Write 31 Days circa October 2016

It wasn't until I entered my thirties that I began toying with changing my mind and choosing my beliefs. I was slave to the thought, "This is what I was taught. This is just who I am."

If I'm honest, I've never truly practiced religion. I merely existed within it - because I was born into it, because it felt safe to have a box and boundaries. But it did not hold me, and it did not comfort me. For years I taught what I had been told, thinking that speaking it aloud would make it my truth, but the truth is, I rarely opted in myself. I said, "Read your bible. Pray expectantly. Hope. Find your identity in Christ." But did I do those things? No. I talked the talk but couldn't fully give in to walking the walk. Something about it just felt... off. I felt like a liar. Rather than explore that feeling, I pretended, and I was a spectacular pretender. I hid in plain sight and threw most everyone off the scent.

After leaving the church, 2016 kicked off a year of intentional discovery, putting into practice the beliefs of my choosing. As I dissect my history and my choices - conscious and subconscious - it is abundantly clear I am not one to do things because "this is how it's always been done." I'm learning my spirituality is fluid, meaning I can take or leave pieces of religion but my soul is stubbornly aligned with God/The Universe, focused intently on personal experience and growth. Being myself has been the best gauge for what I keep and what I discard.

I was writing a book about seeking God outside of Christianity, and writing it proved more difficult than I imagined. It was a very personal reflection, full of upheaval and deconstruction. But what is more difficult than writing it is the bold action I'm taking every single day to make the decisions I'm making. I wander the abandoned hallways of my beliefs, picking up things for safe-keeping or memories, and leave most other things behind to decay. The foundation remains in disrepair, as nothing more than a structure, a shrine to a former life. I stop by every once in a while to check in but I do not stay because I do not want to live there anymore. I thank its crumbling walls, grateful for the lessons and the silver linings, and forge a new path outside.

Because I've changed my mind.

I've Changed my Mind About:

  1. My ability to choose
    "Leaving the church allowed me the break I needed from a religion I never chose for myself."
  2. Language
    "My words, once spoken or written, become your own to define."
  3. Being honest
    "I used to think being honest was frowned upon, and if I was honest, it meant I was being disrespectful."
  4. Intuition
    "My intuition is the only way I can be sure of anything."
  5. Coffee
    "I had my first cup of coffee with my dad, on his 60th birthday."
  6. Doubt
    "Doubt has taught me how to accept my nomadic spirituality."
  7. Creativity
    "I believe we are all creators, and our creativity isn't limited by someone else's."
  8. God
    "I'm not sure that God's plan or will for my life is any different than my own."
  9. Identity
    "I had to stop saying I was a Christian to reclaim my identity. I had to break up with shame."
  10. Love
    "Love is letting others voluntarily evolve."
  11. The bible
    "I used to think the Bible was the infallible Word of God, The Truth - all capitalized."
  12. Being outside
    "Being outside has reminded me who I am inside."
  13. Gratitude
    "Being grateful is as easy as complaining, but a far better activity to release negative energy."
  14. Being sensitive
    "I associated sensitivity with neediness; it was weak, wimpy, and it created dysfunctional relationships."
  15. Religion
    "I can take or leave aspects of Christianity; not all traditions and practices fulfill me."
  16. Fear
    "I used to think fear was something to overcome; being fearless an admirable goal or mantra."
  17. Being an introvert
    "My introversion is where my superpowers come from."
  18. Disagreements
    "Disagreement teaches me more about myself than someone else."
  19. Touch
    "I've found myself concerned as to whether or not I could live years without being physically touched."
  20. Friendship
    "I do not believe there is one person who can offer me everything I need, not even my husband, in friendship."
  21. Being a rockstar
    "I always wanted to be a rockstar because it was the kind of attention I was okay with."
  22. Having a degree
    "I've always been okay with my choice not to go to college; I don't feel like I missed out on anything."
  23. The Universe
    "If I am to believe God is the creator of all things, then the very fibers of my being are connected to all of creation - to the Universe."
  24. My body
    "For my 29th birthday, I had my first cosmetic procedure."
  25. Stuff
    "We never want to be fearful of leaving one place behind to discover another."
  26. Money
    "We began to wonder what it would look like to love money."
  27. Being Good
    "Competing for goodness only illuminated the parts of me I was ashamed of."
  28. Spirituality
    "I used to think I could only be spiritual at church, cemented in religion."
  29. Hope
    "Hope, to me, is a runaway balloon floating up and up until it pops and then, nothing."
  30. Dreams
    "I believe my dreams are messages for me - prophetic in nature, signs - because I am open to them."
  31. Prayer
    "It only took me 35 years and The Discovery Project - seeking God outside of religion - to learn how to pray."
  32. I continue to change my mind about Christianity.
    "Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change."