store, an old store that I had grown up going to, that I had always talked about buying, etc... So I began thinking. I felt the need to come back home, and wondered if this was my chance. So as the research process was going on it seemed everything was falling into place, and before I knew it I was home and had my own business.
Now this business has not been easy and it continues to try my patience every single day of my life with it, but so far God has kept me safe as always. He has found ways to provide for me and has never let harm come to me. There are nights I lay in bed screaming for more help, more guidance and every day it's the same. Even once I came home I was not a regular at church, I thought I wanted to be involved but I just wasn't ready. I was still having issues between me and God. I still had things to talk with him about to find the clarity I need. I had begun feeling as if God would not accept me for who I am, that who I was could be the condeming factor to this.
To be honest I still struggle with that right now. I prayed and God sent me some very special people, I have had some very great experiences and these people help me to grow. But I find myself questioning.
Do I really need saved again if I've always loved God? If I never really lost God, is there a saved again? I have lived my life according to what God wants for us, I have treated others like he would want. I'm still rather internal about religion, but lately I feel the need to discuss more and more, read more and more and find out more and more. So am I truely saved or born again? I feel I have always been saved, yet society makes me feel like I'm a heathen because I have issues with organized religion. I'm just not sure why. My relationship with God is personal, I'm doing better at sharing it, but it's something I like to keep for myself. In my faith is all my secrets, things that only God knows and is helping me deal with, things he helps me cope.
I'm not sure what even started this or where I thought it was going, I guess it was just something that needed to be said. Am I arrogant to think I don't need saved? That my soul has belonged to God my whole life? Sure I've had doubts, sure I've sinned, we're all sinners. What this journey of late seems to be about it acceptance. Accepting God for the love he gives regardless who you are, and acceptance to know that no matter who you are, he's always there for you. God has touched my life in so many ways, not always the most obvious ways, but I know he's there, he's listening. My plans are not his.
While God has given us free will he's there to help, he's there to catch us when we fall. I have had a big hurtle of late to get over, but I think I'm getting there. These answers are not yes or no, and they are not a discovery that can be made over night. These are long drawn out answers that God provided me people in my life to help me.
The lonliness is still there, I feel it creeping up on me at the strangest times and the most obvious times, but I know I'm not alone, I never have been, and I never will be. I had a debate with a science freak awhile ago who talked about what a waste of time faith was, how it has held back the human race. I told him even if it is crazy, even if it is a waste of time, what should it matter to you? If we arent' harming anyone, what should you care? People in this life need something to believe in. The creator, God almighty who created the heavens and the earth, who created this "science" and allows you free will to chose not to believe in him. But how you could not see God in the water, in the trees and in every life on the planet is beyond me. But I do not judge you for not believing, so what gives you the right to judge me because I do?
It got ugly for awhile but we came to an understanding and I felt better. Not because I convinced him to believe or I dragged him into faith, but because for once he came across someone who could not be convinced that God does not exist. There is no proof, there is no data to prove he exists, I could not argue that, but I don't need those things to know he's there, to believe. It's what faith is and trying to explain that to someone who doesn't have it is quite mind boggling.
So anyway, like I said, no real point, just stuff that's been dwelling inside me and just came pouring out. I blame the sickness, it lets my gaurd down and sends this stuff right out of my head. Dang it! Oh well.