I sometimes get asked why or how I lost my faith. It was not difficult, it just sort of faded. I did not feel it go really. I remember the thing that upset me most was living to die. There was such a focus on heaven, the afterlife and paradise. So much talk of an eternity. I always thought what about this life. What about all the people I meet and connect with, of which there are many. They were not Christian. I was told if they did not follow Jesus I would just forget them and I would not even know that they existed. I did not want this. I wanted to live for the sake of living. I wanted to cherish the memories. The bad and the good. I wanted to never forget but to be able to forgive. I did not like the idea that it was not up to me. That only God decides and judges in the end. I wanted to be able to say I am sorry and accept some form of responsibility and I wanted to escape the labyrinth of suffering.
It had been months of not being in a church before I realised. I had spent Sundays going for walks, hikes, swims and runs. I had been content and fulfilled. I had been speaking, but to myself, more than to God. I had been taking the time to discover myself, nurture myself and decide for myself. I did not have any thanks or requests. I had a recognition of what had been and what is. I had a chance to realise what I needed. I chose to believe in myself. I chose to love myself. I had never done it before. I was in a new place. I was alone. I had no influences, just me. It was natural really. People ask how the Christians around me reacted. I had none around me. I was in the most atheist country in the world. I had a support system. I am a very spiritual person that is for sure. I cannot consider myself anything but confused. I do not have the answers. I am not looking for the answers. I do not think I need them.
I continued to talk to myself and enjoy my time. Then came Christmas and I noticed, it was not about Christ. It was about family and togetherness and more than I have ever experienced or felt before in my life. It was drinking and eating. It was simple things. It was sharing stories and meeting new people. It was embracing culture and learning. On Christmas day, we went for a walk in the cold, as a family. I thought again: ‘This is my family. It’s little and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.’ I thought I do not need anything else. I thought about how free I was. I thought about what I wanted and what was holding me back from achieving that. Then I let it go. I let it all go. There was no faith left. It did not hurt or make me sad.
Sometimes, I miss the structure. I miss the actions. The kindness. The love. So I find ways to feel it again. I still speak to myself if I want to pray. I meditate. I clear my mind. I find happy moments. I face my challenges head on, rather than asking someone to fix them for me. I become stronger. I love myself. I became a Christian because I thought no one loved me. I cried the first time I stranger said to me Jesus loves you. I needed it so badly. So desperately. Now I have it. I still sing and dance as though I were in a church. Sometimes alone. Sometimes in the moments in public when no one is watching. sometimes when everyone is watching. I have routines. I like my life and do the things I enjoy. I am far too young to have it all figured out. I am aware of this. For now, I think I do pretty well.
I surround myself with all that I need. I admit when I am wrong and I start again. That is pretty admirable. I am brave enough to know when something is working. So now if someone asks what changed or why I do not believe, I explain that I am no idiot. I know not to fix something that is not broken, but I also know to make a change if it is.