Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the religious stigma

Journal Day Prompt from Dani of Sometimes Sweet

Would you consider yourself a religious person? Quite simply- what do you believe happens when you die? Have you always believed this? Do your current beliefs align with what you were taught as a child? And if not, what was the turning point? This week, talk about your religion or spiritual beliefs (or perhaps your lack of), and try to sum up, if you can, what you believe happens "next."

If I'm being honest, I strongly dislike the word religion. I, myself, am what Webster's Dictionary would define as being "religious", yet that word just sends such discomfort throughout my nerves. I don't blame religion, or faith, for those uncomfortable feelings. I blame those who use their religion to hurt others. Am I a person of faith? Absolutely. Am I a person who has dedicated their life to follow God. Completely. Does this make me a religious person? I suppose by definition, it does.

I was not raised in a home of faith. In fact, I was completely clueless when it came to religion at all. The first time I stepped foot into a church was when I was 12 years old. It was at that age that I made the life-long decision to follow Jesus Christ. If I'm being honest again, I didn't really know much about the commitment I was making. I didn't even know all that much about this Jesus I was claiming to follow. But, one thing I was completely aware of was that my heart had been transformed. There's another one of those words... But, it's true. Something quite unexplainable happened to me, and 14 years later, I still can't really explain it.

As I've matured in my faith, I have come to realize that not being able to fully explain who God is, is exactly the point. If we could explain the in's and the out's of who God is, and why He has done/is doing/will do things, then wouldn't that make us God? I am no Theologian (another one of those words...), but I have faith. My faith is something that will always be a part of my life, and that is because it is my life. 

I'm a person of faith, yet I am still a person. I'm not perfect, and once I realized God doesn't expect me to be perfect, life got much easier; my faith got much easier. I don't have all the answers, and there are seasons where I have doubts. I believe that is all a part of the meaning of life. Chase what you believe to be right, no matter who or what fights you on it. If you doubt, pursue that doubt until you've reached a conclusion. Don't believe just because you think it's an entry ticket into the afterlife. Believe because the only answers you find to the beauty and hope in this world point straight back to Something so much bigger than you & I. That's why I believe. 

If I could sum up what I believe in just a few words, I would say: 

Love God, love others. 

It's that plain, and it's that simple. Unfortunately, it's the people who take it so far past that, who end up giving this world a reason to hate religion.

[crazy love]



  1. Brenda! I love when you post!

    I love being surrounded by Christians like you who don't just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. I think the other kind you talked about can often take the spotlight and as a non-religious person, I used to assume that's how a lot of people were. But having a friend like you is a reminder that faith can really be such a beautiful thing!

  2. Chelsea,

    You just brought a smile to my face. Religious people can be some of the most frustrating people in this world, and this is coming from a "religious person". I've made it one of my goals in life to redefine what it means to be a religious person. I really hope that stigma begins to fade away one day.