I dedicate a block of time every Sunday night to mentally & emotionally prepare for the week. This usually consists of working on my planner, setting goals, meditating and cleaning my room. Tonight, I picked up my iPad – connected my speaker & blasted my favorite worship songs.
I sat on the end of my bed, with my palms facing up to the sky in surrender – asking God to speak to me and breathe life in to me. I was focusing on the words of the songs – opening my heart – letting in the Holy Spirit but for some reason I kept feeling strong senses of shame – and it wouldn’t be the first time.
Going to a Christian University after spending the majority of my life in public school really transformed my view on Christianity – and honestly, religion as a whole. As a freshman, I was eager to be thrown into a Christian environment, I thought it would bring me closer to God (I even thought of going into mission work) – but those four years of college ended up being the hardest four years of my life.
Depression, heartbreak, physical – emotional – spiritual pain, grief, sadness : these words were at the core of my heart throughout college. After a series of unfortunate events, I found myself at the lowest point of my life. I was completely broken – shattered – scarred… and extremely lonely.
I desperately needed a loving community, but I didn’t feel like I was “holy” or “pure” enough – it is a weird situation to be in. I accepted Jesus as my savior in high school – I had a strong faith but some of the messages at Chapel & at the culture of the school seemed to conflict with what I know to be true in my faith.
I know in my heart that I am loved by God, I have experienced His love, I’ve had intense visions of the Holy Spirit, I talk to God every single day. There is something off about the modern-day Christian religion – some messages don’t seem to come from God but come from a man-made society that is broken. Some Christian communities preach that God only loves you if you are X, Y and Z.
A huge turning point in my faith journey came when I found feminism – when I finally started celebrating my womanhood and the body that God gave me. I really started to find myself and my journey lead me right back to the Holy Spirit.
I started to realize that a lot of things the Christian church preached and promoted came from fear, sin and power – not at all from God. God is love and the presence of the Holy Spirit radiates nothing but love. During my college years, I experience hate, anger, control and judgement from numerous people on that campus. There was a lack of communication, a lack of understanding – this overwhelming sense of hypocrisy.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.(1 John 4:8, ESV)
The world they painted as Christians was a place filled with sunshine and rainbows – a perfect world without sin – some messed up form of Heaven on earth. It seemed as though people on that campus were detached from reality – the reality that we are all sinners, that we live in a broken world, that horrible things happen on this Earth but more importantly they seemed to be blind to the fact that God loves ALL people equally – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, actions, sins, desires, mistakes.
I found so much peace and freedom when I stepped away from those types of religious environments. God is love and the past few months I have been diving into different ways to worship – through music, small groups, dance, spending time in nature. My faith and my spirituality is the strongest it has ever been… I found my way back to the Holy Spirit – the true saving grace of Jesus. I started to look for truth in scripture alone instead of listening to what other people believe God’s word to be… reading the truth from your own perspective is a powerful thing.
Peace & Love
*I’m not saying the church is evil or bad – some communities share the Gospel in a way that instills fear and judgement instead of the saving grace of the Holy Spirit. I’m also not saying that I didn’t meet amazing spiritual individuals in college – but a good amount of my peers at that school have a view of Christianity that I don’t believe in and that I don’t stand by.