I met Candace earlier this year online and was immediately drawn to her spirit as a minimalist and traveler. She is a SPOC - a Single Parent of Color - and currently lives in France with her beautiful daughter. We come from a similar background of religion, denomination-wise, and as we both navigate our expanding faith, we sometimes still freak our parents out.
I appreciate her honesty about her journey and her commitment to living a creative life.
"... living a creative life doesn’t stop because you have a child. The hopes and dreams you had when you were younger, or in a relationship, or richer, or... fill in the blank, you can see them come to pass."
To follow and connect with Candace, you can find her here.
Responses by Candace King
What do you believe, and why?
I believe that God exists as a spirit. We do not have a monopoly on that Spirit if we are Christian/Muslim/Jewish. To some extent, he guides us if we open our hearts up to the positive force that exists in the Universe. He is not responsible for whether our lives are good or bad, whether we live to the fullest or exist in a life of drudgery. That is completely up to us. We have the power to design and control our lives. I have always felt this, even though I was raised in a conservative Christian home. I just tended to hide it behind Bible verses. Now, I do not feel the need.
How did you discover your beliefs?
My brothers and I were brought up in very conservative Pentecostal churches. My parents were, and continue to be very active in the church. They felt that they had been saved from the horrors of the world and wanted their children to experience a new, clean life.
I was the perfect little Christian. I was baptized young and received the "Gift of the Holy Ghost" at a young age. I did everything a young lady in the church should do: go to Sunday School, invite people to church, teach Sunday School, hold a position in the youth group, go to youth camp, carry my Bible to school and so much more.
I never questioned the teachings of the church. I read the Bible and listened to what the preacher said. I thought we were proving we were right by The Word... until I left the country. When I went to other churches in other countries, my eyes were opened to the fact that other people did not have as many rules as the churches that I grew up in, and yet the people seemed closer to God and less judgmental. That got me to start questioning.
How do you interact with your beliefs?
I interact with my beliefs by designing my life and doing what I need to do in order to get what I want. I don't expect God to come down and make everything perfect. It is up to me. I don't spend hours in prayer or meditation trying to get where I want to go. I chart my path. When everything happens, I offer thanks for my gift of life.
Once I started questioning, I didn't stop. It has taken many, many years. Finally, I see that for me, church is not necessary. The rules of organized religions are not necessary. I have given it all up. God (or whatever you choose to call the force) is everywhere. I interact with it every day just by being aware.
What do you do when you doubt your beliefs?
I don't doubt my beliefs, other people do. They feel I need to pray as they pray, seek confirmation the way they do. When I was younger, I may have done things their way and came to the same conclusion I would have come if I just stopped and listened to my heart and looked at the facts of the situation versus where I wanted to be in life.
I feel more alive and free than ever before. I notice the beauty of the world and of people like never before. Beautiful and wonderful things come into my life on a daily basis. I have no desire to judge someone on the basis of some code constructed to keep people in control. Because of that, I am blessed.
To read more My Discovery Process submissions, you can find them here.