When I was thirteen I entered the gates of public school for the first time. The night before my very first day I made a deal with God and told him I couldn’t be a Christian for the duration of my first year. I told him that I had some growing up to do and I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t make mistakes under His eyes. So I told him I probably wouldn’t be praying as much and I would probably start cursing.
Which was true. Public school was a rude awakening for me. Not only that but also, middle school. What a hard freakin year of life. You gotta find your friends quick and make sure they always have your back. I was enrolled in a magnet school for drama so thankfully, those kids were my safe haven. We were wild and crazy but definitely accepting of each other and our main focus was getting the most laughs in improv. Outside of drama class, kids were cursing at their teachers and guys were just being really gross. So I stuck to the people I felt the closest with and tried to “figure myself out.”
You should know some things about my history with religion before I continue. I grew up going to a private Christian school where we had “Chapel” every Wednesday. Each class would come together for an hour to do praise and worship and listen to a sermon and then go back to class. My sister and I did this from the ages of three to thirteen. We loved God and praised him because it was actually really fun to do not because we felt like we had to, most of the time. We combined our religion with the arts and we sang and danced for Jesus every week. I went to Rock the Universe, which is a christian concert in Universal Orlando where kids ride rides and literally scream christian songs at the top of their lungs. This was considered one of the best nights of my life. I went to bible camp two years in a row and left the second year thinking about missionary school. Growing up my relationship with God was very much active and always felt like it was going to be a forever part of my life.
So when I got to middle school and didn’t have bible class for the first time since starting my education, I was a little lost. And no one taught me to how to have faith by myself. So I felt like I needed to make a deal with God until I could find myself back to him. This year turned into a few years. I still went to church with my family for holidays but my personal relationship with God wasn’t really existent. And I didn’t know how to get back there.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college when I started going to this cute little hippy dippy church near campus. They were so inclusive and welcoming to everyone that it was the first time I remember feeling so “at home” with a group of people that weren’t musical theatre people. There is something about the act of getting together to “praise and worship” that ignited something in me. That was a beautiful aspect that I had forgotten about over time.
I think religion has always comforted me and made me feel less alone. Now when I go to church I always cry. The sermon doesn’t have to be anything remotely related to my life and I will have a quiet, yet uncontrollable sob. Sometimes I think its my soul crying. She missed hearing the word of God and she’s so glad I brought her to church that morning. I am someone who believes in miracles, and divine intervention, and maybe because I was taught about loving God since I came into this world it will always be apart of me. I didn’t write this post to conform anybody but to shed a light on community and how powerful it is to believe that something in the universe has your best interest at heart.
So yes, I do believe in God and I am always working on having a relationship with him. Whether that be my bible study in the morning, prayer, finding a church to go to across the country, I am always seeing whatI can do. I think my belief makes me a stronger and more hopeful person. So though my relationship with religion isn’t very perfect, I think having it as something to work on is part of my journey to getting to my most authentic self.